A. is re-creating the Erie Canal in our front lawn.
And here he is, working on the first lock.*
Okay, so really he's just digging a trench to try to restore the old gravity drain to working order, so that we don't have to rely on the sump pump to drain the cellar, which it's not doing too well with at the moment and A. is starting to worry about undermining the foundation and blahblahblah.
The most boring adult talk ever, yes. Let's skip all that and go straight to the important part: how this ditch affects me.
OH MY GOD, THE LAUNDRY.
Not just A.'s laundry, either. Although that's bad enough, as I'm sure you can imagine the state of a man's clothes when he's been digging in a six-foot-deep muddy trench for eight hours. My first stage of rinsing involves a bucket and the hose outside.
No, I must also contend with the laundry produced by A.'s little helpers, who are not so careful to confine their filth to just one set of clothing.
You think you're keeping this kid out of this hole? You think wrong.
Both Cubby and Charlie are drawn to this trench as a moth to a flame. They get in it multiple times a day, almost ensuring the need for a complete change of clothing every time. Last night, after a suspiciously quiet ten minutes, I found them both in the trench, where Cubby had been carefully applying a very thick layer of mud to Charlie's front, much like a plasterer would plaster a wall. Charlie was watching with great interest, not upset at all.
I, however, was not so enthused about this episode. Getting those clothes in a fit state to even go in the washing machine--where they have to be soaked and pre-washed twice before even starting the actual wash cycle--required scraping with a stick in addition to the usual swilling multiple times with hose water in a bucket.
I can't even speak of the horror that is their footwear after trench time. It's appalling.
I have no idea how much longer this project is going to go on. I'm sure Charlie and Cubby hope it takes all summer. I, for one, will be very relieved to see the end of it. For purely selfish reasons, of course.
* This photo actually doesn't come close to conveying the enormous length and depth of the trench, because I took it last week. Since then, A. has continued digging way out into the grass behind him there, and also dug down deeper into two big test holes on the sides to try to find the elusive ancient drain. But I'm too lazy to bring the camera out again and take an updated picture, so this is the best I got. Believe me when I tell you that this is a serious feat of hand digging that no one but A. would attempt.