Sunday, July 22, 2012

How not to end your week of vacation

Drip, drip, drip.  One of the most annoying sounds on earth. You want to know what is more annoying (and terrifying) than drip, drip, drip? That would be gush, gush, gush! 

Welcome to my world ... Saturday morning ... 5:30 A.M.

We've had a problem for the last couple of years with water dripping from the handles in our master bathroom shower. Previously we had the same problem in the tub of our other bathroom and several years ago Dale and a friend worked all afternoon fixing it. It wasn't easy due to old plumbing and lack of proper tools. But they prevailed and for the most part fixed the problem. I say "for the most part" because one thing they couldn't remedy was water still coming out of the faucet while the shower was running. Fixing it was simply out of their league and our budget. So, for the past few years anyone bathing in that room took a shower/bath.

Imagine how embarrassing it was trying to explain it to overnight guests. But hey, I figured as long as they were getting clean who cared "how" it happened.

Meantime, the handles on the shower stall in our master bath started the same ol' drip, drip, drip problem. It wasn't quite as bad as in the other bathroom and if you pushed real hard when turning the water off you could get the dripping to stop. Remembering how difficult it was to work on the other bathroom, my Mr. Fix-it husband kept putting off tackling the problem, "Sherri you know if I start it, it won't go well, and it's just not something I want to fool with."

I really couldn't argue with him because I don't think we've ever tackled a home improvement project that went smoothly. Either we didn't have the tools we needed,  something else broke while trying to fix the original problem, or the replacement part needed was no longer available, etc. It was always something and sometimes it was multiple somethings that kept the project from running smoothly. So, I agreed with him and learned to just live with and deal with the drip, drip, drip.

I guess it should come as no surprise that as time went on the dripping got worse.  It was getting harder and harder to tighten the handles and it was even harder for me (cause I'm a weakling girl?). There were some mornings when I couldn't for the life of me get the infernal drip to stop. Some days I'd just give up and leave it til hubby got home from work. And, as if the dripping wasn't enough, we were no longer just dealing with dripping handles but now, while showering, just as much water was pouring out of the handles as the shower head!

Now I'm sure some of you are wondering why don't the knuckleheads just call a plumber and have the problem fixed? Well, for one thing, we're the kind of folks who believe in trying to fix whatever we can. There's nothing like the feeling of accomplishment one feels when a project is successfully completed. Ha,ha, ... there's also the main fact that it's a whole lot cheaper to fix something yourself than to pay for a professional to do it for you. So there you have it, we're cheap-o do-it-yourself-ers!

Anyway, a  week or so ago there was a change in the situation. My guess is that each time we twisted the handle just a little tighter it started popping the threads or something because suddenly, more times than not, when we went to turn the handle it just kept twisting. It took a lot of special maneuvering to hit the right spot, but with a lot of work we could stop the flow.

We wondered how long our luck would hold out. In fact, just last night we had a discussion about the handles and hubby stated it was probably just a matter of time before no only would we not be able to stop it from dripping but, "one day that knob is just going to keep turning and turning." Terrified of that scenario I suggested that maybe he and I should just stop using the shower and use the other bathroom. "We'll see, maybe if it gets any worse ..."

Such prophetic words.

Last night I went to bed around 2 AM. Before climbing in bed I went potty one last time. And, yes I'm 55 years old and I still say potty. As I walked into the bathroom I heard it.

Drip, drip, drip.

Dang it! What should I do? Should I try to stop it or should I ignore it and go on to bed? I chose to ignore it. There was no way I was going to fight the drip, drip, drip at that hour. So, I did my business and merrily went to bed. Tomorrow we'll deal with it. Well, techically it was already tomorrow, I guess I meant later-tomorrow.

I guess my big mistake was not letting my husband know the plan. Of course it never dawned on me that he would get up during the early morning hours, hear the drip, drip, drip, and try to stop it.

Silly me.

Around 5:30 AM I woke up. What was that sound coming from the bathroom? Was hubby taking a shower? Sure did sound like it. Silly man. He must have woken up, thought it was a weekday, and was getting ready for work. Hmmm. What was that other sound. Scrape, scrape, scrape. Sounds like he's turning the knobs on the shower





They're turning, scraping, turning, scraping, and the water is running,



Hubby opens the door. Looks at me in dispair and says, "I tried to stop the dripping and now it's running full blast. It




I jump up and stumble into the bathroom. Trying to be helpful I say, "let me give it a try." (Obviously I'm not working with an awake brain here.) Several more attempts by both of us try and stop the water proves futile. A few choice words are spoken and hubby leaves the room. Moments later the water stops.

Ah yes, turn off valve in the workroom. Yay, no more cascading water! Hubby tells me to go back to bed and we'll deal with it all later. That works for me especially since I've only had three-and-a-half of sleep and am obviously not running on full cylinders here. Of course once I return to bed I can't just fall back to sleep. Nope, not me. First I have to lay there and fret over the situation, wondering how we're going to "fix" the whole problem and of course .... how much is this gonna cost us?! After an hour or so of tossing and turning my brain finally clicks off and I drift back to sleep.

All too quickly 9:30 rolls around and hubby has waited long enough. He's ready to tackle the job ahead and thus commences with banging, and sawing, and drilling, and swearing. I won't bore you with all the gory details. Let's just say the job was just as bad as he feared.

The stems to the handles needed to be replaced and they refused to let go of the pipes. I guess they figured they've been around 40+ years and didn't plan on leaving without a fight. One of the stems gave up early on but the second stem was one stubborn piece of @#$% metal. The job took eight hours, two trips to Home Depot, and lots 

and lots of tools. It was also a three man (well, two guys and a girl) job. When Dale started sawing with a hack saw I knew it was time to bring in the reinforcements. He's just getting over severe back/shoulder/arm issues and no way did I want him doing anything to aggravate it so Andrew was routed from his cave to provide muscle and moral support. I was more of a behind-the-scenes helper as I searched the internet for solutions and suggestions, and I also provided lots of fretting and hand wringing.

My guys prevailed and finally success was theirs. Par for the course there were the mysterious "parts" that didn't get used  and a huge mess to clean up. This is the only shot of the mess that I dare show online 
Here you'll see the residue from all the sawing and if you look close (STOP! Don't really look, it's too gross looking) you will see pieces of drywall, metal shavings, and the one fatality of the whole ordeal, the tile behind the cold water handle.

So, there you have it, our story of how we spent the last day of vacation. Now wasn't that a lot of fun? And, if you're expecting a final photo of our new, non-dripping handles, I'm sorry to disappoint. Didn't I mention that our projects never turn out like we planned? That darn broken tile ruined what was ultimately a successful albeit time consuming home repair job. For now the tile hasn't been replaced but sports an ugly patch which will hopefully one day be remedied. Meanwhile I'm keeping it hidden and instead ending with a photo of our little girl.

All the sawing, hammering, drilling, and yells of frustration scared her away form the scene of the crime. She spent most of her day sitting in this box lid, waiting for things to settle down. (And yes, there is a bunch of crap on the floor around her including a used dryer sheet. The silly cat loves those things, drags 'em all over the house. She's weird). I was too busy fixing the dripping shower and didn't around to my weekend chores. Go ahead, make my day. Fire me! As for me, I think I'll hit publish post and then I'm off for a nice long, hot shower.

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