In the spring you find all sorts of things that you need to fix or dally with. Dear Sir kept mentioning how we need to hire someone to go down in the crawl space to turn on the water spickets so we can start using the hose (we have to turn them off during the winter or they will freeze). A crawl space never sounds appealing to a city boy. Or a city girl. I really don't care for little spaces to crawl into where possible spiders and their little friends are lurking around, waiting to bite and nibble. Who knows as well if there is not a snake or two coiling in the corner of the dank area under the house.
"So maybe we can get the lawn boy down the street to go down there," Dear Sir said. I imagined the lawn boy last summer picking up leaves in our neighbor's yard and hearing of him jumping back in fear when he found what he thought was a copperhead. I think now it was a black snake or something sort of harmless. I did not think the lawn boy would do it. "It has to get done this week," he continued, "It was nice because when the heater guy came to fix the heat pump, I had him turn the water off once he was down there already." Got out of that one.
I felt the urgency of it because whenever Dear Sir gets something like this on his mind (like lawn work) he doesn't stop until it gets done (I mean, he doesn't stop talking about it). I don't like this. I imagined the years that he would say back in Idaho, "I have to trim the hedge. I have to trim the hedge this weekend. Yes, this weekend." And then finally I would do it because he would be so dead on his feet once the weekend came he could not muster the strength to do it. Besides, I am home all week and can squeeze in a little hedge trimming. (*archive The Hard Way)
"Maybe we can get that guy on the homeschool list to do it that does odd jobs," he began.
I imagined having the guy come over to turn on some faucet in the crawl space. I imagined my shame while Dear Sir was at work, trying to explain that we can't handle going down there because of lions, tigers and bears, oh my.
"I'll take a flashlight and see if it looks daunting in a bit," I offered, "if it looks ok, I will just do it. If I can kill a mole, I can kill a snake or a few spiders." (*archive Mole Murder) I thought about this. No jabbing room in a crawl space if I bring Darlene.* (my beloved mole whacking shovel with masking tape on it to keep it together---came with the shed). My shoes will have to do. I have strong legs. I am a runner, right? With my New Balance shoes I could penetrate the scaly skin of any creeping thing on this earth.
I got up and went to my closet to get dressed. I put on a sweat shirt, jeans, no socks (what was I thinking?), and my old New Balance shoes. I grabbed the flashlight and went outside to get to the crawl space. I opened up the little door and walah! a little light came on. A freaking light was down there, just like a basement. The floor was all covered with plastic, so this was good. No holes in the plastic either. Looked nice. Lots of goodies right by the door. A ceiling fan, a ceiling light, a sink, a few cabinet doors, a pantry door, some left over hard wood from the new floor they put in before we got here, some bags of cement, a bag of fertilizer, a set of blinds, a sterilite box full of Christmas lights. Score. Even a bag of limestone.
I went to the back corner of the house where I knew there was an outside spicket. Turned it on. Beautiful. Heard water pouring from it outside. Good. Good.
I went to the next spicket in the front of the house. I crawled around and sweat like crazy. It was hot and I was wearing all that gear. I flashed the light around to see if any wonders of nature were lurking around to eat me. Nothing. We could live down here. I finally got to the front spicket. I turned the thing on and I heard water jolting around in the pipe like the first one, but then the pipe broke or was broken already, I am not sure, and water cascaded in the corner at my feet. I turned off the spicket to see what the heck was happening. The whole pipe was severed right before going out of the house. Not good. That is Dear Sir's favorite spicket. It worked last year.
I crawled out all hot and sweaty. The bright sun bothered me. My daughter was waiting for me outside. "How is it in there?" she asked. "Really small and cramped," I said, "you are not going in." "Come on!" she wailed, disappointed.
I walked over to Dear Sir to tell him the news. He was watering the petunias he just planted in front of the house. "How was it?" he said.
"I think we need a plumber."
"One of the pipes is broken so the front spicket won't work. Water gushed everywhere inside the crawl space."
"Did you turn it off?!"
"Yeah. I wonder if the pipe can be put back together. I don't know how those things work. I could go down there again and see if it could twist back on. It is a really clean break, so maybe that is what the problem is. I don't know."
"Whatever, you are crazy."
I went down there again to see if I could twist it. I managed to get the thing back on, but the water was too powerful and it burst again. It was a little difficult too because I needed the flashlight to see and yet I needed two hands to put he pipe together and twist. All those times using my shoulder to hold the phone to my ear had paid off.
I emerged from the depths of the house once again, defeated. I could not fix the dumb thing.
"Now we need a plumber---" Dear Sir shook his head.
"It won't be much. I will call him tomorrow."
The plumber came that next morning and looked a little frightened to get in the crawl space. He asked some questions about it. I could tell it freaked him out! Give me a break.
When he got the job done and he emerged, I asked him how it was. "That's a nice crawl space," he said, all relieved.
"Yeah, before I went in there I thought a bunch of snakes would be there for me to fight," I said, laughing.
He stared at me."When I moved the pipe I heard a weird sound from somewhere else and I looked around with the flashlight to see what it was. I didn't see nothin', but who knows."
"You probably moved some other pipe or something."
"Yeah, maybe," he said with a little fear.
Where have all the cowboys gone?