Strangling Kittens

The joys of owning an older home are many-fold. I am learning all sorts of skills I would have never considered before just to keep this thing from collapsing around our ears. I am able to stimulate the economy frequently with my trips to the hardware store, checks to various contractors, and extra booze from the liquor store to provide an occasional sense of oblivion that lets me escape the question “What’s going to break next?” Over the past three years I have replaced every toilet in the house (two by necessity, one just because it was too damned hideous to keep), replaced the roof and the occasional window (yes, single pane glass seems a bit silly in a climate that ranges from 0f to 110f), dealt with various plumbing nightmares and have been constantly reminded of the previous owner’s (or PO for the rest of this) love of PVC. When I am not repairing something, I am usually out trying to eradicate the noxious weed sanctuary that is our yard. Five acres of knapweed, milkweed, thistles and more! Joy.

This week, two months and two years late, I decided to learn how to maintain sprinklers. Sure, I’ve replaced the occasional sprinkler head, had to replace a hundred yards or so of PVC in the lawn when the tissue-thin variety PO so very loved burst under pressure, the occasional shovel strike or the sheer weight of boredom, discovered how NOT to wire automatic sprinklers and replaced the occasional solenoid. But beyond blowing out the lines at the end of the season, or replacing something when a sprinkler quit working, I’ve never really maintained my sprinklers. Turns out you can get them to work better if you clean their filters, or at a minimum, clear the gravel from the pipes when things clog. Now our sprinklers are clean and working properly. The sprinkler system is, in fact, better than it was when we moved in, as long as you don’t count the one we can no longer find in the front lawn and are really hoping we didn’t install the fence directly over it. Hooray!

Well, almost hooray. It seems someone has stabbed one of the sprinkler lines, so now we have a beautiful fountain on watering days. Fuck. I am ready to move to a condo. No sprinklers, no mowing, and no knapweed. At least I have something to do this evening beyond read and weed.