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Thursday, September 26, 2002

What have I broken lately? Somehow the oscillating sprinkler (connected to the leaky hose) no longer oscillates. It's frozen in one position, which isn't the worst that could happen, but it does make me have to change its location more often. The penalty for not moving a sprinkler that's pointing at one spot is minor flooding, which can't be good for the tender vegetation.

But hey! That's not all! I also have to turn it on and off more often, putting wear and tear on the faucet handle. So it wasn't any big surprise when the handle came off in my hand this afternoon. What was a surprise was that I was able to get it back on, and tighten it so it wouldn't come loose again. Part of the honeysuckle vine had got caught in the faucet, and I ended up pulling all the vine away from it. Now I have a bare spot, but at least I can turn the handle.

I was thinking I needed to buy a new sprinkler, but I don't know. The advantage of having a fixed spray is that it's easier to place and direct. Before, I was turning it on and off and moving it an inch one way or another, or changing the angle ever-so-slightly, just to get it to sprinkle what I wanted it to sprinkle. Now I can just point and shoot, and I can even sneak up on it from behind and move it without getting soaked.

Not that I can do any watering without getting soaked. It never fails that at some point in the process I'm standing in a place where water is coming down. Plus, I have to walk through the muddy yard so often that I keep tracking dirt on the formerly white carpet. Still, I'm satisfied with the way the yard is starting to look, after a summer of neglect. A little less brown, a little more green. A little, not a lot.

So I've managed to talk myself out of buying a new hose to replace the one that leaks, or a new sprinkler to replace the one that doesn't move the way it was designed to. I save a lot of money that way, settling for things that work not the way they're supposed to but just well enough.

I can look around the house and see a lamp that isn't quite right for the space, a printer that annoys me with its quirky ways, and a refrigerator that's too small and makes too much noise. I'm wearing Levi's that have holes in places that would be embarrassing, if I were more easily embarrassed. My mechanic keeps asking when I'm going to buy a new car.

The answer is: when I absolutely have to, when it's unavoidable, when I can't make do any more. Making do is my way of coping with the stress of making a decision. After I can't settle for the old, broken or bent one any more, then I'll steel myself for the experience of shopping for a new one, and figuring out what I have to give up to pay for it.

It's not a flawless system, but it works well enough for me, at least until I'm stranded on a deserted road, or forced to throw away all the food in the fridge. The trick is to stop settling and start acting the day before those things happen. Doing it the day after isn't nearly as convenient.

After a summer of watching Big Brother, a game that's all secrets and strategizing, it's kind of fun to slip back into Survivor mode. The intensity of the Big Brother experience is in the interrelationships of the people stuck in that house together for so long. The Survivor tribe members have it a little easier as far as getting away from each other, because they can wander around the island and find things to do by themselves.

But they have it a lot harder in terms of— well, surviving. They face physical challenges, dicey weather and a strange new environment, along with the need to sleep eight across in a cave full of bats. That can't be easy.

So far this business of the old tribe against the young tribe isn't going exactly the way I hoped it would.


Not even a fence can stop the wisteria from growing.

Suzanne and I went to lunch today. She came by and picked me up, which is pretty much the only way I get out of the house during the day. We went to a vegetarian café in Sebastopol and talked for the first time in awhile. We try to get together like that at least once a month, but the summer has been such a busy time that it's been far too long. It was good to get out, even better to spend an hour with my sister and catch up on what's happening in her life. I'm not sure what she gets out of it, but I'm glad she wants to do it once in awhile.

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