There Might Be Hope?

I recently helped John replace some PVC pipe that carries water from one of our ponds to the sprinkling system we use on our lawn.  He had unearthed the pipe, cut out the damaged section, and readied the replacement piece.  Since the part to be replaced was long and had a corner section on one end, he asked me if I could help.  I really didn’t want any part of this project as these situations rarely go well, but my role seemed simple enough.  He would coat the pipe with that purple adhesive, and I would guide the two ends together to the exact spot he had marked on the end of the pipe still in the ground while he held up the other end and completed the same process once I was finished.  I crossed my fingers and hoped this time might be different.

As I lined up the two ends, he barked some last minute instructions, “Make sure you don’t push the new pipe past that mark or this corner won’t line up, and make sure you don’t get any dirt on either pipe.”  The last command was the one that probably jinxed me because I involuntarily lifted the two pieces of pipe higher to make sure they didn’t come in contact with any soil.  This caused the alignment of the pipes to be slightly skewed.  I didn’t have to worry about going past the mark because I barely got the pieces connected before they were set like concrete.  No matter how hard I pushed, the pipe wouldn’t slide any further.

“Keep pushing,” John yelled.

“I can’t get it to slide any more,” I replied.  When John saw how far from his mark the pipe had stopped he asked why I didn’t push the pipe together any more than I had.  I tersely replied that obviously the alignment must have been less than perfect, and if he wanted it done to his satisfaction he probably should have been the one on that end of the pipe.  His red face and taut neck veins indicated he had much more to say on the subject, but I’m sure my response and body language left no doubt that any additional remarks were better left unsaid.  He swallowed hard and said, “I guess time will tell whether or not the pipe is sealed.”  I thought to myself how fortunate it was that he was retired so he would have time to redo the project if a leak developed.  Even though things didn’t go completely according to plan, we managed to avoid what would have been a serious fight in the early years of our marriage.

The next morning as I left for work I saw that he had the sprinklers going on that side of the house.  I asked him if the new section of pipe was leaking, and he said it appeared to be working fine and then added an off-color remark about my ability to lay pipe.  And I was just starting to think there might be some hope for him!!

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