manual labor

this year, i think that i am going to give my dad for father’s day the gift of manual labor. over the weekend, my mom called me to ask me to help him with some broken sprinklers. my dad made me think that we were going to have to dig out the entire sprinkler system and replace it with a new system. all of that trenching did not sound like fun.

it turned out that we didn’t have to trench to remove the existing pipes, though. this was a very good thing because the existing pipes were made out of steel. trying to cut through those pipes did not seem like fun. it’s crazy how much rust and other crap gets stuck to these pipes. we had to replace one sprinkler head that was attached the the steel pipes and there was so much rust and sediment stuck on the threads of the pipe that we could barely screw the sprinkler onto the pipe.

the other half of the sprinkler system used standard PVC so it was pretty easy to make the repairs there. the automatic valves failed and needed to be replaced. we couldn’t get the existing valve off, the plastic threads must have been screwed on crooked when it was put on so my dad and i were debating which way to take it off. my dad wanted to try to muscle the valve off with a wrench. i tried it, but couldn’t get it off. he wanted to try it himself, but he couldn’t do it either.

we sat there defeated for a little while and then i told him i’m just gonna break the valve off. he looked horified. i’m not going to break the water main, i tried to soothe him, but he was convinced that i was going to break off the entire section of pipe and not just the valve. i hadn’t even suggested the use of the sledgehammer yet! though it was on my mind.

so anyway, i gave the valve a couple of gentle kicks and asked him to watch the pipes to see if they budged. they are steel! nothing moved. so i gave the valve of couple of swift, forceful kicks and it splintered off. “see!” i exclaim, “easy!”

oh, i almost forgot. before we worked on the sprinklers, we had to turn off the water for the house. i went to the water main access and saw inside there a huge black widow. “dude, there’s a black widow in there! i’m not sticking my hand in there!”

my dad looks inside and says, “yeah, that is a black widow.” and then he proceeds to kill it with a screwdriver. “ok, all clear, now turn off the water,” he beckons to me. “why do *I* have to turn off the water, you’re closer!” i quiver in fear of any black widow baby spiders lurking in the chamber. still, i manned up and turned off the water…and lived to tell about it. i haven’t seen a black widow in years. i wish i had taken a picture of it before it met its demise. oh well.

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