Mom Was Right Again

So, you know how Mom used to tell us to wear nice underwear “just in case”?  Well, this week I found out she was right.

It’s a long story.

You may recall that last week I whined about our drought.  Since June we’ve been doing the summer equivalent of Rick Mercer’s “Seven Day Forecast”.

The forecast has been promising cooler weather in the mid 20s (Celsius) and a chance of showers… but always five to seven days in the future.  So on Friday I was shocked to discover that there was a 40% chance of showers predicted on Saturday!  Mere hours away!

I dragged out our giant tarp and wrestled it across the bottom and up the sides of our 10′ deep, 60′ long (dry) dugout.  All our downspouts are routed to the dugout and we have a lot of roof area, so I hoped that even a little sprinkle might yield a few gallons of captured water.

Imagine my delight when it POURED for half an hour on Saturday and I got three feet of water in my tarp – about 5,000 gallons, enough to water the garden for the rest of the summer!  Hooray!


The tarp leaked.  And we don’t have any 5,000-gallon storage vessels.

Soon there were only a few sad inches of unsalvageable muddy water lying in the folds of the tarp.  Mosquito eggs hatch fast, so I needed to drain my failed experiment and get it out of the dugout.

But a few inches of water in a 60′ long tarp still amounts to a couple of hundred pounds of water.  Add the couple of hundred pounds of silty gravel that had washed down into the tarp along with with the deluge.  Then add me, trying to shovel/scrape/drain all that so I could drag the filthy (and therefore extra-heavy) tarp up a wet, unstable, 10 foot high, 45 degree gravel slope.

After about an hour of hard labour, I clawed my way to the top looking like some primeval swamp creature:  caked with gritty mud, abraded by gravel, soaked to the skin, and so malodorous that even the mosquitoes lost interest and fled.

So your mother was right:  Always wear nice underwear.  Because you never know when you might end up doing a striptease1 in the back yard so your husband can hose you off2.

* * *

1 At least none of the neighbours live close enough to see my performance (I hope).  I’m going to consider that a qualified ‘win’.  The ‘mud, sweat, and mosquito bites’ theme probably won’t catch on at any strip clubs; but after 19 years of marriage I like to think Hubby’s expectations are realistic.

2 Just thought you’d want to know that ‘hose you off’ is not a kinky euphemism – Hubby was wielding the garden hose.  Honest.

39 thoughts on “Mom Was Right Again

  1. Pingback: Half-Naked Ant-ics | Author Diane Henders

  2. Pingback: “Random” Passenger | Diane Henders

    • Thanks, Barbara! It’s beautiful here – the gravel patch in the photo didn’t do it justice. We actually live in Canada, on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Our climate and scenery are similar to the Oregon coast – lots of ferns and big trees (though not as big as Oregon’s), dry summers, and rainy winters. We live inland a few miles so we get snow in the winter, but it usually doesn’t stay for long.


  3. Sorry to laugh, but let’s be honest…you certainly do paint a funny visual. I was actually relieved that it ended up with a “hosing off”. I think Mom’s everywhere used to scare us into wearing clean underwear…you never know when something will happen, etc. So hearing that at the start of your post, I feared much worse….and the good news….you got some rain!! Have a great weekend wrestling in a mud pit!!


    • Thanks, Kirt! And hey, never be sorry to laugh – making people laugh makes my day! (And I was laughing while Hubby hosed me down, too. There’s always room for more ‘hose’ double entendres in the adolescent part of my brain.) 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Can you work a mud wrestling in underwear scene into your next book?
    After cleaning corrals one morning I had to strip in the garage and run across the yard to the house. We lived in town. Never heard if anyone saw or not.


    • I think that’s one of those things that nobody ever actually confronts you with – they just give you that wary side-eye look and suddenly remember some important meeting that they have to attend.

      And I’m not sure about writing a mud-wrestling underwear scene. It would be a lot of fun to write but it won’t happen in Book 14, which takes place in December in Alberta. But who knows what might happen in Book 15…? 😉


  5. clean underwear don’t mean jack when you have a g.i. bleed. sitting on toilet with husband and 2 paramedics waiting for you to get through throwing up blood and coming from other end so they can rush you to hospital. should have been uncomfortable when one of them is kin. but you are in such misery it just don’t matter.
    I wondered why you didn’t concrete the pit. lot of concrete, huh


    • Oh, ouch! That sounds awful! No wonder you didn’t care who saw what.

      We did look into concrete for the pond, but it would be big bucks for the concrete and all the labour to get it put in place. It’s looking as though we’ll have to wrestle a rubber liner into it, which should be fun (not). The tarp probably only weighed about 70 pounds. A rubber liner that size would be 900 pounds. Not sure if that’s going to be a ‘do-it-yourself’ project…


  6. I’ve just been in my local book shop and asked if they stock your books, so she looked you up and apologised for not having you. It’s not really a local book shop it’s a national store, she said that they will look into trying to stock you.
    So if you get a call from waterstones you can blame me for it.
    I was just trying to do my bit for your global recognition and the great British readers


    • Right on – thank you! 🙂 It would be great to have the Spy series stocked by Waterstones! I know they can special-order books in through Ingram, but having actual books on their shelves would be very cool!


