You can know anything. It's all there. You just have to find it.

-Neil Gaiman


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Put that in your pipe....

So because of the long holiday weekend I was feeling a little more motivated than usual.

Or maybe I had one too many cups of coffee.

Either way on Sunday morning, I found myself sitting at the table, wondering what to do with my free hour or so during Sena's morning nap. Matt was off playing golf. I was looking at the Home Depot ad when I got an idea.

I would fix the leaky kitchen faucet!

By myself.

Yeah, great idea.

I already had the parts, or at least, I thought I did. The faucet had been leaking a slow, annoying drip for the past few months. So a few weeks ago I went to the Home Depot with the faucet manual that I took from my binder. I have two binders of instruction manuals and warranties, etc. One binder is for things permanent to the house. The toilet, faucets, furnace, etc. The other is for things like the lawnmower, the gas grill, the jogging stroller. (Yes, I'm an organized freak!) Things that we will be taking with us if we ever sell this house. But who wants to buy a house with a drippy faucet? That's a red flag to any buyer.

So I tell Matt it needs to get fixed. Duh...

He wants to call a plumber.

I say, "Why? I can fix it. YOU can fix it!"
He stares at me like I just asked him to dismantle an atomic bomb.
So I say, "It's not rocket science."

No, it's worse. Water's involved. Water, pressure, and tiny metal and plastic bits.

So I find the dude in the plumbing aisle at Home Depot. I tell him what's the problem and show him my Delta faucet guide. "I have this model," I tell him.

He smiles a goofy grin and hands me a little set of seats and springs. "You know," he says, somewhat awestruck, "Only women bring in the manuals. The guys just come in, stare at the wall and think they automatically know what to get." He starts laughing.

I tell him I'm old enough to know better. I know that I don't really know. Plus, my dad told me to always bring the part that needs to be replaced or you invariably buy the wrong damn thing and have to make another trip.

He hands me the little box. "Try these first. Usually it's the hot water one that goes first. Usually these will solve the problem."

So I buy them and take them home and they sit in the drawer for a month.

I figured Matt wouldn't fix it. Because I already asked him to do it about 10 times. And they were still in the drawer.

Shitburgers, I think, sitting at the table. I'm gonna fix it! How hard can replacing little rubber rings be?

Somewhere in the distance I hear the plumbing gods laughing. It sounds like a slow, annoying drip....

And then I learned why plumbers drive better cars than I ever will.

First step: Turn off the water.

No prob.

Except I couldn't really get it off. I keep turning the knobs under the sink until one made a hideous squeak and I was suddenly afraid the knob would bust off and start spraying everywhere. Another reason you shouldn't tackle any household jobs on a major holiday. If I did have to call someone, it would probably be double.

I sit and stare at the knob.

I try the faucet. Some water is still coming out. Crap.

Matt gets home then, and I say,"I need you to get the water off."

Matt tightens it a little more but there is still a tiny trickle. I decide to try to forge ahead anyway.

I manage to get the handle off. Then, using an allen wrench, get the rest of the piece off. Water gurgles up.

I take off another plastic piece. Then the final piece. I can look down and see the seat ring and spring. I take them out and look at them. They look okay to me, but what do I know.

I try to put the new pieces in. I try. I can't really do it because water is still coming up and the pressure is popping the rubber ring up. I start cursing.

Matt says, "We could turn off the main water."

I feel like a dumbbutt for not thinking that. "Yeah, okay, do that."

He stares at me again. The dismantle atomic bomb stare.

I feel a bit snarky. "You don't know WHERE it is, do YOU?"

He shrugs. "No."

I resist saying anything mean. "Okay, I'll show you." I go down to the basement and show him. He turns it off.

I replace the ring and rubber seat. I'm sweating now, even though the air conditioner is going. I feel a little light-headed. A little bit crazy. There's crap all over the countertop.

I turn the main line back on and recheck the faucet. The drip is still there.


Except, now it's worse. Now it's a slow stream.


I go down and turn the water back off. I try to calm down and not have a stroke because I realize I brought this on myself.

I go back upstairs and sit down. Matt makes some eggs and I sit and eat them while I think. Sometimes that's what you have to do. Sit and eat breakfast and think. My blood sugar goes back to normal. I decide to replace the cold water side. "If this doesn't work," I warn him, "I'll have to call a plumber."

He wisely says nothing.

So I change the other side and check everything again. I tighten up everything and then I turn the water back on.

Guess what?

The leak stopped.

I stare in amazement. I just fixed a leaky faucet. By myself. And nobody died and nothing blew up. I feel exactly like Neil Armstrong did when he walked on the moon. Sort of. Maybe even better. Maybe like Neil Armstrong walking on the moon and then discovering a big pirate chest full of gold. And cake.

Plus, it only cost me $4.95. And about two hours of utter disgust, anger, frustration, and deep self-hatred at the world, myself, plumbers, and the physics of water.

So I guess that was worth it.

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