The day started off rather well, but that lasted for about ten minutes. From that point until about noon there was a very distinct feeling of picking up speed on a slide down a steep embankment with nothing to break my fall but the cesspool at the bottom.
I am an old farm boy and as a result have little need for an alarm clock. At some point between 4:30 and 5:30 the eyes pop open, the feet automatically hit the floor, and the mind begins compiling a list of things that need to be done before returning to the sanctuary of the bed.
This morning was no exception. There was a hint of daylight in the eastern sky as I made my way down the hall, started the coffee, and before sitting down to read a chapter or two from my favorite book, checked on an elderly member of the family (a cat) that has been rather ill as of late.
That was when I noticed water running off the roof. Well, it does rain in Kingman and in fact it rained just over a week ago. This wasn’t rain. The float on the swamp cooler had stuck.
So, I slipped on my jeans, pulled on the boots, and went to investigate.
Well, the ground was wet, very wet, but not just where it was running off the roof. This was at the corner behind the house.
Now it is full daylight and I am playing gopher with pick and shovel. The cracked pipe that was seeping became a geyser with a little prodding from the pick.
Water is running off the roof and spraying from a hole in the backyard a mere one hour before I needed to leave for work. The main shut off valve is stuck tighter than a pig in a prom dress so I resort to turning the water off in the alley at the meter.
There is now a small pond in the back yard, and I have yet to shave, shower, or eat. The idea of calling for a stand in at the office passes from my mind quickly as there wasn’t one. The idea of calling a plumber passes almost as quickly when I calculate the coast of the fuel pump on the Jeep, two weeks ago, the cost of the refrigerator, this past Saturday, and the cost of the dentist on Monday.
One advantage of being financially tapped is that it presents the opportunity to learn something new, to familiarize yourself with an old skill, or to remind yourself why you work hard enough to be able to afford the luxury of calling a plumber at times such as this. In this, the modern era, folks are often quick to reach for the plastic with little thought of the double noose they are braiding for themselves.
The first is debt. The second is the fact nothing is learned and as a result, dependence slowly erodes independence.
At the risk of sounding like an old codger, it was financial adversity that led me to rebuild a carburetor and install a motor, two wonderful events that convinced me I was not cut out to be a mechanic. It was being so broke that if steam boats were ten cents a piece I could only tell people about the bargain that resulted in my learning how to install a light switch, and how to make sure the electricity was off.
Well, I cut out the broken piece of pipe, ate some breakfast with my dearest friend, wolfed some coffee and set out for the office via the hardware store looking like the morning had been spent wrestling hogs after a hard night of drinking. I picked up the need supplies, opened the office, got dependable Bill, a part time employee at the dealership, to hold down the fort, drove back to the house and made the repairs.
Then it was back to the office where I took care of customers who seemed shocked to see a homeless hog wrestler behind the counter. Then came one more trip to the house to turn on the water and check for leaks.
Meanwhile, back at the office, the rest of the day was spent fixing trailers and similar activity. So, now it is time to fill in the hole, fix the cooler, pick up tools, get a much needed shower, and squeeze out at least one hour for the new book.
Long ago I learned on days like this you can either laugh or cry. I also have learned along the way that the choice is often ours.