Ah - Saturdays. Are there any better days for doing yard work? I think not... or at least that's what I thought yesterday before the fiasco. (I apologize to those who do not read my roommate's blog because this post is largely in response to her recent description of the aforementioned fiasco.) Her version of the tale is fair enough, but I feel like the story could use a little clarification and elaboration. (And I'll leave out the photograph - yikes! Some people have good reasons for being camera shy, and I'm one of them.)
I arrived home yesterday with enough daylight left to take the mower out for a spin. I filled it with gas, aired up the tire that tends to go flat and fired up the engine. Mowing the lawn is a new chore for me: I hadn't ever done it until this summer. Even after three times, it's still pretty novel. I'm not only a novice - I'm also overconfident about my ability to handle the mower. Couple my overconfidence with this enormous and powerful lawn mower, and you've got a recipe for disaster.
The front yard was completely uneventful. I jammed to Coldplay, watching with delight as weeds once three feet tall lay strewn in my wake. The trouble came as I was circling our cabin, trying to cut as close to it as I could so I wouldn't have to weed-eat as much. I was watching out for the garden hose, and I thought to myself, "I know there's a spigot here somewhere... (bump) Oh. Found it." I had knocked the water spigot at a 45 degree angle to its normal position and water was gushing from the base like the crude oil during the opening credits of "The Beverly Hillbillies." Not good. (Note: I did not "run right over" it. Rather, I tapped it forcefully with the front bumper of the lawn mower. No blades scraping steel pipes. Additionally, it was hidden under three foot weeds. Okay, back to the story...)
Panic ensued! I charged into the house to try to find a place inside to cut off the water to the spigot, but to no avail. Running full speed, I plowed into the screened door on the porch; unfortunately, I had forgotten to open the door and it propelled me backwards. (At least it didn't break!) Remembering to use the handle rather than brute force I sprung through the door and continued my sprint toward to mower. I paused for a moment to collect my thoughts... naw, that takes too long! I decided to move the mower out of the now swampy soil, threw it in reverse and backed about 15 feet.
At that point, I looked up to see Amber Joy, who had just arrived home, staring at me in open-mouthed consternation. I hadn't even seen her standing there. "Did she see the door thing?" I wondered to myself. (Why is it that unimportant details often come to mind first?) Blurting out a mostly incoherent explanation of my panicky state, I dialed my dad's cell number; I thought he might know where to turn the water off. He didn't, but Amber, radiating calm and collectedness in that way she has, knew exactly what to do. Fighting the fire ants that had built their home around the valve, she shut off the water. (What a champ!) No more gushing.
And no more water in our house. We called my uncle Jim, who also lives in Abilene, and he hurried out to see what kind of problem we were facing. I dug a little hole to find the problem spot; after digging down about a foot, the spigot and its pipe came off cleanly in my hands. I think it's best to do most things thoroughly - I guess that goes for bowling over water pipes as well. As the sun sank below the western horizon, Jim and I evaluated the damage. Today he arrived bright and early with his grandson in tow, ready to remove old pipes and replace them. He was finished by 2 pm. I think he might just be the best, quickest responding plumber I've ever met! (And he's a car salesman.) I think he deserves a "thank you" card.
Yay, running water! So, should I go finish mowing the yard? It could be an adventure...