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Posted: April 9, 2013 6:48 p.m.

The dumps of home improvement

My husband and I have lived where we are now living for more than 40 years. More than half my life.

We have made many changes to the house over the years, and I would like to make more.

Yet, I remember when we first moved in like it was yesterday.

The house was freshly painted inside and out before we moved in. My husband and I did the inside painting.

I did the trim and he did the walls. Considering all the trim is oil-based enamel, he had the easier job.

Then we moved in. We had to put cabinets and a sink in the kitchen. I remember having to do dishes in the bathtub for several weeks until that project was completed.

We sort of rattled around in that big old house for several years before we could fill it with furniture. There was also the problem of curtains.

The house has a lot of windows and ready-made curtains are not big enough for those windows.

That sewing machine my husband gave me for Christmas the first year we were married came in handy.

Shortly after moving in, my husband became worried about the outside paint.

The driveway was dirt, and he was concerned the dust from the driveway would sully the new paint job. (The house is painted white.)

His solution, and a sensible one for the time, was to order a dump truck-load of gravel to spread on the driveway.

The dump truck arrived filled with gravel as ordered one Saturday morning.

My husband looked and looked at that truck load of gravel. The driver was waiting for instructions on where to dump the load.

The more my husband looked, the more he realized the Herculean effort it would take to spread that gravel.
He began thinking of ways to avoid that effort and to find a solution for spreading that gravel easily.

He had an Eureka moment and decided if the dump truck backed down to the end of the driveway, stopped and then slowly accelerated down the driveway as it simultaneously began rising the dump and dumping the gravel, that pesky large load of gravel would, for the most part, spread itself over the entire driveway, eliminating hours, if not days, of work for my husband.

He told the driver of the dump truck his plan, and the truck driver immediately refused to participate in his scheme.

My husband then talked the truck driver into letting him (my husband) drive the truck and complete his plan.

I was in the house at the time and knew nothing of their conversation or decision.

But even if I had been there, I probably would not have said anything. On paper it sounds like a good plan.

I was standing in the kitchen, looking out of a window which overlooks the driveway, and I was talking on the phone. (We had one of those fancy new wall mounted phones hanging on the wall next to the kitchen sink.)
I heard this loud roar and looked out the window. The dump truck came roaring down the driveway with the dump slowing rising in the air.

It passed my window and out of my sight. I didn’t give it a second thought.

The next thing I know, my whole house shudders and sort of goes twang. The lights go out and the phone goes dead.

The rising dump of the truck took out several limbs from the oak trees along the driveway.

But more importantly, it stripped from the side of the house both the phone line and the electric line.

Apparently the truck driver knew what he was talking about when he refused to cooperate in my husband’s scheme.

He quickly left with the truck.

We had no phone and couldn’t get our cars out of the driveway as live electric wires were crossing and dangling over the driveway.

My husband went across the street to borrow a phone. By now, we were attracting a crowd.

The workers from the city of Covington promptly arrived with the necessary trucks and good naturedly replaced the electric lines and phone lines.

Why not? They had a good story to tell everyone.

By the way, the gravel was nicely spread.

Paula Travis is a retired teacher from the Newton County School System. She can be reached at ptravis@covnews.com.

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