Yesterday, Cheryl breaks the kitchen faucet. It was old and corroded and was destined to break…..probably had not been replaced since 1950, when they first built this place. So…let’s replace it with something nice!
There are two options: One, call the Landlords. Hope they are not in Florida yet and hope they can fix it before next Tuesday. And probably be stuck with the ugliest, cheapest kitchen faucet that resembles the old one, only without the rust and corrosion.
OR……Fix it ourselves! We can choose the faucet AND fix it immediately! What could possibly go wrong?
Well, I’m not a plumber….But what IDIOT can’t do simple Plumbing jobs like replace a kitchen faucet? Before committing to anything beyond me…I scout out the area and make sure I can handle it. Tools? Check! Can I remove the rusty tightening nuts without breaking them? YES! Can I turn the handles to the on/off water supply? YES! DING DING DING! We have our answer….let’s go to Menards!
We ultimately settle on a $30 version of kitchen faucet, seeing as we are paying for this and do not want to “Invest” in a kitchen faucet for an apartment. I check out the components and everything seems in order….it even has a sprayer that has a decent length hose! I’m very excited! I get to fix the sink, Replace it with a NEW one, and look like a HERO to my wife and cat….What could possibly go wrong?
First, I open the box and read the instructions. Now I’m pretty sure I know how to do this…I helped Dad replace a kitchen sink or two when I was younger. ( mostly held the flashlight and handed Dad tools, but I observed and absorbed enough…) BUT! I want to look professional and not forget anything simple. I do what MOST MEN DO NOT…and read the instructions. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
Turn off the water supply….Er…..I turn the nozzles….but water continues to pour out. Is this supposed to happen? It can’t turn any farther…I don’t want to break it. But with the water supply on full throttle….this job is already over before it begins. WAIT! I know where the Main Water Supply for the BUILDING is. If I turn it off for just a few moments…I’ll be able to remove the faucet, attach the new one, and have it all back up and on before anyone notices…..I’m GENIUS!
So…Main water off! Old faucet Removed! Everything is going according to plan AND the instructions that I’m reading. Any wife would ( should!) be proud. I have even kept the mess to a minimum at this point. The water in the supply lines has been neatly captured in a bin, so there is no puddle on the kitchen floor or under the sink. At this point, I need to enlist Cheryl's help. You see…the area under the sink is only slightly smaller than a Loony Toon’s Mouse Hole. I can reach under, but I can not reach over to hold the faucet in place to tighten things. Cheryl is totally Apathetic, Begrudgingly holding the faucet and asking redundant questions like, ”Hold it where?” “How long is this going to take?” “Show me again..” What do I have to do again?”
And then…..I notice the Water Supply Lines do not match up with the faucet connections. I’m not sure why the hot water supply line is so short, but it does not reach to even the lowest connector. Best I can do is move the faucet a bit and hook it up to the other side….meaning that we will have the water lines switched. It does not matter as it is a single lever anyway and we will probably deal with it by adjusting our behavior. I thread the threads with Teflon tape and tighten them with the wrench… ( Being careful not to Over tighten…as the instructions instructed.)…...It is all hooked up and ready to go….Let’s turn on the water.
The problem with turning on the water from kitchen supply line under the sink and turning on the water from the supply line for the building…is the pressure….and the delay reaction time you have from discovering that things are “Bad”. I turn on the water and instantly trigger a flash flood in our kitchen! Cheryl alerts me….Slightly too late….that “something is “wrong”. I race out to turn off the water and come back to have a look…..of course…now the leaks are from everywhere and water is all over the kitchen floor. Cheryl is particularly helpful here….”Where is the leak coming from?” Her response: I don’t know…everywhere!
Panic sets in as the neighbors open their doors and begin asking about the water to the building. I hastily explain the situation and ask for 15 minutes for me to finish things up. The problem I’m not revealing is that there is no way to turn the water back on without flooding my kitchen. My two water supply lines under my sink are stuck open….and Menards is 45 minutes drive away….I don’t even know if I will be able to remove the main lines and keep them from leaking.
By this time, I’m soaked! I’m rolling around in water trying to stop the froth as if I could do it with my hands alone……I’m sitting in pool of dirty water, frantically looking for tools while elevating my vocal spectrum and lowering my vocabulary standards. Cheryl is annoyed.
There are, again, Two options……One: Call the Land Lords and explain the desperate situation to them…..Hopefully they are not in Florida and Hopefully they WILL come over immediately with spare parts they have lying around their maintenance sheds. This, of course, ALSO means that I am admitting defeat and will have to admit to being an idiot for even attempting such a thing. It’s ok, I play the idiot part very well…what is one more incident on my resume’?
OR Option two: Call in Cheryl. Cheryl….knows NOTHING of plumbing. She does not want to get dirty. She does not want to get wet. She Barely knows how to use tools. This seems like a no brainer….except….Cheryl has a very DEEP Seeded desire to NOT involve the Landlords in ANYTHING! Especially things we did not receive permission for.
To be fair…I’m a MUCH BETTER Assistant than she is. When she wants me to help, I hold the light; Turn on the water when she tells me; Turn OFF the water when she tells me; And basically try to help out in whatever way I can. She is smaller and fits in the “Tom and Jerry” sized crawl space under the sink much better than I do.
She removes the Teflon tape, threads the nuts finger tight ( No tools, no stop leak, no instructions, no Professionalism!!!!!) and it’s FIXED! No leaks. HOW? There is no thread sealing tape! The nuts are only connected finger tight! She does not know….She just tells me that I can’t touch anything…..I obey.
So. I somehow cross and navigate every hurdle placed before me, except the last one…where I trip and face plant miserably. Cheryl comes in and saves the day…again. No skill. No instructions. No Landlords! We now have a new kitchen faucet….that works without leaks…but still has the hot and cold lines mixed up. Ah well. We will adjust. Only slightly worse than that is the fact my Hero Status has been tarnished yet again. I’ll get over it….Perhaps being a hero is overrated anyway. I was looking forward to a relaxing evening. I’ll have to remember that next time I attempt to fix something.