First there was a Man. Then a Woman. Then in quick succession, two cats, a confused dog beast, and two kids. I stay at home with them. I'm the Man

Monday, October 29, 2012

Plumbed Depths

Of late, we've had some plumbing issues around the house, and it's been my job to remedy them. I'm no professional, but I'd say my wife is pretty pleased. Boom. Plumbing is full of sexy, sexy words like ballcock, nipple, insert, pipe, drain, wrench, and putty. Ooh yeah, putty. Seriously though, I did get lucky this weekend.

I worked on both our bathroom and kitchen sinks. From what I could diagnose, one had a leak under the sink, while the other had a leak under the sink.

The kitchen sink's sprayer hose (yeah baby) had a hole in it while upstairs the bathroom sink was just leaking.

The kitchen sink seemed like the easier place to start. First thing to do, head to Home Depot and wander around like a war refugee until someone led me to the front door. Once inside I made a beeline directly for the new fake xmas tree display whereupon I peed on one and set three others on fire before security appeared and briskly informed me that they completely agreed with my sentiment.

Formalities dispensed with, I grabbed a cart and zig-zagged my way toward the plumbing department. Due to the approaching Stormzilla™ there were generators and shop vacs for sale all over the store. I was busy attempting to open and attach 11 shop vacs to a generator in order to create a modern day coach or what I like to call a "Horseless Carriage" when security showed up and briskly informed me that Maglites hurt a lot.

From there I met a guy who was known store wide as the "master plumber." He himself informed me he was merely at the level of journeyman. I told him that my level was stud if you asked my wife. He threatened to call security

He showed me the supplies I needed and I stocked up. (A new hose, a big pair of channel lock pliers, some washers, some teflon tape, a basin wrench, baby. Sooo hot.)

On the way out the door I took some time to stop off at the shingles department and offer them some ointment for that . Security had a good laugh at that while three of them tasered me until I started to smolder

Back home, I set to work. I scrunched down into the swampy mess that was under our sink. I should say now I'm not what you would call mechanically inclined. Or very inclined at all. I'm inclined to do as little as possible. But this is our house and we had a problem and the kids just kept crying every time I shoved them under there, so it fell to me.

Once there, I took the basin wrench and scraped it back and forth along the underside of the sink until I was positive that I had absolutely no idea how to use a basin wrench.

The basin wrench is a wrench whose head is designed to bend sideways so that you can press the head just flush enough against the underside of my kitchen sink so as to render the tool useless. After taking out my anger on the cat ("You call that a tail? Looks like a fucking pipe cleaner if you ask me. Your mother was part squirrel.") I went to plan b:  Break the knob on the cold water shut-off.

I'm getting things out of order here.  In chronological fact, I broke the knob almost immediately because I knew I would have to do it later anyway, and why not consolidate so as to increase efficiency?

So as I worked, cold water was dribbling continuously out of the top of the unhooked water line like  pee from an old man's penis.

Because I couldn't detach the hose from under the sink, this meant I would have to take the entire faucet out to get at the nut holding the hose. I struggled and grunted and grunted and struggled and then I got back to work under the sink. I semi-succesfully managed to remove the faucet, after which I realized I had to race back to home depot for more putty and a quick round of hide in the ficus until security goes by.

I got home, slapped the new hose on, replaced the faucet, and congratulated myself on having made the need for cold water in my kitchen obsolete via the breaking of the cold water. It runs at a thin trickle. Which was my nickname in high school.

The bathroom sink was a whole different sink related situation. There, the leak was probably caused by the 4 toothpaste caps, one toothbrush, one double A battery, one ferret, one thinly rolled scroll of Chinese astrology animals, and seven farthings I found when I opened the up the pipes.

As it turns out, this fix was a breeze. Due to the age of my house--it's been carbon dated to the year eighteen hundred and we should just fucking move--and the creative nonchalance of the former owners, I found the pipes gerry rigged in a fashion that my endlessly resourceful in a fringe apocalypse survivor sort of way mind could understand. I fixed the gerry and jiggled the rig and whammo, no more leak. Hopefully it'll hold until the plumber gets here to "fix" the cold water. My wife insists. Me, I'm glad we've been freed of the totalitarian, capitalist, soul crushing yoke of expectations that is instant cold water. The proletariat shall no longer suffer the indignity of washed vegetables!

Admittedly, the hardship is great. having to walk all the way upstairs for cold water. It's as if we're living in an undeveloped land where one has to walk a mile to the watering hole and then carefully balance a brimming earthen jug on our heads. Like Detroit.



  1. Look at the bright side. The journey for cold water is improving your fitness level with every stair climbed.

    Or maybe you're just dehydrated as fuck.

  2. I so get this. I recently had to call the plumber to fix the leaky sink that my teen son and my husband had each attempted to fix, both of them making it worse in the process.

    I'm sure you've heard that one of the advantages to having a Jewish brother-in-law is that he will never try to tell you how to change the oil in your car. My husband has found this to be quite true.

    I'm Jewish, so I can make that joke. Stay tuned for my Anne Frank laugh-a-palooza...

  3. Dude. Never do plumbing. Ever. "seven farthings" was a nice touch.

  4. "Musings From The Big Pink" has been included in the Sites To See for this week. I hope this helps to point many new visitors in your direction.

  5. The only thing I hate more than plumbing is paying some other dude to do it, until it gets to the beyond-my-meager-skills level. Hats off to you, sir.

  6. Ah...okay. I guess I can live with my broken dishwasher after all. ;)

  7. Hmm, so what exactly is the wife saying when she says the sink is plugged up?


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