I stumbled out my front door yesterday morning with a mug of tea and a slight hangover from the previous night’s book launch party. I was already ten minutes late for the day job, so when I looked up to see a geyser in my front yard, it didn’t seem like a good sign.
I stared at it for awhile, wondering if it was a new decorative water feature one of the housemates had installed. After a few minutes of that, I set my mug and keys down and shuffled into the garage to find the control box for the sprinkler system.
Using my vast knowledge of lawn maintenance and irrigation, I attempted to troubleshoot the problem. By that, I mean I punched buttons at random and cursed loudly. When that had no noticeable effect, I walked back out to the wayward sprinkler-head and stomped on it.
It seemed like a good idea at the time.
Within seconds, I looked like the losing competitor in a wet t-shirt contest. The geyser continued to spray, now angled toward my car.
Discouraged, I walked inside where both of my twenty-something male housemates were eating breakfast.
“Anyone know anything about irrigation systems?” I asked.
They both turned and took in my bedraggled appearance and the puddle I was making on the dining room floor.
“I know they aren’t meant for showering,” one of them offered helpfully.
Once they’d finished laughing at me, they followed me outside and stared at the geyser. One of them walked into the garage and began punching buttons on the sprinkler system controls, while the other walked up to the spouting sprinkler and stomped on it.
Unsurprisingly, he stepped away drenched.
“I could have told you that wouldn’t work,” I offered.
“But you chose not to tell me?”
“I thought it was worth another shot.”
Meanwhile, the other housemate yelled to us from inside the garage. “Is it off yet?”
“No,” we chorused.
He punched a few more buttons, then ambled around the house where we were studying the geyser. He looked at it for a minute, then moved toward it. “Maybe we could just stomp it back into place—”
But of course, we were too late. All three of us stood there dripping in the driveway as the sprinkler continued to jet toward the heavens.
“I guess I could call the landscaper who installed it,” I said.
So that’s what I did, and as luck would have it, he was working on another job just a couple miles away. Ten minutes later, he pulled up and got out of his truck.
“Sprinkler’s broken,” I called as he walked up the driveway.
He looked at the three of us standing there in a puddle beside the geyser. “So you decided to play in it?”
“We thought stomping on the sprinkler-head might help,” I offered.
“Replacing it might be a better idea,” he said. “And shutting off the water.”
So he proceeded to do those things while my housemates and I retreated into the house and changed clothes. My hair was still wet and my eye makeup smeared when I marched into the office a full hour late.
My boss looked at my appearance and grinned. “Good time at the book launch party?”
“Yes,” I muttered. “The glamour never ends for romance authors.”