I would have had this article finished two weeks ago had my wife gotten a reflecting globe for our garden instead of a concrete fountain. She wanted to hear the soft, gurgling sound of water gently cascading into a limpid pool to help her forget the noxious sounds I made while lugging around a 400-pound statue of a half-naked, pitcher-holding kid and his accompanying pedestal. Fortunately, the lugging part was easy. The next-to-impossible part was deciding which fountain would be just right for our garden.
Answer: The heaviest.
Each weekend the past winter, the wife and I scoured the four corners of Southern Maryland seeking the perfect fountain. We saw concrete frogs, fish, cherubs, swans, bears, dogs, Elvises and some that were either gargoyles or Larry King, spraying water from the tops of their heads, out of their mouths, or any other imaginable place this side of a G rating. That is, except for the dog fountain. I found out too late that it wasnt a fountain but the shop owners greyhound.
Since our garden is small, my wife insisted the fountains size had to be just right, which translates into unattainable. Just as I began to dream that the concrete figures were coming to life and spraying us with fire hoses, my wife settled on a midsize fountain of a cherub pouring water from a pitcher into a basin. By then if she had wanted to upend a 1980 Cordoba with water spraying out of its tailpipe, that would have been fine with me.
Once home, my spouse thoughtfully helped me take the concrete statue from the car to the back yard by giving orders such as, Dont break it. Be careful, and What was that crunching sound?
Answer: My knees.
Once I completed the simple 87-step task of assembling the pump and its connections, all that was left was to position the fountain. I believe it was around 2:30 in the morning when we decided it was positioned well enough. Thats when the neighbors threatened to call the police if they heard us ask once more, Is it level now? No, to the left a bit. Now back. How about now? More to the right. No, no, to the left!
So now the fountain is sitting in the garden next to the screened-in porch, the same porch that my wife wanted light and airy, which explains the skylights. My question was, Why even have a porch? If you want light and airy, just sit on the deck. The roll of her eyes indicated that I had asked the dumbest question since the dawn of civilization.
Answer: To keep bugs out.
The big moment came when I flicked the switch that sent power to the receptacle that held the plug that went to the pump that moved the water out of the cherubs pitcher and into the basin below. Within two seconds, the water began pouring out and continued to do so for 15 minutes until I turned it off.
My wife and I looked at each other. Without saying a word, we both knew we hated the thing. Instead of the soothing sound of cascading water we heard from the multiple fountains in the stores, our fountain sounded as if the cherub had a severe bladder problem. After turning it off, I expected the statue to give out a long, grateful Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
For the past two weeks my wife and I have been discussing, quite intensely at times, what to do with the fountain. I have opted to keep it as a birdbath and give last rites to its pump. She wants to exchange it for a larger, spray-type fountain. I explained to her that I would not be moving any more fountains until I had fully recovered from this past experience. From the way Im walking, that may be a while. Raising one eyebrow, she looked at me and asked, And how long is a while?