So That’s What We Forgot

Spring is here.  The sound of lawn mowers fills the air. The sun sets way too late.  Grass is green, flowers or blooming, gardens are sprouting.   I need to take a Claritin just thinking about it.

Tonight we started our “get the lawn ready for use” ritual.  We need a quicker name for it.  I mowed a bit before our electric mower reminded me that it had not been charged in months.  The big part is making sure the sprinkler system did not break during the winter.

Now, part of the whole “having a new baby at home” – I am really using the quotes today, sorry- is that the mundane stuff of home maintenance goes overlooked.  Vacuuming drops to once or twice a week, dusting is a luxury, laundry is a carefully orchestrated event.  Trips to the grocery store involve maps, like we’re planning an invasion instead of just buying milk.  Everything that needs to be done gets done, but the little stuff goes by the wayside.

Little stuff like ensuring all the water in the sprinkler system is blown out before the winter freeze takes hold.  That is what we forgot to do last year when we had a three month old and a three and a half year old taking up our time.

You know how you find out the sprinkler system broke because water inside the pipe froze and expanded, thus creating a crack in the system that carries hundred of gallons of water to a central manifold in a matter of seconds?  You don’t find out in a fun way, I can tell you that much.

Had my own little water park for a moment.

The firstborn was “helping” me check the system and turn everything on.  He was rather excited to be outside after dinner, and the mix of outside, full belly and being included in a “dad project” was just a bit too much for him.  The water intake valve sits in a hole in the ground in our back yard, so I’m on hands and knees trying to get the valve levers where they needed to be.  Listening for the hiss of rushing water and watching for any leaks.

I turn on the water and suddenly I’m being beaten by the firstborn.  He turned my back into a drum.  Even sang a little song to go with.  It is funny now, but as he hit the chorus of whatever tune he was hitting me to the crack in the pipe expanded.

I’m rushing to turn off the valves, he’s drumming, my wife is requesting he stop drumming on me as she’s carrying the newborn.  The newborn had spent the entire evening with a quizzical look on his face after seeing and hearing a lawn mower for the first time, so not one portion of the evening made sense to him.

I wound up completely losing my cool, cursed and slapped the ground.  The firstborn did not recognize the emotion I was displaying though and, thankfully, thought I was drumming now too.  He hit a fake cymbal and happily went his mother to take his bath. Not a shining parenting moment.

Funny now (aside from my choice of language), but by golly do I dislike lawn maintenance.  Lesson learned; call the pros, they have experience with lousy, no good, very bad sprinkler systems.


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