Saturday, September 12, 2009
Backwards and in High Heels
Now the bad news: As I was edging along part of the myrtle patch, I got too close to the sprinkler valves, the string from the weed whacker grabbed hold of the little electrical wires on the valve and ripped the whole top of the valve off. Luckily for me, I always turn off the main supply to the sprinkling system after each use. Otherwise I would have had Old Faithful in the backyard. But as it is, I can't water the yard until I fix it. The part that broke was easy to remove just by unscrewing. But would I be lucky enough to find a replacement for that old thing? Nope.
I have a couple of options. I can take just that one valve out and connect in one new valve. Or I can buy a new manifold with all new valves for the four stations. That's more expensive, but was on my long-term list of things to do because the old valves were leaking. It just got moved up. I'm leaning toward the full replacement. It will cost me about $100. I can do the work myself.
I grew up in a household where the dad could fix anything - I'm not exaggerating. And the mom could fix nothing. My dad taught the boys to use tools and work on cars, but we girls learned how to make bread and wax a wood floor. When I married, I assumed all men were like my dad. Boy was I in for a rude awakening. Turns out not a lot of guys really know how to fix things any more than I do. And thus began my career of learning the things I never learned from my dad.
That includes repairing a sprinkling system. When Doug moved out, I discovered the sprinkling system he had put together was a tenuous tangle of add-ons and second thoughts, with lots of slap dash repairs. I had to learn to repair it myself and have babied it along, fixing this and that, experimenting with changes, keeping it going. Rarely is brute strength required to fix a broken sprinkler. More often it's logic, finding the right parts, and patience.
Which brings me to the title of my post: Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, only backwards and in high heels. With no offense to the gentlemen who visit this blog, that saying is often true for other situations as well. We may have been taught girlish things, but we are finding we can still keep up with the boys--although we sometimes feel we are dancing backwards in high heels while doing it.
A few years ago I would never have tackled replacing the whole manifold and sprinklers for the back yard. Would not have dreamed I could. Now, I have no fear at all. I know what I need, and I know I can get it done and be watering again by Monday. Maybe even Sunday.
UPDATE: I may have just had a stroke of luck. Examining the valves to see what's what and what I needed, I realized there are six valves there and I only use four--the other two just have plugs closing them off. And instead of a regular manifold, my hubby had rigged it all together using short pieces of PVC and connector pieces. So first I took apart one of the good but unused valves and used the part I needed to fix the broken valve. Perfect! Then I used my PVC cutter to cut off the two unused valves. The newly-cut end of pipe now just needs to be securely terminated. It only has only about a half inch of length into which I can slide the terminator piece so I'll need to do a very good job gluing that piece in. The open pipe is wet right now with water draining where I cut it. I'll allow it to dry thoroughly and then will make a very careful and secure glued seam with the terminator piece and will apply no water pressure for 24 hours. If I'm lucky it will hold and the repair is done without costing me a dime. Cross your fingers for me!!
SECOND UPDATE; Got the gluing done, but not feeling very confident. There's a small crack in the pipe in the area that was glued. It may be near enough the edge that it won't leak, But I'm not counting on it. I think I'll be buying the parts tomorrow just in case. The yard is drying up with two days of no water, and there will be a third tomorrow if this fix doesn't hold. But they're predicting rain for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday along with cooler temps. We'll soon be through with watering for the season. But it's best to get this done before snow, so I don't need to deal with it in the spring.