Adventures in Plumbing

Sudden showers with heavy localized flooding.

The local weather report? Nope.

The state of my kitchen, Monday night.

Let me explain…

Our kitchen faucet has needed to be replaced for a while. Turning it on, no matter how carefully, resulted in a splurt of water followed by a whole lot of nothing.

You had to close the handle and ease it open again, hoping that whatever was loose in there would hold this time. If you were lucky, you could coax it up to a heavy trickle. If not, the flow would dwindle and die, leaving you to start the process again.

This made doing dishes a challenge, to say nothing of hand washing, drink getting, and any cooking that required water.

Sunday, MrH bought a new faucet. Unfortunately, he ran out of weekend before he got around to installing it. Since we have plans next weekend, I figured I’d be stuck dealing with the old faucet for another couple of weeks.

I began to think I’d be better off toting buckets of water from the bathroom.

The Adventure Begins

Monday night after dinner, I was sitting at the computer when MrH announced that he was going to replace the faucet.

Now? I thought. MrH has an exceeding dislike for plumbing. Besides, it was late, he was tired, and I knew his shoulder was hurting.

“Now?” I asked, to make sure.

“If I don’t do it now,” he said grimly, “It won’t get done.”

I returned to writing, keeping an ear cocked toward the kitchen.

There was the sound of the new faucet being unpacked. The cupboard doors under the sink creaked open, and there were banging and clanking noises.

There was cursing.

“Do you need help?” I called from the bedroom.

He assured me that he didn’t.

There were more plumbing noises. There was more cursing.

All at once there was a new sound. The sound of rushing water. I thought perhpas he’d turned the faucet on to test the flow, but it didn’t stop.

There was another curse, softer than before.

As MrH had wrestled with the connections, the cutoff valve had pulled loose from its pipe, and water was now streaming merrily, unstoppably, into the kitchen.

While our sons ran for bath towels and tried to dam the tide rapidly spreading across the kitchen floor, MrH ran outside to the water cutoff. He came running back in for a flashlight and ran out again. He came in for someone to hold the flashlight, and he and our older son ran out together. Back in for something to bail with, since recent rain had left the meter covered with water. Back out again.

Our younger son continued piling towels in the water’s path. I brought him more.

Finally, mercifully, the water stopped.

Flood Control

I still hadn’t ventured into the kitchen, but MrH estimates there was about an inch and a half of water on the floor.

I suggested that we sweep it out the back door, but this was vetoed due to things stacked between the kitchen and the back door. While MrH surveyed the damage, our younger son began sopping the water up with the towels and wringing it into buckets, while our older son grabbed the sponge mop.

Unable to squeeze into the kitchen, I stood in the living room, feeling useless.

I got another idea. The vacuum!

Rather than a traditional upright model, we’ve always had a wet/dry shop vacuum. We’d never tested its ability to suck up water, but now seemed the perfect time to start.

The vacuum really sucked. In this case, that was a good thing!

While our older son vacuumed, our younger son wrung out towels and I carried them outside and draped them over the porch rails. I couldn’t help but think of them as our white flag of surrender to the water elementals who’d possessed our kitchen.

The Aftermath

The situation ended, as situations do. Our older son secured the loose fitting onto the pipe where it belonged, and he and MrH finished installing the faucet.

Our younger son and I sopped up the rest of the water with the remaining dry towels and dumped the partly-filled buckets.

MrH dumped the vacuum canister.

The new faucet works fine, though I’m still getting used to having a central lever instead of two handles. Washing dishes is certainly easier.

I’m not sure what the moral of the story is, if there is one.

“There’s nothing like a disaster to bring a family together?”

Or maybe,

“Avoid late-night plumbing projects when you’re already tired and sore?”

Make me feel better by sharing your disastrous home repair stories in the comments!

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2 thoughts on “Adventures in Plumbing

  1. A word of advice from one who has been there – if you didn’t take the dust filter out of your wet/dry vac before you started sucking up water, take it out now and get it dry as quickly as possible.

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    1. Ha! Oh, that would have been the icing on the cake, wouldn’t it?

      We did pull the filter, thank goodness, and MrH put everything back together a couple of days later when everything had had a chance to dry.

      On FaceBook, my mom reminded me that we’d been through something similar years ago when my dad was replacing the same faucet, except on that occasion the valve slipped off the hot water pipe and he didn’t have the advantage of knowing where the cutoff was. There may have been a bit of swearing that time around, too. 🙂

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