By Jim Lee
I know of three situations that call for automatic cussing: (1) snagging my nose in a band saw, (2) dropping a bowling ball on my left foot, and (3) installing a new kitchen faucet.
On a scale of enjoyment, these activities rate somewhere between watching reruns of Gilligan’s Island and getting a tooth drilled. This should give some idea of the festivities taking place during a recent weekend.
A wonderful time was had by all.
This time band saws and bowling balls did not enter the scene. It was the weekend of the dreaded kitchen faucet replacement. (Insert scary music here.)
The demonic device lurked in that box ominously placed on the table in the breakfast nook by my relentless wife, who was hell bent on ending my procrastination.
The new faucet had just been there in its cardboard container daring me to touch it for the past six months. It silently taunted me, ridiculed me — just like that haughty tool box in the garage. They’re all out to get me. They think I don’t know that, but they don’t fool me.
That Torquemada in the guise of a faucet assumes it has me intimidated, has caused me to put off the project. Little does it know that I never did get around to procrastinating. I simply had other things to do, things that were really important … uh … stuff.
The situation began with a trip out of town and a casual stop at one of those large home improvement stores. Saundra saw a kitchen faucet (with sprayer) she really liked and reminded me of the leaky one at home. About $140 later (plus tax), we were on our way.
Shortly thereafter I added to my tool box a crescent wrench, an offset wrench (exclusively for working under a sink), and a plastic packet of wrenches that were round on one end and open on the other.
After a few threats to call a plumber, probably one that charged by the carat, I got the hint. All the junk from under the sink sat on that table in the breakfast nook. I was cornered. Trapped like a road runner in a revolving door.
I crawled under the sink in defiance of arthritis and the years I’ve denied for years. The packet of wrenches were metric. The connections were SAE. The cat used my pot belly as a trampoline. The dog laughed at me. Saundra cheerfully contributed gratuitous opinions. Everyone seemed to enjoy my long-awaited debut into the wonderful world of plumbing. I felt like a piñata at Saddam Hussein’s birthday party.
I managed to undo those hose/pipe things. That helped me remember to turn off the water. Fortunately, a bucket was nearby.
After bailing out of the immediate area, I went back to work. I managed to get the old faucet/sprayer contraption disconnected in less than three hours. Pretty good, eh?
I started to install the new one. The new hose/pipe things didn’t fit. The contraption did not come with an adapter. The dog rolled on the floor in hysterical laughter at this point.
This time Saundra did not call Dave. I called Dave. I asked if adapters existed. He came over and looked at the connections.
He said I had the wrong-size hoses. But the hoses came with the original faucet. They were still the wrong size.
Off to the friendly hardware store guy for more hose/pipe things. A couple of hours later I had it installed. I actually did it. After all that, I think I deserve a new sledge hammer.
I suppose I should turn the water back on to see if it drips. Maybe next month.
Jim Lee is news director for KENW-FM radio. He also is an English instructor. He can be contacted at 359-2204. His e-mail: