Thursday, November 12, 2009


There are two systems in our house that I generally do not care to fuck around with: Electrical and Plumbing. And there are plenty of good reasons for this.

Number one: I am Jewish. With few exceptions, the relationship between Jews and Handyman-Related Tasks is not a happy one. My friend Gary is reasonably handy, but he’s the exception. And to those who point out that the founders of Home Depot, Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank, are both Jews, all I will say is that these guys were very good businessmen, but I’m not convinced either of them could distinguish the business end of a screwdriver from the handle.

Number two: Concerning electrical systems, I have an enormous respect for an invisible form of energy that can make you dead if you screw up. I’ll install the occasional light fixture or switch, and I’m happy to change light bulbs when required, but that’s as far as I’ll go.

Number three: Plumbing, aside from the fact that fuckups may result in various forms of water damage, is mostly disgusting. Take your average P-trap. Open one of those bad boys up and you’ll soon learn where all the accumulated hair, boogers, and fingernails go, there to get trapped in a matrix of soap scum and all-around shit. Feh to the Barf, sez I.

Nevertheless, I will, just for shits ’n’ grins, take on the odd Home Improvement Project... just to prove what an idiot I am.

This week’s project was replacing the sink hardware in the Mistress of Sarcasm’s bathroom. The Mistress has been complaining mightily of having to use excessive force to turn the hot water valve, and the Missus has been wanting to replace the bathroom fixtures in any event. And so it was that we headed off to Home Depot to procure a new set of faucets... faucets that promised to be easy to install owing to their Modern, Advanced Design.

Hey: Anything would be better than the builder-grade shit I was replacing. Cheap and nasty, its only virtue was that it was somewhat functional.

“I can do this!” I told myself. After all, hadn’t I installed a couple of brand-new toilet seats a few months ago?

Well, faucets and toilet seats may both be found in the Toidy-Room, but that’s as far as their similarity extends. Faucets, I found out, are a lot harder.

To install the new hardware, I first had to remove the old hardware. And that, Esteemed Readers, is a Gold-Plated Bitch.

Removing the sink drain wasn’t all that tough. You just disconnect the P-trap (yeccch) and loosen the big nut that holds the drain pipe, then pull the whole mess out. Clots of fifteen-year-old plumber’s putty, old hair, and other revolting crap get all over, but that’s part of the fun.

The tricky part, of course, was the faucets themselves, thanks to their location at the back of the sink. Just getting to them required wedging myself into the cabinet under the sink, a feat worthy of a circus contortionist... and then, of course, the real work begins: getting a wrench on the locknuts. Locknuts, it should be pointed out, that had not been moved in fifteen years. They were not happy about being moved now.

After fiddle-farting with the hot-water side and failing to loosen the escutcheon that sits atop the sink (it being welded in place with fifteen years worth of corrosion and grachitz), I finally did what I should have done at the outset: Call the Gawd-damned plumber.


But think of all the exercise I got! Not to mention the scrapes and bruises... and the great big boost to my Sense of Humility and Uselessness.

Postscriptum: The plumber is here now, and I don’t feel nearly as ridiculous as I had before... because he had to cut one of the old faucets off to remove it.

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