Flour and Flowers | A Kitchen and Garden Blog

Epic Battle of the Hoses, or, Lessons I Learned In The Garden Today

1. Patience may be a virtue, but it’s one I’m a bit low on.  When the frustration starts, it tends to keep building until I’m headed well into a mini-meltdown.  Or not so mini.

2. Having a handy husband can be the only thing that stands between me and said min-meltdown.  Thank goodness.

3. Hose manufacturers use high quality materials.  Nozzle and splitter manufacturers use incredibly low quality materials.  These things are meant to live together.  Permanently.  As in, if you put a nozzle on a hose on a splitter, you are never ever meant to take them apart again.

4. Don’t buy cheap things, especially tools or hose attachments. You’ll pay more in the end when you have to replace every piece three times (or seven times, or a million times) as often.

5. Even if you buy expensive hose attachments, add an extra brass fitting in between hose parts so that when they do inevitably get stuck together in what seems like a life-long relationship, you will have something wide and brass to grab onto with the vice grips when you heartlessly pry them apart.  The attachment will be permanently affixed to this brass fitting, but the fitting and the hose will not be.  This will hopefully save you from having to sacrifice hose attachments or splitters during this process.

Ultimately, it’s all worth it when I get to come home to this:

The last time I told a story, it was fairly hilarious.  In fact, I was laughing while the Infamous Beet Incident took place, and I kept laughing as I wrote it all down.  In case you can’t tell from my list, I was not laughing yesterday.  I was on the verge of tears as I struggled to salvage my watering system.  It wasn’t until this morning when I called my dad (Happy Father’s Day, daddy.  Thank you for teaching me that almost anything can be done if you try hard enough, and showing me enough of the world so I married someone almost as handy as you.) and tried to tell him the story that I finally saw the humor in it all.

Picture this:

A steel table, painted red, with plywood surface; a gigantic blue vice screwed to one corner; vice grips, tongue & groove plyers, a wrench the length of my arm, needle nose plyers, a 15″ flat-head screwdriver, a hacksaw, a second hacksaw blade (detached), WD-40, and penetrating oil, strewn around the surface of the table and the ground around it; one cheap bright green hose end firmly attached to a cheap plastic 4-hose splitter, which is also attached to an expensive black hose with massive brass fitting; the other end of the black hose lying on the ground, soaked in penetrating oil; another nice hose coiled loosely on the ground with a cheap arm sprayer attached to one end, battered and cracked; and finally me, sitting in a chair with my head in my hands, watching on the verge of complete collapse while my amazing husband tries for the fiftieth time to get these dratted parts apart.

It all started with the hose in the front yard.  A month or so ago, I tried to take off the sprayer attachment.  It was stuck.  I tried harder.  All I managed to do was loosen and crush part of it enough that when I turned it on, it sprayed out of the handle instead of the nozzle.  Very helpful.  I already knew that the nose in the back was permanently attached to its sprayer, but I fortunately stopped trying to separate the two just shy of total destruction.  Yesterday, I got fed up with the cheap “metal” hose splitter because the individual shut-offs didn’t actually shut off (remember what I said about buying cheap things?).  So we went to Lowe’s and got a slightly less cheap splitter that’s made of brass and looks like all the parts actually function.  We got home, and I set myself to what I thought was going to be the simple task of moving three hoses from one splitter to another.  Yeah. Right.

I got one hose off just fine.  The other two wouldn’t budge.  I’m handy, but when things don’t work as planned, I call in Hubby.  Hubby took a turn trying to unhook these hoses, and went for the wrench.  About a minute later, we discovered that the hoses were turning – but so was the insert they were screwed onto.  Turns out, the cheap hose splitter was made in pieces, and the brass hose fitting grabbed the screw-on insert harder than that insert grabbed the splitter head.  Awesome.  So now we have two hoses free-spinning on an attachment that doesn’t work, and we have two hose attachments that won’t come off, and I’m thinking I’m headed out for three new hoses and three new sprayers and yeah, great, I learned my lesson about buying cheap crap, but why did that lesson have to require a three-hose-three-sprayer sacrifice?  Can you hear the meltdown coming?

I took a break rather than start bawling or yelling.  I went and pruned the tomato monsters.  (They needed it. Again.  These tomato plants are insane.)  I figured when I gave up, Calin would give up too and go back to the incredibly productive other things he had on the docket for the day.  Nope, my dedicated hubby was not about to leave my entire yard in a state of disrepair.  He kept at it, and that’s when the tool count started to go up.  By the time I was done with the tomatoes, he had the splitter in the vice and was sawing parts off.

I won’t give you a blow by blow of the process, but let’s just say that it took every one of those tools I listed, but he got every single one of the stuck parts off.  We sacrificed the already-dead hose attachment, and the cheap “metal” splitter, but all hoses came through the skirmish (squirmish!) alive, and the new splitter worked perfectly.  Oy.  It was a serious pain in the rear, and we didn’t get a single other thing done all day, but in the end, it all worked out.  And I got to tell people that I spent the day battling hoses.

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