The last soccer game of the spring season. En route Gnat was rather uninspired. She had a minor stomach ache from supper, and was not in the mood to run around.

“You’re the Storm team,” I said. “That’s the most powerful form of weather.”

“There’s tornados,” she muttered.

Well, yes. There’s tornados.

“And there’s hurricanes.”

True. But they could be considered storms.

“But there are other teams named Tornados. And Hurricanes. We’re just a Storm.”

I wanted to say: you’re right. Why should you get stuck with a generic term for dramatic meteorological activity, and everyone else gets brand names? I must complain on behalf of my child, to someone! Or not. Her stomach was fine by the time she took the field, and she did a good job; got the ball all the way down field, past defenders, bruising her way through without fear. She’s not a natural athlete by any definition, and this is good for her confidence. Me, I hated gym class in all its manifestations. When you’re a tubby kid, gym class meant barking instructors – my first gym teacher was, believe or not, named Mister Dick – and terrors like THE POLE. You were expected to shinny up THE POLE and touch the ceiling. I can still smell the burned skin on my palms from sliding down that lacquered hell-stick. Then came gymnastics, which I was convinced was a plot to make me break my neck, and Battleball, which gave the big mean grinny haw-haw proto-jocks and excuse to nail you in the yarbles with the Stones of Voit. That was just grade school. Then came junior high, and the mortification of going to the store with your mom to buy a jock strap, and the further horror of the common shower. But junior high had a large population, and the saints delivered unto us a kid who was all blubber whose apostrophe-sized weenus would have made an echo in a thimble, and I avoided further scorn. I learned the gentle art of goldbricking, and aside from the inevitability of the dreaded 600 yard dash, I relaxed a bit.

Gnat has no such inhibitions – yet – and when she does have gym class anxiety, I’ll be there to assure her that it’s okay. This year I have my 30th high school reunion. Hope some of the old jocks show up, florid and paunchy. Five minutes in the parking lot with a tire iron, that’s all I ask.

Just kidding. Anyway, she did great, and afterwards there was “pizza” – it was Domino’s, which is not pizza at all but a smashed greasy ketchup-smeared sofa cushion – and she was proud of her performance and her medal. As was I.

See, there’s this pipe. It goes from the side pond to the main spillway. Water comes from the main tank, goes into the side pond, exits through the pipe, and the level of water has the proper level. Unless of course the pipe clogs. With leaves. Or twigs. Or insect hairs. But mostly leaves. When they designed this thing, they did not factor in the trees that stand over the entire project. So the leaves jam up against the exit pipe and back up the water in the side pond, spilling over the sides, and emptying out the water supply. G. Burly put a filter over the exit pipe, but it didn’t stop the leaves from accumulating by the egress point. He suggested putting a screen over the pond itself. I noted that putting a screen over the pond was not a viable aesthetic option.

Today I backed up again. I ran a plumbing snake through it; came out clean. Floated a few pieces of mulch through the pipe -  no impediments. It’s likely that the flow of water into the side pond simply exceeds the ability of the pipe to drain the volume fast enough. Seems like a rather rookie-type mistake. Ah well: learn by doing! Glad I could help you all get one under your belt, guys!

I should note that I got the bill today. Did he adjust the price, you ask?

Why, yes.

He increased it by three thousand dollars.

One thousand dollars were added for “sod.” And that amount is considered past due.


SOD? As in grass?

THERE’S NO GRASS. There’s dirt, but if I’m being charged to replace the dirt they dug up, we will have an interesting conversation. The bill for Sod was added on 4/11, which was the date G. Burly showed up to restart repairs. (There’s a reason I haven’t called him Burly, Bringer of Sod – he didn’t come laden with turf, then or since.) The sod charges, I should note, are listed in a box that says “31-60 days past due.”

That’s correct: he considers me in arrears for sod I did not get for a project that does not work.

Did he take off the amount I paid to the electricians, after he refused to honor their bill, then told me would, then didn’t, resulting in a lien? He did not. And this will result in an interesting conversation. We are entering End Game here.

Busy day – and little to say, aside from that. Still undecided on the Screed. When I do put it up, I am sure a few will insist my comments are hypocritical because I have not denounced Ann Coulter. Well, A) I’m not in the Daily Outrage business anymore, and leave the toting of rhetorical sins to others with more energy and time; B) I think Mr. Hewitt said it all succinctly, and C) I hereby denounce her statement, which was heartless and cruel. It was not, however, beneath contempt. Contempt is just about right.

And I don’t care if she said something else about something else and was right on the money. Everyone writes something that makes them say oooh, I shouldn’t. Most people take it out. Some people hope it makes it into the press kit.

Anyway, so long, and thanks for all the sod! See you tomorrow.



c. j lileks. email may be sent to first name at last name dot com.