Her car slowed to a crawl by the curb as she rolled down the window.
“Hi there!” She exclaimed.
I had no idea who she was.
“Are you having problems with your pipes?” she asked, her voice filled with sympathy.
I looked up from my shoveling, one leg hiked up on the pile of dirt while I wiped the sweat from my brow with the opposite hand, reflecting that I was striking one of the more manly poses from which I’ve ever been interrupted, and replied.
“Sure looks like it, huh!”
As it turns out, we were not having a problem with our pipes, or really any kind of problem at all. Everything was proceeding according to plan. E’s plan.
You see, all home repairs are remanded to the exclusive custody of E due to a combination of my OCD and my having never lived in a house where I was allowed to do anything to anything.
As a result, I can’t even put a screw into a wall without wanting to call in an architect. I’m like, “You want me to do WHAT to the WALL of OUR HOUSE that WE OWN? Are you sure?”
And then E takes the drill from me, sinks a screw into the wall, and hangs a picture. Or installs a laundry system or hooks up a digital thermostat or whatever other crazy MacGyver insanity she does while I’m worriedly reading and re-reading instruction booklets and internet how-tos.
So, when E proposed a plan for regrading our front lawn that began with, “find some free fill dirt from Craigslist,” I just nodded. I mean, first, she’s always right, but also, it’s not like we are going to break the front lawn, right?
Like, what’s the worst that could happen?
Right. That question got a little less rhetorical on Thursday night when a 30-year-old dump truck cracked a panel of our sidewalk and dug its wheels into our lawn in a possibly irretrievable fashion.
For a few minutes I really thought we had acquired a permanent 30-year-old dump truck lawn ornament, which I guess I was okay with. That was before it stood on its rickety pneumatic hind legs to expel what was surely close to a ton of dirt onto our front lawn. Then there was also the chance that the entire thing would tip over backwards and somersault through our front window.
Well, we got rid of the truck, but were left with a pile of dirt that was only slightly smaller than a VW Bug, bristling with hunks of broken concrete. Honestly, it looked to be about 30% dirt, 70% shattered ruins. Between the broken sidewalk, the massive tire rut, and the subsequent pile of rubble it really did look like we were digging up a ruptured sewer pipe.
Which maybe is why three separate people asked about that, even when I was halfway through shoveling said dirt to its final resting place. Because, as it turns out, the rubble was not bristling with concrete – it was clay dirt, and all of the various rock-like bits were clay that easily gave way beneath my shovel.
(Gina was able to discern this immediately when she arrived for rehearsal yesterday, despite my trying to convince her the yard was filled with rubble from a giant robot fight that had occured in our lawn over the weekend. Maybe I should have skipped the giant robot part.)
Three hours of manly labor later and the pile was half-depleted – more of a buttress than a Bug – while our lawn is now graded up almost a foot at the foundation of the house.
What might my solution have been, you ask? I probably would have paid one of the three landscape engineers we are personally acquainted with a large sum of money to find a solution that involved neither a dump truck or me spending a day shoveling dirt.
Of course, E’s solution was free less the cost of the new sidewalk panel, plus I got to look manly for an afternoon, so that’s why she’s in charge of these things.