Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ever have one of those days?

Almost three weeks ago now I was trying to leave on a trip. A pretty long trip, actually, some 2300 miles of travel with some sightseeing miles piled atop that. All on the motorcycle, which makes me happy, but with only one day between landing at the airport and taking off on the bike, which does not. Great as my boss is, great as my job is, sometimes the schedule just gets jammed up like that.

So, you know I recently had some bathroom remodeling done at my house and it didn't exactly go smoothly. Thus, it should come as no surprise that the plumbing had one more nasty trick up its sleeve. We had a new countertop installed in our master bathroom. We had new drop-in sinks added to that countertop. That meant we had new faucets added, as well. Because the old ones were losing their cool factor around 1985, so you can imagine that they were well into negative cool and on their way to retro cool here in 2009. Most of the time, this is a non-event. You don't have to write about replacing faucets because you simply open the cabinet, turn off the water supply to the sink, swap out the fixture, turn the water back on, and voilà ! There is water.

Of course, this is not how my house works. The counter-installing guys removed and hauled away the old sinks and counter surface, as requested. However, they neglected to mention that the reason my newly-tiled bathroom floor was not filling up with water is because they had turned off the water to my entire house. Now, luckily for me, there was a shiny new house-water-turner-offer valve, because this would have been a big problem prior to my aforementioned plumbing fiasco. It turns out that the little knobs in the cabinet under the sink that are supposed to turn off so you can change the fixture and otherwise maintain your plumbing DO NOT WORK. To be fair, they might work at your house. They worked in my old house in Manchaca (thank you, Papa Dell!) but they do NOT work in my current house.

In fact, rather than "turning off" the water under the new sinks in the new countertop, they function to just make it really mad. So, like a garden hose with a toddler's thumb stuck in the end of it, these knobs spray water everywhere. All over the bottom of the new sink, the inside of the cabinet, the underside of the new countertop, the newly-tiled floor, the bowl I had optimistically placed under the valve to collect any water drips, and my eyeglasses.

At this point, you might note, if you're really paying attention, that I'm on my 1-day furlough between landing at DFW airport and taking off on the bike for a long trip. So, you know, some laundry would be great, but a shower would be essential. Meaning that Rose had to go to Home Depot and find parts and fix the sink. You see what I did there? I separated that into THREE tasks. First: go to Home Depot. Second: find parts. Third: fix sink. When step 2 doesn't work, step 1 and 2 must both be repeated before step 3 can commence. And so steps 1 and 2 were repeated... THREE TIMES. I do not fault Rose for this. I have been told by every person who has touched the plumbing in my house that it is non-standard.

After the first attempt at finding parts using her "meh, this looks right" strategy, Rose chose to use my strategy of "read everything and choose accordingly" on her second run at Home Depot. This was unsuccessful due to catastrophic failure of the labeling system at Home Depot. You'd think that if the Library of Congress can correctly catalog 142 million items, Home Depot could correctly label a handful of plumbing supplies. On her third attempt, she used my father's "buy one of everything and if nothing fits you'll have enough spare parts to rig it" strategy. Unfortunately for me, Rose has used this (repeatedly) as evidence that Reading Doesn't Work in the complex world of home repair and wrench slinging.

After three trips and more frustration than it should really be possible to experience on a Friday afternoon, however, Rose emerged victorious and we had a shower and some laundry going. We had a couple of beers to reset the frustration meter back to zero, and THEN we started packing!

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