Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Weekend Woes

Memorial Day weekend was certainly memorable.

The wife had most of the weekend off from being on call. This is a fairly rare occurrence, so we like to take advantage of them when they come. Instead of going somewhere, though, we did something at home that the wife almost never gets to do: we gardened. Here we have this lovely back yard just bristling with potential for lush greenery and the wife is always at the hospital and never gets to enjoy it. Oh, sure, I have my outdoor projects, like digging up the root-bound roof drainage pipes and burying new ones, trying to get a bunch of ferns I ordered to grow along my trail through the woods, and, of course, there's always my compost heap, but as far as flowery things go that's her domain. So on Saturday she planted plants and weeded weeds and shifted our bucket-based squash plants to sunnier climes. While she was doing that, I was busy tilling up the bare patches in the back yard with a new tiller stick thing and then sewing grass seed. It was tough work, too. And despite the fact that I was the only one of us to put on sun screen, twice, I'm the guy who got the blazing red sunburn while she's barely pink. After I had my grass seed down and mixed with the soil, we tried out a new sprinkler

Toward the end of the day, I was down the back trail checking on my ferns when I heard the wife screaming at what sounded like our cat and dog to "Leave it!" At first I thought she was screaming at the dog to leave the cat alone, but then I heard her name drop the cat in her commands. I hoped it was merely a frog the animals were menacing, but suspected otherwise. Sure enough, it was another baby bunny. When I came upon the scene, the little guy was hopping through the yard while the dog was curiously sniffing it and the cat was looking on proudly from the sidelines. I picked the bunny up and carried it to the deck where I put it in a large empty planter pot where we could have a look at it. On the way there, though, I could feel something long and soft across my palm, beneath the bunny. It felt like a tail might, but rabbit tails are short and puffy. After donning some thick gloves, I picked it up out of the flower pot and turned it over for examination, where we discovered that the damned cat had either nearly gnawed off one of its back feet or the bunny had broken it running away. So much for them being lucky.

You know this doesn't end well for the bunny, right?

Afterward, tired and filthy and saddened by having to dispatch yet another one of God's creatures due to the efforts of my damned cat, we went inside to have a shower in the new bathroom. I was in first and had just finished lathering up when the water disappeared. I didn't know what had happened, at first, but soon became fearful that our well had run dry. We've not had much rain for over a week and the ground outside had been looking pretty cracked. Further contributing was our own use of water to irrigate our plants, which might have bordered on the excessive considering that I'd watered the grass twice. This seemed to be the case. Fortunately, the wife found a gallon of distilled water in the garage with which I was able to de-sud myself.

The thing that makes this even more tragic is that we knew there was a chance we might run out of water some time or some day. Half of my neighborhood has water trouble throughout much of the year because their wells have run permanently dry due to underwater sources finding easier flow patterns elsewhere. We'd never had any problems ourselves, but our own next door neighbors had to have a new well drilled a few months back because of a sudden dry up.

Not knowing how long it would take for the well to return, we opted to head to Wally World for some bottled water. Once on the road, we decided to delay the trip in favor of hitting our favorite frozen custard stand before it closed down, after which we opted to pop over to the wife's clinic office to pick up something she'd left there on Friday. Before we could get there, though, we came upon a police traffic check point. A sign before we reached the checkpoint indicated they were checking for seat belts. However, once we were actually stopped, they asked to see our license, registration and proof of insurance. The insurance proof was actually what they were looking for, as they told us they didn't really need the license or registration if we had the IP. Naturally, my wife's car was equipped with two expired forms of proof of insurance, but not our current up to date proof. And, because of this, they asked us to pull over and for me to hand over my license so they could write us a ticket. The officer explained that provided we actually had insurance and could give them proof by June 12, we would be free and clear and they could tear up the ticket. We offered to just motor on over to the wife's office and print such proof out for them, but they said they couldn't take it on site. No, they could only take our proof between the hours of midnight and 8 a.m.

Yes, you read that correctly: we could come by between midnight and 8 a.m. to provide proof of insurance because these were the hours during which the particular ticket-issuing officer worked. He warned us that if we didn't get it to him by June 12, a warrant would be issued for me and things would become complicated from there on. Put me right off my red raspberry frozen custard, it did. We again asked if we could simply go and print out the proof and come back in five minutes, but were turned down. Then, we went to the wife's office, printed it out and then drove back through the check point with it just to see what they would do.

"You were just through here, right?" a different officer asked us.

"Yeah," I replied. "We've got our proof of insurance now."

"We can't take that here, sir."

The wife was concerned that I was pissed off at her for not having the proper insurance proof, thus subjecting myself to possible future arrest. I wasn't. Practically the only time I ever have valid proof of insurance in my car is when it's time to renew my license plate, at which point I notice my POI has expired and have to print a new one.

By the time we went to Wal-Mart, bought our water and returned home, the well water had returned a bit, though it was cloudy and suspicious-looking, so we've opted to drink the bottled water for the past couple of days.

Monday evening, the skies opened up and the rain fell and didn't really stop until yesterday afternoon. I think the well has probably been restored, but we'll think twice before doing any lawn watering.

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