Late last summer, we bought a “hosemobile” for the roof garden in our apartment building in the city.  We’re not really around much starting in the spring, but the sad sight on the roof deck–dead flowers and trees, flower pots overgrown with weeds–was largely attributable to the broken hose that nobody else had thought to (or bothered to) replace. Laziness and incompetence had turned what was once a mini-oasis in the asphalt jungle into a desert–a Falluja without the human body count.

The hosemobile was supposed to protect the hose from abusive treatment by our fellow residents, allowing the hose to be neatly unspooled for use around the deck, and then re-spooled for storage. The deck would again be watered, and our little urban Garden of Eden would return. Or so we thought.

Back in the city earlier this month, we learned of a problem, somewhere between the faucet and the hosemobile, the result, no doubt, of rough handling. And the plants that had replaced all the dead greenery and flowers were themselves moving quickly on to the next world.

I happened to be at lunch with a couple of former colleagues when I got a call from my wife, who, like her father was, is a wonderful gardener (and whose directions I always try to follow): go to Home Depot and buy a replacement leader hose (model number, length and price provided); that would fix the problem.

Except it didn’t. When I finally applied my basic handyman skills to the situation, I quickly discovered that I couldn’t fix things, as half the attachment appeared to be stuck inside the hosemobile, while I held the other half in my hand. Someone had yanked the unit, rather than going through the bother of unspooling the hose, and the attachment had snapped in two.

We were soon leaving town, so I fired off a quick email to my fellow board members, letting them know the state of play, and the urgency of the situation. A few days later, we got an email reply from the treasurer–the hosemobile is to be thrown out.

My wife was not pleased. Alas, it was my fault. The hard evidence was right there in my email: while I wrote that I couldn’t fix the device, I had failed to offer a solution. Which is true.

I mourn the imminent demise of the plants, some transplanted from our country garden, where green abounds. Then again, given the skill sets of our urban neighbors, I doubt that anything I might have suggested would have changed the outcome.