Wednesday 23 January 2013

Monsters - of the Hose Variety I Have Known

I've been Hosed

I enjoy mechanical challenges and trying to solve them. I still dream about the million dollar invention. Here is one which I have not yet resolved. There are gadgets which claim to solve this problem but from my observations, none have been successful. 

Before proceeding, you should know that I have a Ph.D. in Hose-Coiling through a Plant Watering Scholarship from a well-known American university. My peers call me "Dr. Hoser" but The Brewster is preferred.

Try as I might, it is impossible to coil a long garden hose without producing knots which I would be unable to tie if my life depended on it. I gave up on cheap plastic hoses long ago. When it is cold outside they might as well be made of metal. Nothing like a good, expensive, pliable, rubber! Perhaps the Durex company should get into garden hoses.

One of my longest hoses is kept in the garage. When I am putting it away I am more meticulous than when I fold my clothes.

First, I lay out its full length in my driveway so that it drains. For those of you without a doctorate it is critical that the driveway slants away from the garage. This was actually a major element in my thesis. Next I stand on the high end and I pull the entire thing towards me by one arm's length to form a small loop on the ground. It can’t be too wide - just enough to eventually hang on that useless winding gizmo I bought - more on that later.

Hoses have a mind of their own. Funny, people say that about me. With each pull, I have to twist the coil with my wrist so that it will lie flat. It always flops one way or the other during this critical stage resembling some landed large-mouthed bass. The next few feet of hose will then twist clockwise or counter-clockwise in a corkscrew manner. The direction of twist is never the same and I don’t know why. The tension in the remainder of the hose is then almost as high as the tension in me.

I have this repeat vision that some day my lady will come out to the driveway only to find me strangled by the sudden unleashing of all of that power – like a tow truck cable snapping. The coiled part suddenly unwinds and loops around my neck choking me instantly. What a way to go. Imagine the headlines - “Man dies from hose- cause of death old rubber”. At other times I rest one foot on it like a great African safari hunter. I digress. After this careful process is finished and I have a relatively neat and now defeated hose at my feet, I hang it on that contraption on the wall mentioned earlier.

This also requires great care. I have often had the last loop fling itself off in one final death struggle like Glenn Close rising from the tub at the end of Fatal Attraction. It can be devastating if the metal nozzle is still attached and within proximity of a car. Bye, Bye paint job.

OK - now it is hung. The real mystery is why, after all of this, it gets so tangled the next time I use it. I also addressed this in my thesis which I believe guaranteed my pass.

I lay it down about 10 feet from the faucet with the female end on top (I always liked that anyway.)  That is the end that goes on to the faucet. Use your imagination if you are not familiar with these mechanical "male" and "female" references. Then I uncoil enough to walk the female part to the tap on the wall connecting it as tightly as I can. So far, so good. Next I do what I think is very clever. My Professor agreed. I flip the coil over so that the male end is on top. Again - not a bad choice.

In theory, I should now be able to pull the damn thing out to its full length with no problem. I take off running. BAM! I get stopped in my tracks and jerked backwards almost wrenching off my arm. I can’t look back during this dash because I might hit a tree. I did once so maybe that is why I write this stuff. I cautiously backtrack fearing strangulation again and there it is - a mangled, tangled mess of hose. In order to untangle it, by some unwritten law of nature it always requires retrieval of the far end to feed back through the tangle. 

PLEASE. Someone tell me I’m not alone. Can’t anyone invent a hose that does not tangle? I have bought them with this claim but to no avail. I see new ones every year. Personally I would rather receive Emails offering to keep my hose straight than the ones I already receive claiming to lengthen it.

Now about that hose coiler - you know the kind? You attach the water supply to one side of it and the hose to the other side. In theory you can crank it in or out without shutting off the water. Great idea! Try as I did however, I could never get the hose clamp tight enough on the supply end to prevent it from pushing itself off the connection under pressure and flooding my garage, usually without my knowledge. (OK. I am omitting the part about me not shutting off the tap.) 

I think local utility companies designed these. It increases water bills. That elegant “coiler shutteroffer thing” which was someone’s personal invention is now just a passive hose hanger on the wall albeit a very impressive one. It is like buying a mannequin to hang a tie. I hope you went broke whoever you are.

Surely firefighters have mastered a solution to this? Now there is a thought. Why don’t firefighters go into the hose coiling consulting business? They could make a fortune. On the other hand, maybe all I have to do is buy a used fire truck to park in my driveway which would take all of my hoses. Surely I would get a break on the house insurance? I can just hear the reaction of my wife and my neighbours!  

That's a wrap.

The Brewster

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