Sunday, August 3, 2008

Irrigation Plan

...Or, Fun with Visio
Matt's been sweating and swinking (good word, no? It's archaic for toiling & drudging) on an irrigation system for us for the past month or so. The most important, of course, are our new trees (Magnolia and baldcypress), the hedge of jasmine, and the re-transplanted pear, so those got attention first. But whenever Matt has time and spare money to pick up a valve, some emitters, t-connectors, barbs, or converters, he's been adding on. The system has become sufficiently complex that I decided to map it for my own benefit and that of whoever buys the house next.

Plus, I wanted to play with Visio before my company closes and I have to give their laptop back to them. (And, by the bye, why the hell didn't I do this sooner? Visio is far and away the easiest tool for mocking up blueprints and landscape plans I've ever tried--way better than that cheap crap from Broderbund or my pointlessly arcane and convoluted efforts in Photoshop. This is easy.)

So here's what we've got (click on the picture to see a larger [legible] version). The solid black lines are our main lines. The thinner black lines are thinner tubes. Dashed lines are buried.

Aqua is for places where we plan to put irrigation. The aqua bits don't connect to anything because we haven't quite figured out how it's all going to tie together. The quartered circles represent valves. The two aqua spigots (called "bibs" in official Visio-speak) are existing spigots that do not actually work and never have during our entire tenure here. I hope we'll get them operational someday.

Neat, huh?

Irrigation plan--click to enlarge

We don't have any automated timers yet. I'm not much inclined to buy one, since (as you know), I'm not a fan of regular supplemental water. It's all very well to have a system that (A) nurtures baby trees along or (B) gets the garden through a severe drought, but I'm not interested in trying to create a rain forest here. On the other hand, as Matt will probably want to point out when he reads this, I do have a tendency to turn on hoses and sprinklers and forget about them till the following morning. Some water conservationist I am. So the jury's out on a timing system at the moment.

That mention of work reminds me--some of you may not know that Fusion is shutting down this August. This is rather a downer, but I found a well-paying long-term contract position with the Texas Education Agency (doing tech writing with a soupçon of business analysis and project management), so all is well. Or mostly well--my cube at the State is the most ghastly hole you ever saw--barely 3' square with a giant pillar taking up about a quarter of the space, no natural light in the entire cube farm and the ugliest florescent lights--all sickly and yellowy--and of course everything is beige everywhere. Worst of all, they move people around so much that no one bothers to decorate their cubes so the beigeness reigns supreme. And it's about 81 degrees in there--apparently, we're singlehandedly compensating for the rest of America's inability to reduce greenhouse emissions. But everyone seems very nice and very smart and I think it will be a good opportunity to add some skills to the old resume.

The other happy thing about the job is that it will enable Matt & I to go ahead with our plans to buy a replacement sofa, plans we had to abort when we first heard that Fusion was going to close. We went to Ethan Allen yesterday and spent a small geologic epoch contemplating fabrics and pondering firmnesses. (Matt was very patient about this, by the way. Although he did put the kibosh on some of my more... exciting selections.) We had really liked the Crate and Barrel experience earlier this summer--good firmness levels on the sofas (we like a firm sofa--probably because we're accustomed to a 33-year-old sofa will very little stuffing left), reasonable prices, good service, but I have lingering concerns about the fabric options. So there is more shopping to do before we come to any decisions. This is momentous, you know. Our first real sofa. Our first big furniture investment. Not some fly-by-night, temporary solution, like our $25 Ikea coffeetable, our hand-me-down kitchen table, or our silver-painted yard-sale dresser. This is for real. WE. HAVE. ARRIVED. Adulthood, give us a nice, big hug.

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