That Carr Boy

06 June 2010

My Dear Friend Sherry,

It was a calm, bordering on volatile, evening in front of the twin computer screens as I pondered yet another solution for why my local (test) website was responding with a “fakepath” as I tried to import a GEDCOM. The local site had been working just fine until six weeks ago when I tried to upgrade it from V7.1.1 to V7.1.3 and then everything broke – badly. Until I got it fixed, the public facing site would never see TNG Version 8.0. One solution I contemplated was putting the entire PC through the office window and starting over, but that seemed like too much work in itself. That was when the phone rang…

My Bride took the call as she normally does and reported that the widow, neighbor lady – your mother – would like me to come over and look at her sprinkler system. It was 8:30 pm and my Bride figured, correctly, that I was not inclined to transition from website manager to plumber at that hour of the day. So the Bride said I would look at it in the morning. Bless her!

Saturday morning came and I had planned to look at that sprinkler, honest, but I didn’t get there. First, I walked my Beer Buddies at about 7:10. (For those of you not living in the neighborhood, the beer buddies are our close to 5-year old Beagles, Bud & Miller. Actually, Miller is not really a Beagle although he can sure pass as one. We had him DNA tested when he showed cat-like tendencies such as lounging on the back of the couch or pawing at us like we were a ball of string…but swimming in the pond has us truly baffled – not cat-like! The results came back stating, unbelievably, that he was part Great Dane. But I digress.) Afterward I read the newspaper; the Wall Street Journal, not the repugnant liberal Atlanta Journal Constitution. I got all the way thru the front section of WSJ and then fell off the kitchen stool in pain. When the pain subsided I was compelled to write to the opinion page editor:

  • I read Leslie Gelb’s “Hillary for Defense?” opinion piece this morning and admit that I found the thought process whimsical and irrational, but I read on out of wide-eyed curiosity and incredulity. That is, until I read the last paragraph about Biden being a certain Obama pick for Secretary of State! At that point I rolled off my kitchen chair in pain at the image of Biden speaking for America. When the mental pain and the physical pain of the fall subsided I quickly realize the whole story was a spoof and I felt silly for thinking Gelb was serious. Phew…I need early morning humor; it gives me the jolt necessary to put up with the real political stories that will develop later in the day.

After that was written, I went to my first planned chore: fix the pond. That is a story in itself. Last weekend the Beer Buddies ripped two holes in the liner while trying to reach a critter they cornered in the gaps between the upper filter and the rocks that decorated – and hid – the filter which is functionally a waterfall. When I first examined the damage, the two holes were reasonably small and I thought reasonably easy to fix. I contemplated the repair as I turned the pump off and my buddies went back to chasing the critter. Chasing was only part of the developing scene. While Miller howled to notify the neighborhood dogs and any human that might care about what was happening, Bud was busy snorting, rooting and huffing from one gap in the rocks to the next stopping only to howl occasionally as if to fill in details that apparently Miller’s howls were not properly conveying. That was stage right.

At stage left I was collecting pond liner patches, a $24/12-ounce can of glue, scissors, and towels but I couldn’t collect them all at once because I kept going back to stage right to keep my buddies away from the corners of the liner. I thought they sensed I was serious the first two times I growled at them. But no, as soon as I turned around they both were back tearing at the flaps of the liner! And the two once very manageable holes became the kind of gash that sunk the Titanic. At some point I convinced both buddies that their good health was in jeopardy if they: 1) did not leave the critter alone, and 2) did not quit destroying my hobby. Stage right & left finally eventually merged and repair work proceeded.

I know you are thinking that the repair was last weekend, so what does that have to do with this weekend? Easy, last weekend’s repair was only fifty percent successful; one hole continued to leak so I had to fix it again. And fix it I did.  And I fixed a leak associated with the smaller, lower pond. Since both ponds held my momentary attention, I then spent a mindless hour or so pulling a vast collection of organic matter out of the crevices and gaps in the rocks and from within the hidey-holes that the fish use to avoid predators…like the hawk that took away a large Koi a couple of weeks back. The remaining fish appeared to enjoy the hour because the more I wandered in the pond, the more food I stirred up for them…Koi are bottom feeders.

Remember, I was on a roll, so as soon as the pond chores were done…and it was still before 9:00, the time when you can crank up the lawnmower and wake up neighbors or neighbors can call other neighbors to say you are coming over for coffee…or to fix something…I decided to work on the 105mm ammo box. You might be wondering, what am I doing with a 105mm ammo box? To answer that you would have to tell me how your dad, my dear friend Tom, came into possession of the box because I got that box from your mother after he left us. Regardless, I was modifying the box to be a cabinet for your #1 Army guy, Jack, aka my son. Last weekend, or probably two weekends ago, I added shelves inside the box so that when the box was stood on an end, the lid became a door and Jack could place items inside. What kind of items? I am not sure but that is off topic. All I wanted to do was to clean the outside of the box with 409 cleaner.

I found a rag in the attached garage, a brass-Y for the hose, rearranged the dog food containers, and continued back to clean the stand-alone garage after I threw out an old shower drain cover found in the other garage. Have you developed the picture yet? I was putzing – wandering aimlessly from task to task on a Saturday the way I tend to do. I never got the 409 and by that time it was past 9:00 so I pulled the lawnmower out and cut the grass. As I was cutting the grass I noticed that grass had grown into the crack between the curb and the asphalt of the roadbed as it does all summer long. So, I pulled all that grass out because we were going to have the block party on Sunday evening for the neighbor that was moving away.  That neighbor said it looked good; I think he meant the way the grass grew; not the way it looked after I pulled the grass out. Neighbors can  smart-Alecky – or would I be more accurate to say irritating? Don’t you agree?

