November 22, 2013
A few weeks ago, the handle in my shower started leaking. I called our awesome plumber, who came and replaced a piece inside the center of it. It not only stopped the leaking, it made the handle SO much easier to turn on and off. It makes me happy every time I do it.
Happy enough that I wished I’d had him do the same to the matching faucet handle on the sink. But a couple of weeks after the shower incident, the faucet started to leak, too. And the one in my husband’s bathroom was drippy and so old the only thing to be done was replace it. So we went to Home Depot and bought replacements.
DIY is not for the faint of heart. Our house was built in 1962, which doesn’t sound that old, but the builder apparently didn’t like doing things the “standard” way, or the “smart” way. No, they did everything the “crappy, least amount of effort we can get away with, who cares if it has any logic or makes anything work properly” way.
What a nightmare. The old faucet had odd, non-flexible water lines of a non-standard length, but the new faucet’s water lines were about an inch too short to reach the connectors. So I had to make a trip to Home Depot to get new water lines. The shortest they had were 12 inches. They are very bendy. We had to go a second time to exchange the wrong-sized ones (I’d bought both sizes) for new ones for my husband’s faucet, which had a similar problem. Once we got all the old stuff removed and all the proper parts, my new faucet was easy to install.
Not so in the other bathroom. He tried to replace the drain pipe/stopper, and corroded, ancient trap busted clean through. We had to call a plumber for that. I undid the stopper in my drainpipe and left the old one in place, because I’m positive my sink would crumble to pieces if I tried to remove the drain. Also, the length doesn’t match. I slid the stopper that matches my faucet into the hole, but it doesn’t work right.
So there was that big task done. We replaced the carbon monoxide detectors in the house…easy-peasy. I also replaced our bedroom smoke detector. The old one had gone off in the middle of the night for no reason. Seriously, there was no fire. That was WEEKS ago, and we’re all still here. I also rearranged my office for freelance work-related reasons and spent a fun day running an ethernet cable for the fax machine across the entire ceiling in my basement (diagonally). The fiberglass burns only lasted a day or so.
When we got the bathroom faucets, we also bought a new one for the kitchen. The old one had semi-busted years ago, so the sprayer no longer worked. I’d had a handyman company in who replaced the sprayer, but it turned out the problem was actually the valve inside the faucet or something. So I wanted my damned sprayer back. We got a simple, single-unit faucet with a pull-down sprayer, and today (that is, a Sunday two weeks ago) I insisted on installing it.
Here’s how it went:
1. Drag everything out from under the sink.
2. Spend hours battling with uncoupling lines and squeezing hands and tools into two-inch gaps to try to untwist too-tight nuts that are too big for our wrenches.
3. Use hacksaw to cut through water lines and hoses so we can strip the damned things out when the connectors won’t come undone. This is called “The Point of No Return.”
4. Insert new faucet. Reverse the struggle to squeeze into two-inch spaces behind the extra-deep sink that I love when we’re NOT STRUGGLING TO GET INTO THE TOO-SMALL SPACE BEHIND IT.
5. Duct-tape to the corner the electrical cable left over from when the garbage disposal couldn’t be reconnected to the new sink because the hole in the wall was not in the right place and the plumber couldn’t get the outlet pipe to stop leaking and finally asked permission to rip the damned unit out, leaving the pointless ancient electric cable to get in our faces no matter which friggin’ way we bent and curved it around pipes and hoses.
6. Turn on the water. Curse when it gushes all over the damned place.
7. Hours (or maybe 15 minutes or so) after trying to figure out why the hose coupling isn’t working, determine the problem is actually that the pull-down sprayer was not tightened on the hose, pushing water back up through the faucet and down the pipe.
8. Tighten the sprayer on the hose. Realize that despite my careful initial placement, the water lines got switched at some point (as in, when we determined that the connector for the faucet is a different size from the connector to the water intake, necessitating additional too-long water lines to adapt them).
9. Test the water over time, disconnect one of the water lines to wrap some tape so it doesn’t leak those tiny little drops it’s leaking (but don’t have the brainpower to disconnect the other one and swap them so the right temp comes out when you push the handle that way).
10. High five each other for a job well done.
11. Put everything back under the sink, except all the bottles you took out that were nearly empty or not needed, so now the cabinet is neat and tidy and not overcrowded at all.
12. Cackle every time you use the sprayer.
So now, after cramming myself under the sink over and over for hours, and contorting my body, I am in serious need of an adjustment. Good thing I work for a chiropractor! I also have severe muscle fatigue and tenderness where I dropped a wrench on my left eye. (Thank goodness for eye sockets!) Anyway, bottom line is that I am DONE with household projects for a while.
What DIY adventures have YOU been getting into lately?