E-Mail From Uncle Bud (January 1998)

You may remember my uncle Bud from the November newsletter. He and my aunt Elaine now live in Jupiter, Florida in retired bliss, except for the occasional misfortune. I recently received this e-mail from him:

“I spent the whole day attempting to finish the gargantuan job of replacing a simple garden hose. You would think that because of my background of having been a master plumber in two states, hardware store owner, and possessing a tiny bit more general mechanical aptitude than the average guy, that replacing a garden hose would be as simple a job as cleaning out your ear with a Q-tip. Not so, bright eyes!

My old hose was beautiful. It was well on its’ way to becoming a family heirloom, being comprised of 75 feet of bright orange, and 75' of forest green, 5/8 inch plastic top grade True Value hose guaranteed not to kink, get stiff in the cold, leak, or fade in color unless subjected to a series of small nuclear blasts. These two hoses were of such a high quality that it was darn near a sin to actually hook them up to water. They should have really lived out their glory days in a glass case in the Garden Museum of History.

I became the owner of such an exquisite piece of American hosiery because it was once a monthly special feature in a True Value Advertisement. As a franchisee I was required to order them in for stock. A reality check convinced me that no one in my store's neighborhood would be able to afford such high-class items, and I was once again correct. I kept taking them home at night with me and returning them to the display window the next morning so no one would break into the store and steal them. Eventually I got tired of the daily chore, or forgot, or something, and they became a part of our home life.

They were of advanced age when we packed the 150 feet of slightly faded green & orange garden hose in the moving van for the trip to Florida, and the Jupiter sun has done its’ work on them now for the better part of 12 years. There have been occasional amputations of ruptured and spraying extremities, but nothing serious. Heck, they were almost brand new!

I found out, however, that nothing is forever. Eventually they were subjected to one too many periods of being accidentally left under pressure in temperatures exceeding that of melted glass. They have been officially retired now, and I am searching for a suitable glass display case to enshrine them in.

I bought a single 125' replacement hose yesterday. I unwrapped it to find that one of the outside coils covered a spot on an inside coil that had two large gashes in it. I brought it back to Wal-Mart to exchange it this morning. They only had one other 125' hose left and that had been taken out of its package, and was scuffed. No sale. The hoses at Home Depot were plentiful and colorful, however each selection I made was handicapped by being either too short a length, too large or too small a diameter, too expensive, or too thin. I finally settled on two handsome 50' lengths of yellow and black "Contractor's" hose that were on sale.

I had a startling opportunity to test out the lifetime guarantee policy after the hoses were painstakingly wound up on the hose reel this afternoon. It didn't leak, it GUSHED water! I changed hose washers, blue jeans, underwear, and shoes.

With the sun slowly sinking in the west (where else?) I made the pilgrimage back to our brand new Home Despot, obviously the largest one in the whole world, and after advising the 3rd manager of how bad my day was going, I had to carry the dumb hose a half mile to the service desk for a refund, took the elevated back to the garden department, and purchased a new hose.

Trying to ensure that there would be no repeat of the kind of despair I had already endured by purchasing yet another leaky hose, I spent the greater part of half hour to get a sales clerk to allow me to test the new hose before I checked out. I finally just grabbed a hose hanging on a stanchion in the garden department and hooked it up to my intended purchase, capped the end and turned it on. NO LEAK! Then I turned off the hose faucet before releasing the pressure from the capped end, and noted that the eye level hose vacuum breaker on the stanchion was defective when it issued out a spray to rival Niagara. I had my second dousing of the day, and a very surprised small gray haired lady holding some impatients also got a face-full as she walked by.

I dripped a trail of water all the way to the checkout stand. The new 100' of shiny black and yellow hose is now safely installed on my hose reel, it isn't twisted and it doesn't leak a drop.

One amazing thing was discovered however. The new 100' hose seems to be much longer than the old 150' of hose it replaces. Either they measure hoses differently now a-days, or the multiple and occasional amputations were far more frequent than I remembered. It doesn’t really matter. Now I can't find anything that needs watering.”
(Thanks, Uncle Bud)