Tuesday, January 24, 2012

DIY - Disaster LOC Style

Plumber Tools : Plumbing tools on house blueprint Stock Photo Here is a helpful hint to those who might want to stay married longer than a Kardashian.  Do not ever, and I mean EVER, tell your spouse that you have hired a plumber.  That is do not tell him in advance of the event. 

For if you do, here is what will happen.  Guaranteed.  It is hard-wired into their DNA.  First your significant other will look a little hurt, then puzzled, then put out.  After that, he will ask for the name and number of the plumber you have hired and place a call canceling the service call.

THEN he will patiently explain to you that he can do this himself.  After all, he has watched five or six episodes of DIY (Do-It-Yourself) on TV and .....after that, well honey, you are on your own, because all heck is about to break loose.
However, today a miracle happened at the Young ranch.  I am talking a bona fide, outside the course of normal events in human history, miracle.  The LOC* called a plumber.  Here is why. (*Lovable Old Coot)
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Several years ago, we awoke one cold December morning about 3:00 a.m. - and trust me, I do not ordinarily wake up that early.  But Holly was barking about something, and ordinarily she does not wake up that early either, as she is no spring Lhasa herself.

At first, the LOC thought maybe we had a prowler, but it turned out to be something much worse. We had a water pipe in the downstairs bathroom that had burst loose and was spraying water all over the floor.  By the time the noise woke Holly up, the water was already about an inch deep and had flooded that bathroom, the hallway, the kitchen, the family room, and had moved about one-third of the way into the living room. 

It was all hands on deck (that would be the LOC, me and Holly) for the next two hours while we set up the wet vac to begin vacuuming the water up, moved furniture out of the way as quickly as possible, and called the water damage company to come ASAP!

A mere six weeks and fourteen thousand dollars later, why we were completely back to square one.  Fortunately, insurance covered about ten thousand dollars of the damage.  That only left us out-of-pocket the remaining four thousand or so. (I quit counting after awhile, because my heart, not to mention our budget,  just couldn't take the strain.)

For the first two weeks of that six weeks, we had ten industrial size blowers (kind of like a fan on steroids) placed strategically about the downstairs by the clean-up crew.  These were to prevent mold forming in the walls, where the water had cunningly crept up to nearly two feet high, even though the water itself was never more than two inches deep at the worst spots. 

But as our philosopher-cum-repairman shared with us, water naturally seeks to go where anything is dry that can soak it up.  Sounds reasonable.  Sheetrock in your walls, therefore, is a natural habitat for the intelligent water-seeker.

Those blasted fans ran 24/7 for endless days.  It was like trying to sleep in an airport hangar, with some jet engine constantly roaring. At that time I was a vice-president in a good sized tech company, and had to try to show up for work each day in a decent looking suit and shoes, which is no easy feat, when you are stumbling over wires, hoses, pipes and machines all over the downstairs. 

Add to that the fear of blowing up the house, or electrocuting myself if I plugged in the wrong appliance upstairs and somehow caused water and electricity to meet up downstairs; well let's just say I wasn't at my best during those particular executive sessions.

How had all this begun?  That, my friend, is the moral of this little saga.  The LOC had, in a flurry of DIY enthusiasm, replaced a small flex hose behind the downstairs toilet.  This piece of equipment was about a foot or so long and cost approximately two and a half dollars.  He said it was a no-brainer.  (Perfect descriptor!)

Problem:  when you affix a new hose onto anything, you must adjust the pressure of the fitting to match the water pressure of the flow that will be going through it.  There is probably some dynamic law of aqua-engineering that puts this in more succinct terms, but essentially, there you have it.  The LOC had worked on this little gem a day or two before the flood, and he had put too much torque on the connection - in other words, he tightened it too much.  As the pressure built up in the hose, eventually it was bound to blow.

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Isn't that just like life?  We can think we are attending to things in a timely manner; but if our own frustrations or intensity cause us to put too much pressure on even a small thing, something is bound to blow.  When it does, the damage can be completely out of proportion to the initial issue.

We may then find ourselves wandering about in a flood of emotions, with our inner-angst fans blowing regret and dismay 24/7, and all the while we are thinking, if only I had approached that issue with a little more finesse, a little more kindness.  If only I had not put the tightening pressure on her/him to that extent. 

Indeed, we live and learn.  So today, the LOC first visited the local ACE hardware.  He is practically renting space there lately, and our little mountain hamlet hardware store has helpful, friendly staff.  So the LOC nips down there frequently, sometimes two or three times a day.

Today's visit produced good suggestions from the professionals there as to how the LOC should go about fixing a leaky sink problem we are having.  He followed their instructions to no avail.  Then he cleverly took photos on his phone of the problem areas and went back down to Ace Hardware.  After much consultation they suggested the problem might be a little more involved than they initially realized and that it likely was going to require some drilling, replacing equipment, etc.  And guess what?

The LOC called a friend, got a good recommendation, and called a local plumber!  Then he called me to brag about his newly found wisdom.  I'm as proud of him as a speckled pup. (My grandfather used to say that.  I never understood it, but it seemed to fit here.)

Meanwhile, Mrs. LOC (that would me me) is trying to learn when to ease up and not put quite so much pressure on myself and others... I hope.  The cost and the disruption to daily living are simply too high.  Just a thought....Until next time - Marsha


  1. I have so "been there/done that" with just a few minor differences to the story. . . LOC has reached a happy milestone in his life which you, in return, are gonna benefit from. It's a win/win. YEAY!!

  2. Yes- just like trying to get the right pressure in that pipe, it's also wise to know when to ease up or push harder in people. You are a wise woman!

  3. I do agree, men seem to have this build in tape running in their heads that they can fix anything....I've had my share of similar instances....

    Your analogy is so true about the pressure....We all need to know when to let it go and when to put the pressure on...I'm finding only God has these answers for me if only I will ask Him......and then follow His instructions..

    Great post as usual..I'm ready for some more of the life story...

  4. I'm going to comment while I can, lately blogger hasn't let me. :(

    Oh the joys of the lessons learned, and how much more quickly we give in to doing it with the wisdom that experience has taught! :)

  5. Oh I know what you mean - my hubby thinks he can do EVERYTHING. A couple of years ago he remodelled our kitchen and dining room. Knocking down a wall, doing plumbing and electrics everything. It took him nigh on a year to finish - but he did a great job. I have to say I was very impressed with him. Saved us a fortune!!!

  6. Oh laughing...I am the plumber in our house...hubby would case more damage, and I was the one who pulled up the carpet in our water flood and installed those fans...too funny! My hubby would have been more than glad to just call someone to do it...I was too stubborn to pay the bill.

    Your example is soooooooooo right the build up is going to cause an if I do the job, but hold in my frustration...guess who blows!!

    Great post...enjoyed.

  7. I'm a huge fan of calling in a professional. I grew up in a house where my very un-handy dad always wanted to save the money and fix things himself. We learned early to stay out of his way, or risk getting a severe "gosh-danging" because he was so frustrated he was looking for a target to take it out on. *shudder* A real man will call the professional when the task is over his head.

  8. Sadly Marsha, my husband is in the same club as the LOC. I've I'll just empathize...

  9. What a wise, wise man you have... I'm thinking that a fourteen thousand dollar bill is akin to a PHD when it comes to the next decision regarding plumbing surgery.

    Blessings, Debbie

  10. I had to look up Kardashian then realised that is because I'm an alien that I didn't get it. A familiar story. You are right it is in their DNA.