Monday, February 7, 2011

The One About the Faucet

I arrived home that Friday night looking forward to relaxing in front of a mind-numbing television show while working on a knitting project, or perhaps doing a bit of spinning. After walking into the house and tossing my crap on the counter, I gave Sophie a fresh bowl of water.

Turn faucet on, fill dog bowl, turn water off, put dog bowl back in its place, notice water is still running. Well...that's not supposed to happen.

I turned the water on and off again. Still running. On and off. Still running. Shit. The plan I had for a mind-numbing Friday night was quickly escaping my grasp. The only logical thing to do at that point was to go under the sink and turn the water off that way, which meant moving the garbage can and all that weird stuff that accumulates under the sink. Three bottles of Windex. Really? (This is even funnier if you could see my windows. Smudged is the new clear.)

I turned off the water and attacked the faucet. I'm not afraid of simple home repairs and I've tackled faucets before. I took the faucet handle off and broke the little blue/red plastic thing that covered the screw. Well, crap, but I'll just buy a new dang faucet and start from scratch. It can't be much harder than fixing the 16-year-old faucet that won't turn off, right? Ha.

I walked into Home Depot and ventured into faucet aisle. Good Lord! Have you looked at faucets lately? It's been 16 years since I've been in the market and I suffered a bit of sticker shock. I really wanted one of those faucet/sprayer combo deals with a magnet that holds the sprayer in place and maybe one I just need to touch to turn on....but $300? Think again. I selected a modest Price Pfister for $80, very similar to the one I had but with a bit higher profile (so I can fill large dye-pots easier.)

It wasn't even 6:30 when I got home, so maybe the mind-numbing night was not all lost. (Think again, my friend!) The cabinet under the sink is a bad nasty place. It's dark. It smells kind of weird. Armed with a flashlight, a pair of pliers, a pair of channel locks and basic common sense, I wriggle myself quite gracefully into the cabinet while lying on my back. I should have added goggles and a rain bonnet to my arsenal. Oh, that crazy hindsight.

After a bit of PG-13 cussing, I was able to remove the old faucet. It gave up rather easily and the only broken piece was some plastic thingy that held the sprayer hose onto the faucet. It didn't look that important. When I pulled the new faucet out of the package the first thing I noticed was the lack of copper and brass. Hmm. My old faucet weighed about as much as a boat anchor. This new faucet was a light-weight. Literally. But it was a Price Pfister and all my other pfaucets are that brand. Not to worry.

I threaded the water lines through the appropriate holes and fastened the faucet to the sink. I chucked the old water lines into the trash because they were no longer needed. I connected the sprayer hose to the faucet, connected the water lines and slowly turned on the water. No drips. This was a good sign.

I unwriggled out from under the cabinet and heaved my butt off the floor. I carefully turned on the water and voila! It worked! Cold water was cold. Hot water was hot. Good pressure. Nice flow. I turned the faucet off, silently congratulating myself on a job well done and the damn thing dripped. WHAT!? Turn water on, turn water off. Drip. On. Off. Drip. DAMMIT!


It's kind of like knitting an elaborately cabled sweater sleeve and getting done only to notice that the FIRST cable all the way down by the cuff was a cable back instead of a cable front. Words aren't strong enough. Don't ask me how I know.

I said something like "screw it" and went out for Thai. When I returned home the faucet was still dripping. I went to bed.

Saturday morning, while laying in bed, I decided that the new faucet was going back and I was going to repair the old faucet. I dressed and went to Lowe's for faucet parts. It was too soon to return to Home Depot. I'm funny like that. $20 later, I returned home with a cartridge kit, a sprayer assembly, some black round things and a couple little springs. After a bit of online research I was able to reconstruct my old faucet with the replacement parts. I was ready.

I wriggled under the cabinet. Again. I removed the faucet. Again. I threaded the old faucet through the holes and fastened it to the sink. Again. I dug the discarded water lines out of the garbage and reconnected the sink to the water. I turned on the water. Not good. Water was coming out of the faucet, spraying all over the kitchen. Shit. Shit. Shit. I got my butt off the floor (pretty quickly this time) and tried to turn off the faucet. I hadn't put the handle on the faucet before I installed it so I had to move the little metal lever to turn it off. I installed the faucet backwards. Pushing the handle to the front was actually turning it on. Seriously. Backwards.

I wriggled under the cabinet. Again. I removed the faucet. Again. I flipped the dang thing around, checked to make sure all the connections were nice and snug. Again. I turned on the water. Again. This time water sprayed throughout the inside of the cabinet, thoroughly soaking me. This is where the shower bonnet and goggles would have been good to have. I turned off the water and indulged in R-rated cussing. A lot of it.

I mean, really?

As I removed the water lines from the faucet, I spewed forth with a steady flow of really bad words, in several languages. Who knew I was multi-lingual? Sure enough, after all the connecting and unconnecting the gaskets in the water lines were shot. I went to Ace. Too soon to return to Lowes and I was still ticked about the pfaucet from Home Depot. I tried to find a 64-cent gasket for the line, but they don't sell just the stinkin' damn gasket. You have to buy the entire freakin' $8.99 water line. Really? Yes, really.

I got home, crawled under the sink one last GD time and reconnected the water lines. With great hesitancy and trepidation, I turned on the water. No drip. No spray. I heaved my weary ass off the floor and turned on the old, repaired faucet and voila! It worked! Cold water was cold. Hot water was hot. Good pressure. Nice flow. I turned the faucet off, silently congratulating myself on a job well done and the damn thing dripped.

I shit you not.

But I can live with it.


GailR said...

I'm laughing, my sides hurt, but it's really because of been there done that. My son the plumber lives in NC so he's no help - except long distance advice like "I told you so"

While it is cold, the drip will keep the pipes from freezing, right?

Take time to knit or spin - or both. You've earned the time.

Chris said...

p.s. It was 4:30 on Saturday when I finally got done. When I took the faucet back to Home Depot, the cashier asked if I wanted to swap it for another one. I started twitching.

Liana said...

OMG, I have missed your posts so much!!! Times like this I REALLY appreciate my DH. I guess I could figure it out if I just HAD to, but I really like being able to throw up my hands and claim.....I don't know nuthin bout birthin no babies Miss Scarlet. So far it's working. :-) I'm very proud of you and wish I could have been a fly on the wall just to watch all your shenanigans. drip, drip, drip

LeAnn said...