In the way that winter can keep you under house arrest, so can the suffocating, stinging heat. It’s almost too hot to take their usual morning urban nature walk. Something they do at 8:00 a.m. The only saving grace is the intermittent shade provided by the canopy of magnolia, pine, and oak trees along the sidewalks. Nary the thought of keeping the kids inside all day long for the next three months.

Gone two days without water, the lorapetalum is wilted, the azaleas cry out in pain, and the grass turns emaciated and brittle, all shriveled up like twigs in a fire. I wish I could pot my entire yard and make it an indoor plant, but then again, the ivy in the kitchen hasn’t received much notice either. Confronted with the choice to attend to the yard or spend time with the kids, the kids always win.

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Because we were both home on Sunday afternoon, we decided to play and water. Our sprinkler no longer oscillates and some of the nozzles are so packed with dirt that they spray in all directions or only have half the water force of others. So I took Harper with me to Home Depot to pick up a new one while Jennifer and Mateo held down the fort. Once at the store, I found the Garden section only to find a hand-scrawled note that said “We are out of sprinklers. Sorry for the inconvenience.” on the empty shelves. It was hardly legible, as if the author of the note was dragged away by rabid customers as he finished writing.

Surprised, we got back in the car and headed down to Lowes. SAME THING! I found an employee and asked when they’d be getting them in and – timidly – he said the backorder was three weeks out. As a result, the sprinkler is to the summer that the Gas Can & Generator are to hurricane season. WHO KNEW.

So we set up our non-oscillating sprinkler to water a patch of dead grass while we let the kids toddle around in shirts and a diaper. We almost thought about putting on their swim gear, but it was just too damn hot to expend that energy thinking, much less wrestling tiny tornadoes of energy to get the swim shirts over their heads.

The varying heights and sprays of water caused the kids to squeal and scream and laugh with delight for a good half hour or more, at times so loud that I thought we might be waking the back caddy corner neighbors from an afternoon siesta. But then I recalled that said neighbor tends to fire up all four of his motorcycles –at the same time – leaving them idly running in the alley while he takes each in turn out for a spin. AT MY KIDS’ BEDTIME.

And that’s when we turned the water up even more, grateful for our broken sprinkler.

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