Water Hook Up

Yesterday, I was talking to my son on the phone.  "Can you guess what that noise is?" I asked.

"No.  I give up."

"It's the sound of me mopping the floor."

"Wow, Mom!  I didn't know we even have a mop!  Good for you."

But we do have a mop, and I used it. I filled up the bucket with warm water and put vinegar and a tiny bit of dish soap in there, and swished everything around on the floor for a bit (what's the deal with mopping, anyway?  Does it seem vastly ineffective and weird to anyone else?), and when I wasn't talking to R. I was listening to loud music.  I tried not to walk on the floor, but that only lasted for about 5 minutes, so there are a few insignificant muddy footprints here and there.  Overall, though, it's a vast improvement.

It had gotten so sticky everywhere in my house, as if a toddler lives here, and the reason for that is bees.  Spring is the time for my bees to start building up their population so that there are thousands of bee women by the time the big honey flow happens.  They need to put lots of people I mean bees on the job of pollinating and gathering nectar.  But right now there isn't a lot to eat out in the wild, so I make sugar water, which involves spilling and stickiness everywhere.  (I know.  I am my own toddler.)  A few bees have figured it out and hang around inside to clean up -- like having my own, six-legged house elves.  But their tiny little tongues pale in comparison to the vast stickiness at hand, so I carry them back outside to be with their people.  I mean bees.

The other day, I was going through my hives, which are on an upstairs deck.  I was wearing my bee suit and holding a clipboard, because where there are bees, there's data, and where there's data, there should be clipboards.   In the midst of all this, I heard a voice calling my name, and it wasn't even in my head, it was out in the world.  And there was a man walking up the driveway, about 10 steps in, calling out, "Hello?  Betsy?  If I come closer, will I get stung? I need to turn on your outdoor faucet."

He's one of the construction people working on replacing our water line, which, by the way, I'm super excited about because making coffee with tonic water has gotten old over the years.

"No, the bees won't bother you," I say, but he stands motionless, the way you were taught in third grade to behave when there are stinging insects around, so I unzip my veil and go downstairs to meet him.

A few bees got caught in the folds of the veil, so they came with me.  I greeted him near the door, me and half a dozen disoriented honeybees.  To my credit, I wasn't carrying the clipboard.

He stood way back, and said, "Maybe I could use the hose on the other side of the house?"

I wish I could have said yes, because there is a hose over there, but this thing happened that I don't really want to explain to him.  I'm reluctant to even get into it here, because this is already a post about nothing much, but anyway.... One night this winter, I woke up and thought, jeez, it's cold.  I knew that because I sleep with the door and window wide open, and there was frost inside everywhere.  I remembered that a hose was still connected to an outdoor spigot, so I crept outside in the cold darkness to remove it, but it was stuck.  Maybe it was frozen, or maybe misthreaded, or maybe it was just too dark and middle-of-the-night-ish for me to be successful.  I knew that if I didn't do something right then, I'd forget about it until the pipes burst, so I went inside, got some pruning shears, and cut off the hose.  Right?  It might seem crazy, but isn't that what we do?  We travel through this life trying our damnedest to minimize loss where we can, and meet it head on with grace and kindness where we can't.  The loss of a hose seemed bearable.

"I think it's best if you use this one," I replied.

The construction guy was still keeping his distance, and he's looking at me like I'm a freak and a half, I guess because of the bee suit.  (But I have to say, because it's the women's bee suit, it does have the cute embroidered bee on the ass.  Grr.)  The bees were pretty occupied with something sticky they found on my suit; they were happily enjoying a ride-along and Construction Guy had nothing to worry about, but he didn't know that I guess.

The faucet is situated just above a gap in the porch that provides access to the crawl space -- it's kind of a weird 2' x 3' opening that things fall into.  I handed him a hose, and after examining it, he said there was a missing gasket, and water would probably drip into the crawl space when he turned it on.

"That's fine," I said.  "Oh wait.  Let me get my shoes out of there first."  Because, and I didn't explain this to him, but the shoes had fallen in a couple of weeks ago, and I was just happy to know where they were.  (I know.  You're thinking, "wow, I wonder how her house got so sticky, with all this thoughtfulness going on?")

So I fished out the shoes, some yellow raingear, and a bicycle pump while he looked on, aghast.  I thought it made me look pretty solid, actually -- all that useful stuff, and I knew right where it was.  But he suggested that I do the hose myself, and walked away.  I would say he backed away slowly, but he didn't.  Just normal walking down the driveway.  I know what he's thinking, he's thinking I'm sketchy, but I'm so on the up and up you wouldn't even believe it.

I'm pretty sure he grouped me into the same category as the sweet young adult who walks around our neighborhood barefoot, playing the ukulele, with a homemade basket strapped to her back.  But that's so not the case.


  1. I need bees. I got all the rest of that stuff covered. As in- yeah, me too. And may I add that I think I am seeing way more bees this spring than I did last? I am hoping this is true.

    1. Yes! You do need bees! Because they're so interesting. And of course, they're more self-reliant than chickens.

  2. I would have used the hose. I would have followed you back and looked at the bees. I would have brought tea and cookies and waited until your were through and we could chat.

    1. Excellent! Chocolate chip, if it ever comes up. :-)

  3. *snork* Far exceeded the three-chortle mark on this one :)

  4. Makes me wish I weren't allergic to bees.

    1. Oh, bummer. Luckily, you can still eat honey!

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  9. Ack! having problems with commenting today, bear with me ...

    This a hilarious post, Betsy! I especially liked the line "I am my own toddler" ... aren't we all, really? I am not the sticky-leaving toddler, but I am the tear-around-then-crash toddler, and the start-stuff-then-drop-it-in-the-middle toddler, and a few others, come to think of it.

    And I need to mop my floor. Thanks for the reminder, and the smiles!

    1. Jennio, thanks for reading! I'm that start "stuff then drop it in the middle" toddler too. I think, had I gone to Montessori pre-school, I would be a whole different person!

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  11. Wow, Bets! I KNOW. I wrapped my spigot (is that the word for the faucet you screw the hose into?) with a pair of men's white underwear( tighty-whiteys, I think they're called) and secured them with hair elastics. So it wouldn't freeze, right? Ingenious, I'd say.

    Now you're wondering-why did she have a pair of men's underwear? I have no earthly idea but there they were. As for the hair elastics, they're everywhere and so handy for so many things.

    Women on their own. It's a genre.

    Proud of ourselves,

    Beth the handy person.

    PS. Your bees are lucky to live beside you. The suit is a fashion statement, BTW. Especially the ass bee.


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