Changing Lanes: Getting down in the trenches
Being a devout do-it-yourselfer and jack of all trades, I rented a trencher and dug a ditch about 2 feet deep and put in gravel and a perforated drain pipe. I called it a “curtain drain,” but something was hiding behind the curtain.
The process might sound simple, but it was a lot of work and gave me a sense of fulfillment. Finally, I had finished a job that was long in the planning stages. I was sure it could not fail, and I finished it in a weekend. My muscles and back were sore, but it was done. Not bad for an old guy.
My good feeling lasted until our first heavy rain. I waited, confident my project solved the water problem. The water issue changed drastically, but not in a good way. The shallow trench created an express route for the water. Much of the torrent had been having a hard time getting through the sod, but, with the trencher and my help, water got underground and on the way to my basement faster and in more volume than ever before.
I never realized how permeable the ground was. Now, the quarter inch of water on the floor became an inch or so, when we got a heavy storm.
A contractor friend told me the best way to fix my problem was to dig a ditch deeper than the basement floor. I wished he had piped up a little sooner.
This time, I rented a mini excavator. The machine, on rubber tracks, has a reach far enough to dig 6 1/2 feet. At the same time, it provides a jarring roller coaster ride any amusement park would be proud to provide.
It was fun for the three days I ran the machine, but after a couple of hours, I found it to be bone-wrenching, as well, and less fun.
As much as I would rather not climb down into a trench deeper than I am tall, there are multiple reasons I had to get down there.
You can’t keep stuff from falling off the sides, into the bottom of a trench. Someone has to shovel that out. There is gravel to be spread and pipe to be connected and arranged. Emmy Lou did not volunteer.
I have often pondered the phrase “big boned.” The first time I heard it, I was in my teens and an aunt was trying to fix me up on a blind date. She said, “She’s big boned, but she’s got a great personality. You’ll love her.”
It brought to mind a horse; it was the only thing I could think of, right off the bat, that had big bones. Turns out, the phrase had more to do with human body shape.
I was relieved to find my blind date was not like a horse at all. She was feminine, but just a bit on the rotund side, rather than looking like or having any mannerisms in common with a horse.
I digress. Back to my trench. I found out I am not just a bit porky, but I am also big boned. My hips and shoulders didn’t fit properly into the 12-inch ditch. I had to awkwardly shovel and perform other chores sideways, with one arm, squeezed between two walls.
I thought of the “big-boned” girl I dated, all those years ago, while I was down there, realizing my own big boned characteristics.
I wondered how she would do, if she were in the ditch. If you truly want to know about your bone structure, climb down into a 12-inch trench and try handling a shovel. If it’s a tight fit but you can still get your hips side by side and both hands on the shovel, you aren’t big boned; you are something else, no (big) bones about it.
Comments or questions? Send an email to Changinglanesterry@gmail.com.