A cat by any other name

Plumber Boy and Putty Girl



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Meow to me

Having finally been driven to the brink of insanity for too long by the sound of the dripping faucet (okay, so it's been more like a steady stream than a drip lately), I determined to dive into the murky world of do-it-yourself plumbing again. But this time no mere showerhead stood to be changed. Oh no! This time it was an entire faucet!

One thing about having some situation where the only time one would want the landlord to come over is in a dire emergency like, say, it's raining in my hall, is that I have learned to be rather self-sufficient when it comes to home repairs. I figure it's probably a good thing - everyone should know their way around a tool box, and it's actually a good way to make yourself proud of yourself when you can fix something all by yourself. Naturally, now that Richard has moved in, I didn't want him to miss a single moment of that self-pride stuff, so I suggested we replace the faucet this weekend. In between moving him and his 7,329 books into the house.

Okay. I'm exaggerating. (There's only 7,238). On the plus side, I've got *tons* of new reading material to distract me from doing more menial tasks like scouring hard water stains from the sink, but wow does that man have books!

But anyway. Back to the plumbing. A faucet. In order to replace one, we had to go get it. Off to the hardware store, where we pondered the shelves until we found one that most closely approximated the existing faucet. Then I cornered their plumbing expert for advice, which involved him opening the box and suggesting that perhaps we really didn't want to do the *full* replacement, which would have included some rather large pipe sections and detaching the whole sink from the pipes below. Gee. For some odd reason, Richard and I decided rather hastily that he was right, and we really could leave *that* bit of fun for another day. Armed with faucet, a pair of tiny rubber connectors, and a jar of putty (plumber's putty to be precise. Not to be confused with whatever other types of putty there are...it was fun and squishy and sort of like clay, and quite useful for more than just creating a water-tight seal underneath a newly installed faucet. It's got just the right stickiness to tug a stopper from a drain, were you to put the wrong drain stopper in and have a moment's panic because it wedged itself in there and you cannot get it out...but where was I?) we headed back to the house to wreak havoc....um...I mean, replace the faucet.

The very helpful plumbing person at the hardware store had given us dire warnings about the hoses underneath, making it sound as if they might break if we merely gave them a hard glare, and if *those* broke, then we'd have to replace the valves...and frankly, after deciding to avoid the scary pipe sections of the faucet, the thought of replacing valves was even more daunting, so I climbed into the cupboard under the sink, wrench in hand, and rather gingerly loosened the screws while Richard, in an attempt to be helpful (uh. Not!), regaled me with a blow-by-blow account of how the cats were coming up and sniffing me because I was doing Something Weird.

Using a wrench while giggling helplessly and trying to avoid breaking hoses is not quite as easy as it sounds. Thus, I determined that it was Richard's turn to Play With Plumbing. Out I crawled, and in he wriggled, while I assisted by handing him wrenches, bolts, and trying my best to make him laugh (payback, you see).

We had a brief moment of panic when the handles under the sink didn't turn off the water supply, but that only meant we got to go figure out just where the main water connections were for the house. And when I went out to turn the water back on, I was half-expecting to come back inside to bellows of "Turn it off!" as we discovered a leak or something in our newly installed faucet.

But there was no yell. We did it. A perfectly installed faucet. No leaks or drips. It's all shiny silver and water tight.

The ironic thing about this whole ordeal is that if I didn't have more cats than the lease states, I'd probably be perfectly happy to just call the landlord and have him come over anytime something like this needs doing. But because I'm ultra-paranoid about having him in the house when I'm not here (that whole pesky lease-violating thing), what's resulted is that I've had to learn to fend for myself. Plumbing isn't really all that scary when you've played with it for a bit. Most of that Fix-it type stuff isn't.

Hmm. I *knew* if I tried really hard, one of these days I'd find a great reason for why having all these cats is a *good* thing....