Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Help Wanted

We need to make changes to our yard to control water from big rainstorms. I want to hire a professional. My husband wants to leap from the garage with a shovel and bag of rocks and solve the problem himself.

Help me.

Let's review the last time we 'solved' our own drainage issues. The scene: our old townhouse; front yard. The problem: a mini lake forms in the pathway whenever a passing child spits in our direction. The solution: build a french drain.

We googled. We yahoo'ed. We watched HGTV shows. We found instructions for a french drain and set to work. My husband dug a trench in the front yard, and I collected the resulting uncovered rocks and washed them. We put down a drainage tarp and covered it with the rocks. It was supposed to look like a charming dry creek bed on sunny days, and collect the rainwater on rainy days, becoming a charming small pond.

What is actually looked like was a hole with rocks in it. In our front yard. We mumbled to ourselves and decided it might need plants. But first, we wanted to see if it worked. The next rainy day we hunkered down in front of the window and watched. The water ignored the rock pit, puddled in the walkway first, and then grudgingly filled up the 'pond', but only after there was absolutely nowhere else to go. Not good.

Given this experience, I am hesitant to turn my husband loose in the new yard with a shovel. There is much more to screw up. He does not agree.

Whenever my husband doesn't want to buy something, we are poor. He told me we don't have the money to hire a professional. I questioned why we had money yesterday, when we were talking about other projects. That's when I get the scowl. Finally he conceded, "but we do agree that something needs to be done."

Dangerous territory. I had to carefully choose my response, lest I wake up one Saturday morning and find that he's backhoed the entire side lawn. I suggested that we at least investigate hiring a person to just give us a professional set of directions, because we really don't want to repeat The Townhouse Incident. He is thinking it over.

Last night he told me that Lowe's was becoming one of his favorite stores. That he was 'getting into this home improvement thing.' He keeps going to Lowe's and emerging with power tools and strange foams. He is becoming a do-it-yourselfer. This is more than a little alarming, because my husband is stubborn. He waged war with a toilet at our old house for five years, refusing to call in a plumber because he could fix it. Five years. When something requires repair again and again over a five year period, it is not fixed.

It became personal between him and the toilet, and I can see him starting to get emotionally attached to the lawn. We have lived in the house three weeks, and already have seventeen new lawn related items in the garage. He will not stop at one little drainage hole; this is a man who will dig up my entire yard multiple times yearly until he feels he has won.

Help me.

So today I am researching landscaping people. I am in a hurry. My husband's biological clock is ticking, and he wants to adopt a trench digger.



Anonymous said...

Yikes. I was going along your post thinking one thing, and then I got to the five year battle with the toilet and now I'm thinking a completely different thing. Keep that man away from the yard!

For me, I've adopted the "do whatever you want as long as I don't have to help and I'm free to complain if it inconveniences me" attitude. But five years? Whoa boy, that does not sound good.

Tulips said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tulips said...

I am just laughing, because R and I were just talking about French drains yesterday. He was surprised that I knew what one is. I said, "MzManners told me!!"

Alison at Wardrobe Oxygen said...

Oh dear! Sounds like my MOM, living in this big house alone, trying to replace panes of glass in the front window herself because she found a rusty glass cutter in the basement. Recently she has filled cracks in her brick exterior, reattached the fence gate with wire and is considering installing new gutters herself. All means lots of work for my husband when the "repairs" fall into disrepair....