When it comes to home repairs I much prefer working on electrical items, carpentry, or even masonry. Plumbing is at the bottom of my list. And yet I have been involved in occasional plumbing projects for over forty years.
Electrical work fits my temperament. On any given attempt, there are only three likely outcomes, and I achieve the outcome quite quickly. The electrical project works, doesn’t work, or I get electrocuted. Any way you look at it, I immediately know where I stand.
It’s only with plumbing where you can feel like the project is solved, only to discover three years later you were wrong because the upstairs bathtub falls into the downstairs kitchen due to an undiscovered slow leak. For the record, that hasn’t happened to me yet, but appears to have happened in our house some years before we owned it.
And as long as I’m throwing in disclaimers, I’ll add this. Two years ago we hired a licensed electrician to do some small work around the house. Something about my attitude regarding electrical work made my wife uncomfortable with me doing more of it. I was very happy to see someone else doing labor usually relegated to me, but I couldn’t help noticing that he worked in much the same way as me. He did not turn off the electricity, nor wear gloves. I think it made him very careful. Me, too.
Today’s (and yesterday’s) project was replacing a broken pipe below the kitchen sink. All the pipes were made of PVC plastic of the kind that comes in standardized kits. Those kits are a small brilliance.
I removed the offending piece of plastic pipe and went to the hardware store with it. They had a piece that looked just like it except the top nut screwed downward instead of upward. None of their sink hardware worked for a sink with threads on the bowl downspout.
Over the last forty years, every sink but one that I have worked on required a nut that screwed upward. Or was I just going crazy?
The next hardware store also had downward-only pieces. And the next hardware store. At this point I did what I should have done in the first place, and researched it on the internet. Lowe’s had the correct piece. When I went there I saw that two thirds of all their sink plumbing had upward turning nuts. I was grateful for the endorsement to my sanity.
At this point I went home, added a gasket missing from the kit, and assembled all the pipes below the kitchen sink using no tools. That’s another example of brilliance: no tools plumbing.
You can be certain that I have dramatically simplified and reduced a process that took about seven hours spread over two days. There were a lot more complications than are fun to read about, and I didn’t even swear or say colorful things. I wrote a blog instead.
Now for the quiet terror of waiting to find out if the repairs were perfect. Tick, tick, tick,... drip, drip, drip..........