It’s Not My, Uh, Fault

Guess which pic is my yard and which one is from the movie “San Andreas.” Although, I s’pose there is a certain charm to this rustic, open-pit landscaping. It could catch on.

I mean, honestly, we were due.

It was only a matter of time before we had an electrical issue. Everything else has gone out.

We had a gas leak, thanks to the not-quite-Mensa-material guy who installed our irrigation and hit the gas line. That was a fun evacuation, hustling the kids out of the house and camping in the car. BUT we did have dinner out so it wasn’t a total loss.

Then there was the startling discovery of a leaky water pipe that resulted in peekaboo walls in three rooms and weeks without the ability to do laundry or use a third of the house. 

The a/c waited to crap out until we were well into triple-digit temps. The heater — OF COURSE — went out late Christmas Eve one year. 

We’ve had myriad plumbing problems that ratcheted up into the four figures, everything from tree roots growing into pipes to years’ worth of things getting flushed down the toilet that should NOT have been, like underwear and toys. (We know it was you, No. 2!) 

Home ownership. Am I right?!

So it was only a matter of time before we had a catastrophic electrical problem since all the other utilities conked out already. And so it was on one ordinary-seeming day in August that half the power in the house flicked off. The fridges stopped humming. The computers blinked to black. 

My husband emerged from the office. “Did your computer go off?”


And yet, the lights were still on in the kitchen.  

We started poking around the house to see which clocks and lights and appliances stayed on.

I thought it was a good thing that only half of our home went dark.

“Oh, this is bad, this is bad,” Joe kept muttering.

Sure enough, it was — one of those rare occasions where he was actually right.

A fleet of trucks arrived to investigate the outage. The unfortunate discovery: a line from the alley bringing juice into the house was severed.

Until it could be fixed, a temporary, functioning electrical line protected by a fat, black rubber hose snaked over the fence and across the yard to our junction box. It’s been there for Thanksgiving, Christmas, a 75th birthday celebration. It’s almost as much of a landmark fixture as the massive, topless*, six-armed saguaro. Eight months later, though, we’re finally making some headway. We also have a super fun bonus addition to our backyard landscaping — a 4-foot-deep trench cutting through from one fence to the other that will house a new line.   

The Not-So-Grand Canyon has added a whole new difficulty level to home and pet ownership since one of our four-legged residents is in a full-length cast (broken leg) and is also a bit visually impaired. Naturally, she likes to amble right up to the edge of the trench to do her business, which has caused some angst. For me. 

But it’ll be fine — it’s a good thing the electrical work is underway since I’ve already checked and we can easily handle the amps required for the home defibrillator I now need. 

*Years ago, the saguaro’s top snapped off during some massive winds. The chunk was so heavy, we didn’t know how we’d ever get rid of it. Turns out, we needn’t have worried since the big dogs gnawed away at it until it was just the ribs. True story.

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