In a recent phone conversation with my buddy Doug, I whined to him about all the projects I still want to tackle before school starts again, one of which being the repair of one of the “rainbirds” in my sprinkler system. His directions for fixing it went something like this:
“Uhhhmmm, I think ya gotta yank that sucker outa the ground, then take it to Home Depot and tell ‘em ya need one just like it, then come back and slap the new sucker in.”
It may not be glaringly obvious from his articulate instruction, but Doug is an engineer. He teaches that subject plus photography at the same high school where I teach. What he was getting at, though, was that it wouldn’t make sense to try to repair the mechanism. Replacing the entire sprinkler head was required.
Sigh. This is a job I’ve never done before, and I’ve never watched anyone do it (which is how I learned to change a tire, replace a kitchen faucet and swap out a toilet, all of which I have done by myself). But with a return to work looming in the near future, I decided today to simply see how far I could get on the project before really screwing it up.
Before I began, I left water from the hose trickling around the sprinkler head while I ate breakfast so it would be a bit easier to dig out the sod and so the job would be a bit less dusty. Lord knows my poor lawn could use an extra drink of water.
Then I began. It took less than five minutes to dig down around the sprinkler. I thought I might have to dig a pretty deep hole in order to spin the thing around to unscrew it, but the blessed saint who installed the system had put an elbow joint there, so as I began to rotate the head, the joint pulled up to a ninety degree angle, and removing the broken part was easy peasy.
Not long after moving into this house, it was with great good fortune that I had found, in the side yard, three perfectly good sprinkler heads. I left them there for a rainy day. Wait—wrong metaphor. All that is to say, I skipped Doug’s middle step of heading off to Home Depot because I already had the replacement part (times 3).
I rinsed mud and debris off the connecting joint, screwed the new sprinkler head back on, secured Purrl in the house because she’d been outside helping me as she always does, and turned the system on to see if it worked.
I stood for a moment, savoring my monumental triumph. (I would have whooped and cheered loudly, but it would have set my neighbor’s dog into fits of barking, and they have a new baby, so I kept it to a whispered “Yes!!!”
Positioning the sprinkler in the hole, pushing the soil back in and replacing the sod took about two minutes. To be honest, the entire project could have been accomplished in about ten minutes had I not stopped to take photos, thus documenting the process for Doug.
Who, by the way, was very proud of me—but never doubted that I could do it. And just let me say here how much I appreciate guy friends who teach me life skills instead of simply offering to do the job for me. Doug’s a nice guy. Had I asked him, he would have come over in a heartbeat and done it for me. He assumed I would want to do it myself unless I absolutely couldn’t. As a badass independent woman, I have to say I like that in a man.
Moral of the story: Teach a girl to fish, and ever after she’ll not only keep herself busy when you take her fishing, but you can sit back, have a beer, and let her go at it. Ok, maybe that moral doesn’t exactly apply to this story, but I do like to imagine the scenario. It’s kinda romantic.