Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Just Another Suburban Nightmare
Despite my passionate hatred of suburbia and all things associated with it, I will grudgingly admit that at one time it was a good idea before things got out of hand. I am old enough to remember the numerous shanty-like dwellings all too common in the South during the 1960’s which had the desperate look of something from a Third-world country. Please excuse my admittedly socialistic tendencies, impinging on purely capitalistic motives, but during those years suburban housing developments of relatively low-priced homes did much to foster a sense of community and responsibility.
While I call it a “neighborhood” in the old sense of the word, I largely grew up in a subdivision. Made up of modest homes where families were raised and people actually knew the person living down the street. It also boasted the now strange idea of having things like stores and even schools within easy walking distance.
Now, as I have written about ad nauseam, things have changed. Up until the concept largely self-destructed under the weight of its unsustainably, houses were thought of as investments. You bought a “starter home” and after it increased in value, you sold it and bought an even bigger house. With everyone desperate to not only to move up the social-economic ladder in terms of showing off an increasingly affluent lifestyle but attempting to ensure their retirement by buying as large as house as possible then cashing in on the value. This strange and greedy mutation of the American Dream eventually created the modern concept of the subdivision and the term “McMansion.”
For your average suburbanite the next house had to be further out in the country away from the riff-raff and other social malcontents that they invariably had to spend more money on gas just to return and work amongst these same people most days of the week. These suburbanites also wanted larger kitchens for more assorted fancy and overpriced food processing gizmos so they could look like culinary experts when in actuality the overworked microwave was the center of most food preparation. And of course, my favorite bugaboo, elaborate and overpriced McMansions always come with yards that require countless hours and money for even basic upkeep. This brings me to my latest clash over my resistance to this modern serfdom.
While my current house does not quite meet the McMansion standards, it is far more ostentatious then any house I lived in as a kid. In an effort of full disclosure my wife and I were required to purchase a bigger home to meet the prerequisites needed for the adoption of my daughter, baby Darth Wiggles. At the time, I was exceedingly naïve about the degree of commitment required to keep the beautifully landscaped yards we purchased up to standards.
The previous owners made their living from an in-home business and for them it was simple, they could just step outside when they had free time. Since I even now work complicated shifts and still do not own all the extravagant and upscale lawn tools some things simply slip my attention, not that I have ever based my existence on how my lawn looked. The one thing that I sort of thought was cool was the automatic lawn sprinkler system complete with its own electrically powered pump that drew water from our own well.
Now the sprinkler heads are a pain, at the beginning of warm weather each year I always had to replace several non-functioning heads and while not budgets killers by themselves, throw four or five in a Lowes shopping basket and they start to add up. This does not include the three larger type sprinkler heads used in the backyard my son, Darth Spoilboy, has ran over at times resulting in an artificial geyser shooting thirty-feet into the sky showering everything nearby until I turned it off. Those bad boys are twenty bucks a pop. At least the pump was dependable and something I could always rely on so I could meet the very minimum of lawn care standards for the subdivision, not anymore.
Even before the recent passing of my father-in-law I had noticed something slightly off about the yard as I drove home early in the morning after getting off work. The grass was looking even more sickly than usual but since I largely do not give a rat’s ass what my neighbors think of me, or my yard, I just conveniently forgot about the whole thing. It was not until my wife sufficiently increased the level of nagging to the point of it being painful that I finally looked into the problem.
Concluding this long story, I have discovered that the submersible pump supplying well water for the sprinklers has burned up. The first clue was the fact that I could not reset the 20 amp breaker after that it was a simple trouble shooting procedure using my trusty multimeter, a device that measures voltage, amperage, and resistance on electrical equipment.
At the very least, I am looking at five-hundred dollars just to replace the pump by myself. Since I am lazy and feel this lawn care crap is egotistical bullshit I looked into having it all done by a local landscaping company. The attractive lady in charge of giving such estimates brightly smiled at me saying they could have me up and running for the paltry sum of fourteen hundred dollars. With her sitting at her desk and me standing at least I got to see a whooping amount of her very nice cleavage before I got dizzy thinking about all that money flying away.
Because of the defunct pump and the lack of any significant rain in two months my yard is a small sample of the Mojave Desert surrounded by pretentious recreations of yards surrounding old fashioned English manor homes. Even with the desert-like appearance I am serious thinking about waiting until next spring before I do anything. Maybe I can use this to talk Dragonwife into moving out into the country where there is some real distance between houses, Hell the neighbors might even help on this one just to get rid of me.