Pretty Is As Pretty Does

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So was it Friday’s veiled threat that she was going to outsource the work, the General’s oft-repeated attempt to motivate me to have more of an interest in pulling weeds or simply the fact that I care what the place looks like? I’m going with the latter answer. In addition, I am not a sluggard. I care what the place looks like. I don’t succumb to frequent reminders and I’m not open to outsourcing what I have the capacity to complete. I could help the General eradicate her undue stress related to the yard, but I think she rather enjoys keeping on top of things. The way I see it, if the landscape can be restored to picture perfect in two-to-three hours, it really wasn’t that big of a deal.


So yesterday morning when the General headed to the gym, I waited until she was out of sight and I headed into the front yard to manicure and rid the crepe myrtles from underlying foliage, pulling uninvited weeds that were voluntarily emerging through the river rock and trimming away salvia along the side walk.


By 10:30 a.m., I was almost done. About that same time, the General returned home and handing me a bottle of cold water and announced that I was done. After all, it was hotter than Houston outside and she said I was as red as a beet. She gave me kudos for the improved look and suggested I cool my jets for the rest of the day. Before she finished her repertoire, her impromptu speech fell somewhat short of “you are my knight in shining armor”. She threw in something about not having the good sense to wear a hat or to apply sunscreen. On the upside, she liked the way the yard looked.


Please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. I can’t take credit for the lawn being freshly mowed and edged. A guy from church who does yard work for folks in the neighborhood keeps the place looking good. He also routinely does what he can to straighten the fence that the horses have pushed over. At this point, new fencing is in order. I call it the equine effect. Horses look great roaming in the pasture, but they are less than respectful of property.


Of course the kind of fence needed is one that won’t bend when the horses throw their body weigh into rubbing against it. I’ve seen what I think would work and it would be an incredible look. I also figure it would cost about $200 a foot to have built. I pulled that number totally out of the air. I actually have no frame of reference other than a welder suggested oilfield pipe would be a far less expensive route to take, but the labor cost on that would also probably be cost prohibitive. Who knows, I may opt for a hot wire and shock the daylights out of the next horse that wants to take their chances.


Speaking of hot wires, yesterday afternoon also included a thorough vacuuming of the pond and installation of a new water pump. The old one had played out. The General asked me how old it was and I said I didn’t know. I threw out an empty box a pond master pump came in last week. The receipt included in the box was dated 2010, but surely it hasn’t been seven years since I purchased a new pump? It seems like I buy a new one about every four years.


Of course finding what I needed last time was a problem. The folks who handle outdoor water pumps generally include either an undersized pump or one way too large for my needs. They always ask the same question. How large is your pond? I’ve started pulling numbers out of the air to answer their question. When I respond 600 gallons, it sounds like I know what I’m talking about, but I don’t.


Friday I went back to the same water feature place where I bought the last pump. I didn’t find one in a yellow box, so I asked for assistance. The guy behind the counter knew exactly what I needed, or so he said. Instead of one large yellow box, I found myself carrying out two smaller blue boxes. The cost was $260. That seemed like more than I had paid for the larger yellow box earlier. I didn’t have a lot of confidence in what I had purchased, but the man told me it was more than I needed. Of course, he based that on the 600 gallon size pond when for all I know, it could have been more or maybe even less.


So where was the General when I was ready to leave? She had wandered off to look at fish in the aquariums. I scanned a couple of aisles and didn’t see her. Consequently, I called her cell phone. She replied: “I’ll be right there as soon as I pay for the fish I’ve bought.” I didn’t even ask. We currently have 18 to 20 fish in the back yard pond. We needed another fish like …”


As it turns out, she was just pulling my leg. She hadn’t purchased more fish. However, she did say that some of the fish she had been looking at were $75 a piece. She then added that she’d like to get an aquarium for the sun porch. The worst possible response I could make is to tell her “that’s not happening.” Consequently, I didn’t make a response. If you ask me, “It isn’t going to happen”. We don’t need any more fish for either outside or inside the house.


Whatever size the outdoor pond is, they don’t sell them at Home Depot any longer. I’ve actually gone to look just to find out the size. Did I mention the time I invested Saturday morning in yard work paled in contrast to the time it took to clean and replace the water in the pond. I didn’t use sunscreen, but I did wear my Dobie Gillis like hat. That way I was covered from all sides.


Now how to figure out the pump installation? Okay, so apparently instructions weren’t needed. There was simply the notice not to use the pump in a swimming pool or to even touch your hand in the water when the pump was turned on. I found that somewhat disturbing since we’ve had the pond for fourteen years and I regularly stick my hand in the water to retrieve the filter without first unplugging the pump. Who would have thought one could get electrocuted by doing so? Okay, I get it. Water and electricity don’t mix. Going forward, I’ll be more cautious maybe.


Okay, so I got in the water to connect everything and then got out and plugged in the pump. It made a groaning noise, but it wasn’t pumping water. Wouldn’t you know it. Maybe I had incorrectly connected the water feature. I unplugged the pump, got back in the water and tried something different. Again, same response, a groaning noise and no water. How many different configurations could one try? Trust me, I should know. I tried several.


Okay, so to figure it out I decided to play it safe and see if it worked in the bathtub. It would be easier to tweak from inside the house and out of the heat. By the way, it worked perfectly in the bathtub. It was configured exactly the way I had configured it the first time.


Okay, so maybe it took some time for the water to actually fill the filter and become accessible to the pump. I don’t know, but I’m pleased to say it is working now the way it is supposed to work.


All My Best!



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