With the yard chores fully underway, I went back to the stand-alone garage and got the moss killer and was spreading it on numerous patches of moss in the front yard when your mother drove out of her driveway and almost into mine…but not quite. She rolled down the passenger side window and as large quantities of cool air escaped from the car I found myself drawn into the conversation so to speak…no, not by the conversation but by the cool air. It was after all a hot and humid summer day in Georgia. It was like the day I cut down her tree, remember? Anyway, I asked if she left the house unlocked so I could reset the sprinkler and she said she would go unlock it. I suggested in sort of a questioning way that we still had her house key to which she responded: “Is Lana home?”

So there we were talking past each other as usual. She doesn’t listen to me and there are times I don’t want to listen to her attempt to answer my questions because I know she won’t. Funny pair, we are. At any rate, all the points were finally made clear; yes, the house was not unlocked; yes Lana was home and yes she still had a key; and yes I could open the house myself; and no, she, MK, did not need to go open the garage.  All the pieces fit together like a puzzle. That of course is complete BS. All the pieces were there; but the puzzle was not assembled. The puzzle will never be assembled which itself is puzzling. Yet, that is just the way it is which reminds me of Walter Cronkite who would end his newscast with that tagline. And of course there was his Twentieth Century TV program which he would end by saying “And that’s the way it was”, and give the date of the event, like, “That’s the way it was, December 7th, 1941”. It was a great show, although off topic.

With the yard chores complete, the Bride made lunch for us which was typically tasty. I then figured it was time to wander over and see what the problem was with MK’s water sprinkler. I figured even before I got over there that the problem was a function of the 8-minute power outage on Friday evening…coincidentally, that was just before your mother’s call. So, I reset the time which her microwave said was 1:05, set the zones for 20 minutes of watering, and set the watering days to Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. I successfully tested Zone-1 in manual mode and figured: Mike Charlie (mission complete)! I closed up the garage door and went home for a beer.

I didn’t reach that beer because as I walked behind the house the Bride met me with two containers of pond chemicals: one would make pond water crystal clear and the other would make the algae disappear from the submerged rocks. I am not sure why she brought that stuff out this year; we’ve had the ponds for pushing 4 years and have never used them. Maybe that is the answer to why we had algae! The instructions on both containers gave her concern; and if they gave her concern in turn that meant I had work to do! But not before we had a discussion about how much of one of the chemicals to use. The instructions said 2-cups. I said that could not possibly be true since firstly, there was only one cup of the stuff in the container and secondly, the container had a tablespoon measure inside. What was I supposed to do, I asked, measure a full cup, one tablespoon at a time and fake the second cup? After she objected to my sound logic (my tone?) she went inside and online and came back, somewhat smugly I might add, and said, yes, measure the cup out one tablespoon at a time. I said go ahead; and she did while I splashed two buckets of the other chemical into the edge of the pool…one tablespoon per bucket at a time!

At that point in the day the Bride had to get ready for a 4:00 cooking class and I needed a break which for some reason was taken without a beer although it included a shower in the new Roman bath…yes, alone – no Bride and no dogs! Then, came another call from your mother about what I did to fix the sprinkler. I proceeded to explain as I wrote above. And then there was dead silence on the line. Hello? I asked, thinking the connection had been broken. She came back on the line and said that she guessed she would use the sprinkler in the manual mode. I replied that I set it for automatic mode…which, I thought to myself, was the request. Again silence and then again she said she would use the manual mode. What could I say? From past experience it seemed the best course of action was that I could say nothing. I could say nothing, because as usual I missed the logic of her decision. My Bride in the meantime took a call on her cell phone, this time from her co-worker in Atlanta checking up on her; essentially he was wondering if Lana would be at work two hours ahead of the four o’clock class time?  Since it was nigh on to 3:10 the answer was for all intents, no, she would be late for the start time! At that point we jumped into her SUV so I could be dropped to pick up the blue car from an oil change while she raced on to her class. I got home 20 minutes later at about 3:30 and had that cold beer I went to get at 1:10.

The next morning at 07:10, as my Bride and I walked the beer buddies, I happened to mention the missed logic of the previous day’s conversation with MK. Then came the clarifying detail; MK is trying to count pennies according to the Bride. So I am to conclude either 1) the automatic watering was never MK’s intent, expressed or implied, or 2) the number of watering days and zone duration I set were outside of her budget. So there were the perfectly logical explanations for the otherwise illogical need to stay with manual mode. Why was I kept in the dark or, I suppose, made out to be oblivious?

As I close this chapter of my memoirs, I remain humbly incapable of reading minds and most incapable of drawing logical conclusions from illogical piece-parts. Beyond that, I remain Tom’s friend, aka the neighbor, the plumber, the IT help desk, the Christmas-light man, the Grinch, the pickup guy and now – that Carr boy.

Oh…and aka, Regis.


You will hardly believe this, but as I close, my buddies are exclaiming to the neighborhood that they have trapped a critter near the small pond! And, no, Tom’s 105mm box is yet to be touched with 409.