Before you go any further, please visit this site. It will keep you entertained for hours.
I now present you with another chapter from “These things Write Themselves” by NoGoodDaddy.
On Wednesday evening, my father called. He needed me to come over the following day to help him with the pond.
They have a fish pond in the backyard. It’s of a decent size and has an elaborately complicated filtration system. When they bought the house, the previous owner showed me how to prime the pump and take care of it. Basically, you keep it running and it does the rest. My mother being my mother wants to drain the pond, scrub the walls and generally make a disaster of things. I want no part of that. The system is self-cleaning and works well.
Anyhoo…he calls the other night because the main out-flow pipe isn’t flowing and the water had gotten murky. I needed to come over.
Background: when he’s not in NJ for work, my father works from home. And, either because he sometimes has a pole up his ass or because he hasn’t been doing it for long, he’s still playing the whole “Pretend I’m not here…I’m at work and am on work time” thing. So, if my mother needs anything during the day, she doesn’t ask him. Like, one day he needed to go to the store to buy honey. He had a sore throat and was making tea with honey. She asked him to pick up milk. He said he could not because he was on work time (while leaving the office to go to the supermarket) and could not buy milk.
So, when he needed me to come over to the house in the middle of the workday, we had an obvious subversion of the rules. Me? I could care less about work. I, however, suspected that they had been messing around in the pond and had broken it.
We head to their house and I go down to where the pumps live. I can see that the pump is straining and that the filter basket is all mucked up. My father had told me that the basket looked fine, so it’s quite clear that he doesn’t know what dirt looks like. I pry apart the filter and remove the hideously clogged basket. I notice funny-looking orange things in it. Wondering what they are, I head outside to the hose.
I tip over the basket and out pops a fish…a mangled fish. Looks like we’d found our culprit. I scoop out fish bits and get everything nice and clean. It seems that the covers for the 2 intake pipes had come off and a fishy had been sucked to its death. Poor fishy.
Now, I need to put the covers on the intake pipes. The pipe is in roughly the middle of the pond. My father is using a pole to hold it from underneath. I’m now supposed to reach across the pond and put the caps on the pipes. Keeping in mind that my arms are not 7 feet long, I wonder aloud just how in hell I’m supposed to do this. Then, both parents start getting pissy at me. I don’t know why they’re pissy, but they are. The only way I’m getting this thing put back together is by going in. This sets my father off like you would not believe. Mind you, it’s not him going into the ice-cold water. It’s me. I ask for a pair of shorts or a bathing suit. He storms off saying that there’s no way he’s going to talk me out of this so he just might as well do what I want.
Excuse me? As I said again…how the hell did you want me to do this otherwise?
He returns and I change into a fetching bathing suit.
Into the pond I go. He’s still seething. I mention that this would be a good time to either get a camera out or get my brother on the phone because he’d want the play by play when I fall and go swimming. The parents are still mad. Again, I don’t know why. Maybe because they still hate each other. Beats me.
The pond has a plastic/rubber bottom (it’s man-made). As you can imagine, it’s slick as all hell from algae and funk. This is going to be fun. I put one foot in and the cold water immediately freezes my leg. My foot touches the bottom and immediately flies out from under me. I manage to hold on to something and not fall completely in. I managed to grab some rocks and use them as footholds as I slowly walked across the bottom of the pond. You also have to note that during all of this, Shmuppie is yelling at me because I’m not supposed to be in the pond. My father is still seething, JewelrySlut is cracking up and the dogs are eating their own shit. It’s a lot of fun. I reach the middle and can reach the intake pipes. My father throws me the end caps and I screw them into place. Still freezing to death and trying not to fall, I gingerly make my way to the edge and crawl out.
Now it’s time to go under the house and prime the pump. This, like all things, is a process. You really need 2 people to do it. It involves a large garbage can, a few hoses, some valves and prayer.
Well, it took 3 tries to get the pump going. You have to do it by feel. There are 2 valves that need to be worked; one needs to slowly be closed while you open another. If you do one or the other too fast, you lose the prime and have to start over. Well, of course, while I’m doing this, my father is seething. Again, why he’s seething while I do all the work is way beyond me. I finally get the prime and finish up. I now smell like fish mung and want to go home.
Shmuppie had behaved this week so she got to sleep over at their house last night. That was good. We went home and I showered. I had to go down to the clubhouse with my Treasurer to find some old documents. I found all kinds of awesome shit; like the meeting minutes from the 70′s. I also learned that there was a guy who seems to have been board president for like 12 years. He’s a much better man than I am.
JewelrySlut and I got to go out to dinner last night. That was nice. We also hit the ABC store to stock up on booze. It seems everything had run out at once. We ended up buying 3 bottles of vodka and 3 bottles of rum. It’s hard to believe that we could need more rum considering that we have like 12 bottles, but we needed 3 more. We got a tankard of Gosling’s because it was ridiculously on sale, a bottle of Cruzan and some Bacardi Limon. Throw in the bottle of Ketel One (for martinis), a tank of vodka (for mixed drinks) and a Smirnoff lemon, and we came in just under the limit. Apparently, in NC, if you buy too much booze at once, you have to fill out paperwork. The guy explained it as having to do with bootlegging and NASCAR. I don’t know what to say, but the South is a strange place.
Well, that’s it for me. My NCAA pools have gone to shit and I have to go to NJ next week. While there, I get to attend a celebration of the partnership between RedCompany and HealthCareRelatedCompany. We’ve already celebrated a few times. The thought seems to be that if we throw a party every few months, the folks at HealthCareRelatedCompany won’t realize what a disaster this has been.
I need to go shave. The goatee is coming back. But, in order to not look like a total doofus this week, I let a full beard grow in until it was long enough that I felt the goatee could stand on its own. It’s time.