Saturday, September 12, 2009

Backwards and in High Heels

Well, there's good news and bad news. The good news is I chopped down a big bush and stuffed it all into the trash can in time for the extra trash pickup today. And then I got my weed whacker working again and managed to whack down the weeds on that upper level that were driving me crazy. Then I tackled the myrtle bed and found despite weeds growing in my lasagne mulched areas, underneath was lush new growth of myrtle that will be fabulous next year. This means no more weeding in the myrtle patch. Occasional weed whacking will take care of it.

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.  


Jacqui Binford-Bell said...

I got lucky. I was the oldest child and was suppose to be a son. The son came later but was always 2 years too young for Dad. So as a result I got to be surgical nurse for all his various projects. By watching and being his tool handler I learned about tools and that anything could be done if you were clever enough.

Hardware stores are second homes. Though a decade or so back most clerks in hardware stores assumed you were there to get the part for hubby at home and hadn't a clue what you were asking for.

Now statistics show that over 50% of all power tools are sold to women for them and not as gifts. Tools are lighter and more efficient and easier for women to handle. There is always some way or so tool to compensate for lack of strength.

The real good news is women have always had the edge on spatial thinking. Which is what helped you figure out what you needed for your sprinkler system.

So you go girl!

bekkieann said...

I occasionally run into that old-fashioned thinking in a hardware store or car repair shop. And that's my signal to go somewhere else. The guy at Home Depot yesterday was pretty condescending and unhelpful. The guy at Ace Hardware was most helpful but didn't have what I needed. I didn't check out Lowe's yet.

I'm probably going to go for the bigger repair in the next week or so. Even though I managed to glue the fitting very well, that small crack in the pipe is a weaknees that my strong water pressure will exploit sooner or later.

Jacqui Binford-Bell said...

Find it also matters where the store is. Lowe's in Espanola is Hispanic staffed and I get only male macho from them.

My local hardware store is wonderful. And even deal well with my phasia when it comes tech terms on plumbing supplies. They gladly order in for me if they do not have it on hand.

Time of day can make a difference. I get far better care on weekdays and in the morning with the contractors there. Where grubbies and keep your tool belt on.

Bee's Blog said...

I stride into hardware stores like a man - in my 4" heels and give them one of what is known in our house as, 'my looks'. 'Nuff said!