My kitchen sink has been broken for three days. I discovered the problem because Terry, my dark brown, ergonomic rug was soaked early one morning. I didn’t even want to know what was wrong with it, so instead of crawling under there and looking to see where the water was fountaining, I just turned the knob off and made coffee. Then, rather than dealing with the problem by calling the appropriate authorities (the G.P. or a plumber), I just left the water off and did my dishes with the hose. Things started to get pretty real this morning. You can only pretend you’re camping for so long before reality descends like an axe. As I stood, hosing out a pan, ankle deep in yard mud, I decided I was going to “McGyver the hell out of it,” fixing my leaky sink the scrappy old fashioned way with positive vibes and duct tape. I was pretty sure I had at least one of those items in stock.
I actually have ‘fixed’ things using gum wrappers before, but mostly those things were pieces of gum that needed wrappers. I don’t know what makes me so uniquely confident in my ability to repair objects, but it’s certainly not personal experience. I have this idea that I’m crafty, and it’s been in my head since childhood. When I was 8, I stole a bunch of wood and some hand tools out of the G.P.’s workshop and constructed rickety handmade furniture that I then tried to sell on our front lawn. My parents found me a few hours later, totally dejected because no one wanted a table that kept falling over. People notice things like that, no matter how much you claim that it was “designed” that way. And this was not an isolated incident. Another time my friend Emily and I stole what we thought were some boards but were actually parts of an antique mahogany bookcase. We nailed them to a tree to make a club house. We even had a sign: “Wild Hors Club.” I maintain that it was supposed to say “Horses,” but others in the family are unsure. And even that wasn’t enough to stop me…I later: made my own homecoming dress that mostly held together, hand dyed Easter Eggs with onion skins that just turned out looking like brown eggs, almost blew up a city block assembling my own propane grill, rewired a light fixture that I constantly worry about just a little bit every time I walk by it because I’m still not sure which color went with what, and don’t get me started on the duct tape. There is a lot of cheap furniture in my house that is made mostly of wood glue and painted duct tape.
Still, this morning, there was no doubt in my mind that I could fix a significantly leaking faucet with a pretty okay flashlight, a pair of pliers, some pipe tape and a permanent felt tip marker (I don’t know why I needed a Sharpie. It just felt right). I didn’t neglect my due diligence, though. I messaged a Dude. It’s not that I don’t believe in women’s equality, I just don’t currently know any ladies other than myself that mess with this stuff. If you are that lady, let’s be best friends. We can drink chardonnay, talk about boys and rewire my primary pond pump.
Here’s a transcript of this morning’s Plumbing With Dudes session: (warning: if you can’t handle technical terminology like “thingy,” maybe skip this bit):
Me: Hey…my sink is leaking like a bleepity bleep bleeper. I think it’s where the hose thingy connects to the faucet deal. So…here’s what I’m thinking: first I find out for sure where all this water is coming from (I’m only fairly sure it’s not space), then I turn off the water to the house, unscrew the thingy that attaches the dealy, do the pipe tape all up in there, and then screw the bleeper back together?
Dude: That sounds right to me. Make sure you put the pipe tape going in the right direction.
Me: Um…explain “right direction.”
Dude: Not counter direction of the threads when tightening. Youtube if you have to. I’d explain it better, but I’m not a plumber.
Me: (after watching the world’s most boring Youtube video on application of pipe tape which did NOT need to be 9 minutes long) I’m encouraging myself by thinking about how proud I will be if I fix it while simultaneously ignoring how very awful everything could get if I utterly bleep it up.
Cut to FIVE MINUTES LATER after I crawled under the sink, turned the water back on and got hit in the face with a not very nice deluge. I’m not sure it was water. It was wet. I’m trying not to think of all the gross things in the world that are wet. I’m pretty sure it’s most of them.
Me: Yeah, I looked under there. I can’t fix it.
At this writing, the G.P. is scheduled to arrive to help me fix Old Sinkful in a couple of hours. He was not totally happy to get the call, nor was I thrilled to make it. I do not suffer defeat with very great aplomb, and I am literally dying to go over there and pull the entire thing apart into its component bits because the sink is now THE ENEMY. I have pliers. I have pipe tape. I have a not so terrible flashlight. I have a sharpie. I also have a really big hammer. The bleeps are going to be epic.