Updated Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday

Friday, January 09, 2009

Do NOT F*ck with the Plumber

And so with the emergence of the master, the Sink Chronicles come to a bittersweet end.

On a side note: the house has never been cleaner.

See, interesting thing - when my Dad offered to pop by and fix things (and I accepted) I forgot one little detail: My fiancée and my Dad have yet to meet.

Can I just say that she was less than pleased with me that this was how our first meeting was going to go down?

So... uh, yeah.

The house is clean now.

Like, uh, hella clean.

"Brandon-Took-A-Toothbrush-To-The-Chrome-Oven-Handles" clean.

Life lesson #784: Consult with Fiancée regarding said matters before making plans/confirming on the spot. (Why do I have a sinking feeling this is going to be a hard lesson to learn?)


At 8pm last night my Dad drives in, all smiles, toolbox at the ready. He envelops her in a massive hug and welcomes her to the family. She's a bit taken aback at first (he gives big hugs) but soon is all hugs herself. He smiles at me and we embrace like soldiers preparing to take the hill.

A seasoned pro, he slides to his side by the sink, looking at what remains of the old pipes and chuckling with sympathy as I recount my adventures thus far. I hand him my parts and he fits it all together in a heartbeat, tightening it in place with his battle-scarred hands - until it pops off the threads.

Somewhere, deep inside, my vindication-meter burbles to life and starts climbing.

He nods to himself, an understanding reached at some subconscious Human-Pipe level. He holds it up to me "The threads are screwed". I take it in hand, looking at it, they look fine to me - nothing in the way, no cracks, no nothing. "What do you mean?"

Dad sits up, a sage Plumber Buddha. Taking it in his hands, holding it to the light he motions me closer. "See how the thread edges are rounded like that? It can't dig in and hold a grip - that's why they're popping off, you're tightening it up but the threads can't take the pressure".


He reaches around into the bag of goodies, pulls out a new pipe (with dishwasher attachment!) - apparently he stopped off at Home Depot and, well, bought one of everything.

Back down under the sink, he starts to laugh.

"Did you get a bit frustrated?"


He undoes the lock-nut, pops out the strainer-basket. I hunker down beside him, see the dented threads and cringe. Riiiight. He smiles and pulls a new strainer-basket out, unboxes it and installs it. By himself. He holds the basket in place with one hand, setting and tightening the lock nut with the other.

I note out loud that his strainer-basket looks decidedly sturdier than mine - he grins. Apparently I bought the 'pretty' one.

Great. My face reddens. He pats me on the back: "You had all the right parts, you had it set up right, but you're new at this - don't know what's quality and what's not. Don't beat yourself up about it. Now you know". I fight off a smile as my vindication-meter bursts its seal and starts a flood of its own.

With his free hand he installs the new tailpiece, it sticks in place like it was welded there. On with the extension piece (that was mine!) before readying the new P-Trap.

She pipes up (pun!! ha!), noting that our old one has a crack in it - wondering how it happened. He looks at it, nodding again, noting the corrosion. "Could've been anything. These old pipes, they can wear down on ya. I've seen'em get paper-thin in some places - just a touch'll do'em".

He screws the new P-Trap into place, tightens it all with the pliers and looks up.

"Let'r rip".

And so I do. Water streams from the faucet, gurgling as it bounds down the pipes (and not onto the floor for once!). We watch.

He runs his hands along the pipes, checking for leaks, checking for water.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

My eyes bulge. He smiles knowingly. It's dripping alright, but from someplace else. Someplace new. Off with the water, he unscrews the P-Trap - turns out our old P-Trap wasn't the only thing that was corroded. Dad runs his fingers around the threads of the pipe jutting out from the wall. He turns "So, how long are you going to keep this place?"

Turns out the actual pipe sticking out of the wall has a hole in it, eaten right through it - right above the threads. Wow - I never would've even caught that. He reaches into his bag, pulls out a length of pipe. "I can cut it off and weld you on a new one, or I can Goop it".

She decides to forego any active welding - something about being uneasy around fire and particle board (Pfft!). So dad hooks up the pipe and coats the threads and nut and hole in this 'Goop' stuff.

"Try it again"

Once again we're off - water flows (much like the Spice), not a Drip to be heard.

We wait and listen for anything, any sound. Nothing.

Smiles all around. At last, finally, the task is at an end. Our journey complete, we celebrate with a few bowls of freshly cut Asian pear (which Dad had never tried before and LOVES).

It's over.

Until she asks if he could take a look at the leaking washing machine.


But that's a story for another time.



Rich Baldwin said...

The moral of the story: it might look like an Act Three problem, but you should go back and look at Act One first?

Brandon Laraby said...


I was originally going to write this whole big post about how this darn thing played out very much like a screenwriting problem... but I decided to try and see if I could manage subtext.

An attempt to be less 'on the nose'. :P

But yeah, damn near pulled my hair out by the handfuls over this :P