    • That’s right! And you know, I was thinking about that while I was down in the pit: “Gee, I sure hope I don’t hurt myself down here and have to call for help.” Since we now live in a rural area and our first responders are most likely to be local volunteer firefighters, it might be a little difficult to look them in the eye afterward. 🙂


  7. Wait a minute, where was your hubby and all his muscles when you were wrestling with the tarp/gravel/mud/mosquitoes?

    That must have been SO frustrating to see your rainwater seep away. I’ll swear a few words on your behalf, if you like.

    I’ve never, ever, ever been so dirty I had to be hosed off. I am a wuss – if I have to get anything more than my hands dirty, it’s a job I won’t do – ha ha


    • LOL! Hubby maintained a low profile during that job, mostly because I don’t think he realized I was doing it while he was working on the backup water system. The water system was more important to me than getting help with the tarp; and anyway I would have felt a bit guilty dragging him down there with me. He had already told me while I was spreading out the tarp that it likely wouldn’t work, but I did it anyway. It didn’t seem quite right to make him suffer (any more than he usually does) for my pigheadedness.

      Thank you kindly for the offer of backup profanity, but I think I used up all the good swearwords while I was down in the pit. I’ll take a rain check for next time, though! 😉


      • I should have put a happy face in that first question – it comes across as an inquisition when I re-read it now! lol And yes, our husbands, how they suffer for us (or from us) 😀

        I hope you get your water supply augmented soon.


        • Thanks, jenny_o! We tested the system last night and it seems to be working well so far. We’re trickling water from our well into a 300-gallon storage tote, and so far it seems to be able to keep up. There’s no more rain in our forecast, though, and we’re supposed to hit +35 again by the weekend. Guess I might as well just enjoy the warm sunny weather – I’ve finally figured out that I can’t change it by worrying about it!

          And it’s okay – I knew you were smiling when you wrote your comment. 🙂


  8. What? No pictures?

    hmm, “The ‘mud, sweat, and mosquito bites’ theme probably won’t catch on at any strip clubs” actually there’s a club like that in LA. I mean I don’t know for sure, — I’ve heard rumors, you knows as do hear from ‘friends.’

    and I checked a 5,000 gallon plastic tank is only 2,300 USD, plus shipping, concrete pad, plumbing, permits, labor, insurance, and repairs to the house while installing the above. Simple. shouldn’t cost more that 10,000.


  9. Well, ‘kinky’ wasn’t the first thought that popped into my head…nor the second. Just sayin’…

    Been there, by the way. Okay, ‘there’ might be misleading, but I’ve had to, er, disrobe in the front yard so my wife could wash enough grunge off of me that I could make it to the shower without having to replace the carpet. Thankfully, the episode(s) happened late at night, and the closest neighbors out there with the lights still on lived a quarter of a mile away. And this was decades before YouTube. (I got most of the stupid out of my system well before, I’m happy to say.) After I was safely inside and scrubbing the evidence away, Thuh Missus spent even more time getting my clothes rinsed out enough to consider putting the filthy things in the washing machine. Yeah, that bad.

    Further, deponent sayeth not. 🙂


  10. I love the blog and I giggled so much at the video again.

    I’ve had laringits for almost two weeks so was good to have a giggle even if it ended with a cough.

    Things seem to be moving nicely with the new flat

    Hope everyone is well xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Karen! We’re slowly getting everything whipped into shape, and once we get all our water management stuff done it’ll be a load off my mind. Baby steps… 🙂

      I hope your poor throat feels better soon! (Maybe a nice cup of tea with honey and lemon and a touch of rum…?)


      • Rum? Would apple liquor work or vodka as I don’t have any rum.

        My throat doesn’t hurt now just the lack of voice it sounded like it was back earlier but I coughed and I was croaky again. I don’t want to go back to work until I have a voice that sounds normal for more than a sentence.

        I saw on amazon the paperback versions were available but not in stocks right now, they will be my housewarming present to myself once I have the keys to the new flat


        • Hooray! So exciting about your new flat – when do you think you’ll be able to move in?

          And I’m sure any kind of liquor would work – it’s probably the tea and honey that helps your throat; the liquor just makes you care less about feeling crappy. 😉


          • I’m hoping within the next few weeks but not sure things seem to be taking forever, it’s a cash purchase so we don’t need to do the searches but it seems that the solicitor’s were obsessed with doing them but I’ve signed things that say no to them no so hopefully not long, a draft contract was mentioned for the near future.

            My mum asked me to host my dad’s birthday meal towards the end of next month but I’m hoping to be in by my birthday at the beginning of next month. Oh and mum has offered a bet if she gets her new blinds before I get the keys. She gets her blinds in two weeks. It’s all fun


  11. What a hoser! Well, it was sort of a good idea. Maybe an actual cistern (I know they’re expensive) would be a better idea in the long run. I hope you didn’t scare the wildlife with your striptease.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If I did frighten the wildlife, at least they were quiet about fleeing! (And, for the record, Hubby is an excellent hoser.) 😉

      The cistern is a much better idea. We’re actually in the process of getting quotes from contractors, but everything takes twice as long and costs twice as much here, so it might not be in the budget this year. Must… sell… more… books…

      Liked by 1 person

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