What to do? My yard has a leak - Tucson Local Media: Editorials

What to do? My yard has a leak

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Posted: Wednesday, June 29, 2011 3:00 am

My historical record confirms that I’m less than handy with most home-related repairs and potentially dangerous when it comes to installing or fixing anything related to landscape drip systems. Despite that, it’s that dry time of year when the plants in our yard require an additional amount of water delivered in an automatically time-controlled manner.

Naturally, our irrigation system sprung a leak yesterday within seconds of activating it for the first time this season, giving the fountain-like appearance of a miniature Old Faithful. I’m not concerned; my wife handles these malfunctions. She’s always been our stalwart household and landscaping expert. I don’t recall ever seeing her distressed by any yard-related matter, including sawing off potentially injurious dagger-shaped cactus arms.

But this time she caught me totally off guard by suggesting that I become directly involved in the project, as in fixing it myself – today. Surely she was joking. Even our neighbors are aware that asking me for help in their yard is entertaining at best, and likely damaging and costly if I actually attempt to do something. A line from the 1973 movie “Magnum Force” delivered by Clint Eastwood (as Inspector Harry Callahan) immediately came to mind: “A man’s got to know his limitations.”

For openers, I don’t have a clue where my wife keeps the tools for this kind of job and whether we have the ones that may be required for making this home irrigation system line repair. Also worthy of consideration is the matter of shutting off the water. Can it be done for the drip line only or will I have to shut down everything in the house, and possibly throughout the entire neighborhood? This is serious pressure (and not the water kind), not to mention the amount causing water to be spewed skyward in our yard.

Aha! I have the failsafe male answer – duct tape. I learned from Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor on the TV series “Home Improvement” that duct tape fixes everything, at least for the short term, and that remedy should get me off the hook today. With a bit of breathing room I can undoubtedly convince her that we need to call an “irrigation guy” to check my work and, if necessary, make a more professional, long-term repair.

Uh-oh, this isn’t good. Our duct tape appears to have been sitting on the garage storage shelf for a while. Even though there’s a full roll, the stuff is so dried out it won’t even stick to itself. Hard to believe I haven’t used duct tape lately for hacking together something that I broke. This calls for an alternative plan, whatever that may be, but whatever it is I’d better come up with it now. This is surely one of those times for invoking the neighbor-helping-neighbor initiative, otherwise known as guilting ‘em into coming over to help. I’ve seen a few of my community mates routinely wandering through their yards so there’s a chance they might have some useful insight regarding the nature of my leaky problem, and maybe a roll of sticky duct tape.

OK, the neighbor assistance plan won’t work. I never knew that 99 percent of them have less tools and home repair supplies than me, fix-it skills that are comparable to mine, and always use professional maintenance people rather than taking any personal chances. I need to relax, take a deep breath, and consider my remaining options, and the latter will be challenging. The good news is that my wife just left for the grocery store so the pressure on me is somewhat relieved for the moment.

All right, the computer; surely the Internet holds the answer to my irrigation line quandary. Let’s see what I can find in the online Yellow Pages under landscape irrigation repair services. Just great; I’d forgotten it was Saturday and not exactly the ideal day to call for emergency drip line repair service, but there’s always someone out there who’s willing to do the job for a price. It turned out to be a husband/wife team specializing in basic home and landscape repairs and they happened to be available and nearby.

Within minutes after their arrival the damage was assessed and repaired by installing a complex 25-cent item called a drip-line head. I learned something new that will undoubtedly impress my wife when she gets home, technical landscape terminology.

With access to a computer and a telephone, a man can fix almost anything around the house.  

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