Consider The Donkey [on Not So Flawed Wednesday]

What you can’t see are the barriers and signs on either side of the wet cement declaring, “Sidewalk Closed!” I took a break from work, came down the stairs and Kerri said, “Some a**hole just walked across the wet cement.”

When the waterline to the house broke, when the process of fixing it became complex, when the heavy machinery arrived and the crew size doubled, when the guys from the city arrived to observe and inspect, the first thing the big machinery did, before digging the very-deep-moat, was to break out the sidewalk. And then they broke out the sidewalk to the porch. And then they trenched. And then they drilled a hole through the foundation of the house. That’s when the new pipe was installed. Those guys worked into the night. They were stalwart and steady.

The next day dawned and we saw in the light of day the destruction the fix caused.

Our front yard looks like a giant gopher dug a tunnel from the house to the street. We’ve considered finding a giant inflatable gopher but rejected it as “over-the-top.” Sometimes we have standards. A giant gopher is a step too far. The theory beneath the inflatable gopher is sound: if you can’t do anything about it, lean into it. We put a round-a-bout sign in the backyard when it became apparent that our dog was a secret velodrome maker and nothing we could do would stop his capacity to carve circles. It helped that he almost always circles in the same direction so the sign makes some sense. To us.

“We’re those people,” Kerri said, hands on hips, surveying the front yard damage. The grass is gone. Straw and mud are our new normal. “We look like a stable,” she said.

“Maybe this is the moment to get that donkey you’ve always wanted,” I replied. She really does want a donkey but the timing of my suggestion must have been off. She huffed, gave me the evil eye, and went inside. I counted to ten before following. Sometimes my brilliant suggestions take a few moments to penetrate and it’s best if I’m absent during the revelation.

The footprints across the concrete was too much to bear. That little patch of temporary concrete was the only new and unblemished area of the front yard. It’s as if our giant sore thumb had a nice and newly polished nail. The cement-stepper made certain that the destruction was complete: blemish, blemish everywhere. Giant gopher, old (donkey-less) stable, with a touch of marred cement.

The new permanent cement will come in the spring. “We’ll put up better barriers,” I said.

“We’ll sit out there with big sticks and a bad attitude,” Kerri replied.

Our reputation is certain to grow. “We really are those people,” I smiled. The evil eye – twice in a few short minutes – wiped the grin off my face. “I think I’ll go back to work,” I said and headed up the stairs, saying, “Think about the donkey.” Sometimes it takes a few minutes and a little prompting for the brilliant penny to drop.

read Kerri’s blog post about WET CEMENT

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