Graywater saga – part 4

It was Charlie and Gracie from next door.  Evidently Bob had called their house from wherever he was, and asked them to come over and help lift whatever I needed moved.  I explained the situation to them and thanked them for coming over, but said that I really thought we’d need more muscle (i.e. Bob) to move those tomatoes.  I told them they could go on home, and I’d call them when Bob got there.

They left and the phone rang.  It was Mr. Boerman, returning my call.  Like his wife, he was extremely kind.  I had liked her immediately, and I liked him, too.  I also felt horrible that I had already arranged for his competitor to come.  It was one of those sick-in-the-pit-of-your-stomach feelings.  Yuck.

“I understand from my wife that you called about a full tank that needs to be pumped.

“Yes, I did.  But right now, there is another pumping company on the way to my house.  I am very sorry that I retained them before you were able to return my call.  I apologize.  My plumber actually recommended you, but I gave it to pressure from another company.  I feel terrible, and I am sorry.

“So, you don’t need me to come?”

“No, sir.  I don’t. . . and I’m sorry.”

“OK, then.  Goodbye.”

I hung up, feeling like I had made a huge mistake and had mistreated a really nice lady and her husband.  I had given my business to a high-pressure jerk, and now I felt like the jerk.  Sigh.

But there was no time to lament, because just as I went back outside to do a few minor gardening tasks while waiting for the ACME pump guy to arrive, sure enough, the ACME pumper truck backed cautiously into our driveway.  A short, stocky guy who looked to be about 18 descended from the cab, with a cigarette dangling from his mouth.  Uh-oh, I thought.  This doesn’t look good.  Sliding out after him was a wispy-thin lady, also smoking, who appeared to be about 16.  My overriding thought was that I REALLY should’ve waited for Mr. Boerman to call back.  Minute by minute, I felt more and more guilty.  Ugh.

I walked over to the truck and introduced myself.  Young Mr. ACME (“YMA”) said he understood I had a problem, and I walked with him around to the side yard to show him the caps (still wet), with their coverings of very heavy tomato planters.

“That’s a thousand gallon tank,” said YMA, surveying the scene.

I wasn’t sure if that comment required a response on my part or not, so I just told Andrew to run next door to get Charlie and Gracie again, and told Mr. ACME that my big, strong neighbor was also on his way to help move the tomatoes.

YMA grabbed the far tomato barrel with both hands and rocked it back and forth a bit.  Then he crouched down, gripped the barrel firmly halfway up, grunted a bit, and rolled and lifted that puppy down off its perch.  If I had not seen him do it, I NEVER would have believed that any lone man could move that barrel – much less short, portly YMA!  I was truly impressed, and my respect for YMA moved up a notch.

I said something about how amazed I was that he could lift that, and he said nothing; just sized up the second barrel and bent down to attack it in like fashion.  Before he could grunt, however, I noticed an R&H Plumbing truck pulling into the Casa de Luz parking lot next door. Now, I am fairly familiar with the various gentlemen who work for R&H Plumbing.  They are all polite fellows, and they seem to do good work, but I will confess that – purely from their appearances – one could easily classify them as “good ‘ole boys.”  They just have that “good ‘ole boy” look about them.  I guess you either know what that looks like or you don’t, so I won’t spend any more keystrokes trying to explain it.

Two things were odd about the man who hopped out of the R&H Plumbing truck:  1)  I had never seen him before in my life, and 2) with his ponytail and round wire-rimmed glasses, he looked much more like a leftist college professor than a plumber.  However, if there’s one lesson I have thoroughly learned, it is not to judge a book by its cover.

(to be continued. . . )


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