Maybe Next Year I’ll Remember

I keep making the same mistake, every year, when the weather gets really cold. I sort of remembered a funny quote about that (the mistakes, not the cold), but when I tried to look up “funny quotes about mistakes,” I had a harder time than I thought I would, finding what I wanted. Most sites had two or three amusing quotes, followed by serious quotes about how “making a wrong decision the first time is a mistake, the second time, it’s a choice,” and that sort of thing. I found a few that resonate with me.

Never say, “oops.” Always say, “Ah, interesting.” –Anon

Experience enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.–Franklin P. Jones

To err is human, but when the eraser wears out ahead of the pencil, you’re overdoing it.–Josh Jenkins

These two are my favorites, and, sadly, are unattributed. Maybe they’re also by our friend “Anon.”

I never make the same mistake twice. I make it five or six times, you know, just to be sure.

I have been repeating the same mistakes in life for so long now I may as well call them traditions.

My most recent cold-weather “tradition” goes like this:

The first year, I really was surprised when it happened.

I worked quite a while, and perfected this arrangement after a few summers. I got this four-spigot faucet adapter. It screws onto the back-of-the-house outdoor faucet. Each little spigot has it’s own on/off switch: little black knob vertical means it’s open, little black knob horizontal means it’s closed. That round, yellow and green thing is a timer. That switch stays open all the time. When I turn the timer to a specific amount of time, the timer lets the water flow. The hose at the other side of the timer winds from the faucet to the top of the back steps, down across the back patio, and into a cute little ladybug sprinkler in the herb garden. The sprinkler system doesn’t hit there, so I can easily get those herbs watered during the hot summer months. The next little spigot used to have one of those coiled hoses, and I kept it open all the time, because it had a spray nozzle on the end. When I wasn’t spraying water on the patio plants, that nozzle kept water from leaking out. The next little spigot (with the orange-ended hose screwed on) stayed off most of the time. It has one of those expanding hoses that grows and grows and grows when the water’s turned on. When the water’s turned off, I spray the rest of the water out and the hose shrinks and shrinks to its original size, and I curl it up in a big basket by the faucet. So, I open and close that knob when I need it. The fourth spigot is empty; I don’t need it.

A few years ago, I went out to the back yard, after a little spell of really cold weather, and discovered water gushing from the back faucet. The freezing temperatures had caused the water, however small amount there was in those little spigot ends, to freeze and expand, and, ka-bam, it blew that faucet adapter right off. It also busted open the timer. And the sprayer on the coiled hose. So, hmm. Those things had to be replaced.

And the next year, I’d completely forgotten what had happened the previous winter, and everything blew apart again. The next year, I did remember, and turned all the little knobs, so there wasn’t any water in those hoses. But I neglected to turn off the water faucet itself. So, the four-spigot adapter again broke and popped off.

So this year, when the weather forecast said “BRRRRRRR. Really Cold!” I thought, “Oh, I need to go out and turn the water off. And maybe take the adapter off, too.”

You may have heard or read about The Doorway Effect, that when we walk through a doorway, we often forget what we’d been thinking about, as we enter a different room. Sad to say, after I thought about the freezing weather and the faucet, I walked through a door. Several doors, actually. So, a couple of days later, I was taking the trash out, and I walked around through the back yard instead of through the garage in the front, as I usually do. (It was still pretty cold, and that’s a little bit shorter walk.) I heard water gushing. The main faucet was blasting away, and the organized watering apparatus was, as you can see in the photo above, lying, broken, on the grass. I turned off the water and sighed. Oh, dear, not again.

I did unscrew the coiled hose a couple of days later, and screwed it onto the main faucet. When I turned the water on, about five spouts of water came springing out of the coils, to the degree that, when I squeezed the trigger of the sprayer, not one drop came out.

So, here we are again. I bought a new coiled hose. But, I’ll have to replace the four-spigot adapter and almost surely the timer. I guess I won’t positively know until I can get everything all put together again. But previous experience tells me that it’s not going to be working.

 My enemies, don’t be glad
    because of my troubles!
I may have fallen,
    but I will get up;
I may be sitting in the dark,
    but the Lord is my light.

Micah 7:8 (Contemporary English Version (CEV)


The challenge is that I really can’t shut everything down at the beginning of winter and wait until spring. Several of the patio plants don’t go dormant or die back. They still need to be watered; we’ve had some drizzly days, but not much really serious rainfall. Several things need to be watered. Regularly.

We’ve fallen, but we will get up! Even if it takes a little sitting in the dark. And, EEK (in a good way)!  In the side yard, I saw daffodil leaves, and stems with buds. It’s not that I want spring to hurry up. Spring is just followed by a beastly summer, which lasts until October. But it is hard to not feel a little anticipation when daffodils are about to make their move.

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