It's not about the house.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Darkened Kitchen #1,000,001

Continued from the post below.

After I discovered that the drainpipe drip had morphed into a madhouse shower, I shut the water off and went to bed.

Well, what would you do?

In the morning (this would have been Monday morning), I didn’t have much time – what with all the watching-John-Adams-On-Demand that I wanted to get done before I had to go to work. But as long as that faucet wasn't running, the leak was held at bay, so I resolved to keep doing what I’d been doing all night. Namely: not washing dishes.

I don’t mean to brag, but I could keep this up indefinitely if I have to. I’m selfless and brave like that. Especially when it comes to putting out fires in the AssVac, I am perfectly willing to do nothing for the cause.

But then that voice piped up again. “If Johnny gets home,” it said, “and you have not only managed to turn a drip into a madhouse shower, but you have refused to call for help and left a week’s worth of dirty dishes in the sink – well, what would you do to him if the situation were reversed?”

Reflexively, I covered my testicles – only to realize anew that I had none. On the spot, I resolved to grow a pair of my own by the end of the day.

On my way home that afternoon, I swung into Home Depot. Walked into the plumbing department, searched out the most-knowledgeable-looking sales clerk I could find (read: oldest, and carrying an official-looking gadget of some sort), and cleared my throat.

“Excuse me,” I said, squeaking the way I do when I’m trying not to come across all submissive and dumb (it works a charm, I tell you what). “Could I ask your advice about something, please?”


“I'm assuming you work in the plumbing department?”

“You assume.”

Hm. In retrospect I realize that wasn’t quite a yes. But I’m sure he did, ’cuz watch what happened next.

“I have a PVC pipe that’s leaking at the joint,” I said – and let me tell you boys and girls, I was damn proud of myself for knowing those two things. “I’m wondering if there’s any sort of cement or putty or something that I can just sort of shove in there to make it stop.”

I don’t know how he figured out I had no idea what I was doing.

“Well,” he said, “that all depends. Has it been glued?”


I tell you, I don't know how he sussed me out. Maybe the crickets filled him in?

“How about this,” he continued, still mercifully willing to pretend we might come to a solution. “Is it at a corner?”

“Yes! Well, not at the corner, but there’s a u-joint, and the leak is right below.”

“Ah, so it’s at the trap?”

“Yes! Yes. Definitely at the trap.”

“What kind of trap is it?”


Damn crickets.

“All right, come with me.” He led me around to the next aisle over, held up two different kinds of traps, and asked me to point to the one I recognized.

“Oh,” I said, “the trap...

“No, ahem, I didn’t mean to say it’s at the trap. It’s in the basement. The pipe goes through the floor and turns a corner, and it’s right after that.”

“So it’s at the elbow joint?” And he picked one up, just to be sure.

Elbow joint, that’s what I said! Oh no, wait a minute. Rewind up a couple paragraphs. Yeah, I said u-joint, didn’t I? Damn. I must have been thinking about my car. You see: cars, I know. U-joint, exhaust manifold, carburator, all that good stuff. (And if you're familiar with these terms, then now you know I've never owned a car made in this century -- or in the final decade of the last one -- but that's beside the point.)

“Yes,” I said in a distinctly Eeyore tone. “Elbow joint. That's what it is. Elbow.”

And here is where I just gave up. I hung my head and said the words that I’m sure had Mary Lyon rolling over in her laurel-laden grave:

“My husband’s out of town.”

Somehow, this did not surprise him.

In my defense, this was not intended to be a “save me, I’m a helpless woman” plea. It was meant as more of a passing-of-the-buck excuse: “I’m not quite the idiot you think I am; this is not supposed to be my job.” Like explaining that the sandwich I’m ordering is not for me when the guy at the deli doesn’t understand why I don’t know what kind of cheese I want. He doesn’t care who it's for, he just wants to get the sandwich made and move on to the next customer.

“The thing is,” Plumbing Guy went on, and I could tell by his tone of voice this was the end of our interaction, “if it has been glued, there’s really nothing to be done but take the pipe out and replace it.” My eyes, I know, went all a-goggle at this bit of information. “But I can sell you some tape that will patch it temporarily.”

He was kind enough to not say what he really meant, which was: “until your husband gets home and can take care of things for real.” But I don’t blame him for thinking it. How could I?

The tape seemed like a bad idea to me, but I bought it anyway. At least, if I did decide to use it, I wouldn’t have to go back out and repeat the whole humiliating process.

Maybe I would wash the dishes in the bathroom. Maybe I would continue to not use the kitchen sink, and maybe I would warn Johnny when he got home to not use the kitchen sink, and maybe this would not exactly thrill him, but at least it was better than being greeted – after an exhausting week of traveling from stout to bitter to Budweiser and back again – by a kitchen sink full of dirty, stinking pots and pans.

Speaking of which: if I’m not mistaken, there still ought to be a Guinness or two around here somewhere, leftover from St. Patty’s Day…

Sorry folks, brevity has never been my strong point. I’ll wrap it up tomorrow. Figuratively speaking, that is. Unless I decide to use the tape.

In the meantime, that TITLE is pretty darn obscure, but if anyone wants to take a stab at EXPLAINing it, I feel as though I might have a POEM coming on. The hints are all here, if you plug the right combination of keywords (plus – here's another hint – one extra "s") into the search engine of your choice...

3 comments: said...

"Reflexively, I covered my testicles – only to realize anew that I had none."


theotherbear said...

Well, you wouldn't want to overdo it by actually USING the magic tape yet, would you. Plus, that would mean you'd have to wash up once you fix it. Bad idea.

Anonymous said...

don't forget headers and overhead cam!