Thursday, December 26, 2013

Things You Need Water For

(Or "Things For Which You Need Water," if dangling prepositions drive you especially crazy.)

  • Bathing
  • Using the Bathroom
  • Washing your hands
  • Washing the dishes
  • Washing your clothes
  • Wiping down tables and countertops
  • Making more of your homemade cleaner
  • Quenching your apparently insatiable thirst
  • Cooking
  • Brushing your teeth

Plus many, many more things that I won't be taking for granted any time soon.

At one point Christmas Eve afternoon, Derek ventured into the basement to put some things away (just so we're clear, our basement is not a place our family goes to hang out, unless there's a tornado anywhere in our proximity; it's a cold, damp place, with concrete and brick walls, low ceilings, and countless spiderwebs), and discovered water all kinds of places it shouldn't be.

A pipe had sprung a leak.  A rather serious leak, actually.  Hoo- to the -ray.

We spent that night and all of yesterday- Christmas day- with our water shut off, except at short, specific times when we herded all the children into the bathroom to use the toilet and brush their teeth, and I did things like frantically wash whatever dishes had piled up and take mercilessly short showers.  The rest of the day we yelled at our kids for strange things like flushing the toilet and getting themselves a drink of water- Merry Christmas, kiddies!

This morning Derek got up bright and early in order to be at Lowe's at 6 am; he wanted to try and fix the problem himself before we called in any kind of professional reinforcements.  (This wasn't terrifying at all.)  I played the predictable role of anxious-hand-wringer after he retreated back into the basement to play plumber with some tools and parts he bought whose names I don't remember because they seem to be comprised of completely random words like "compression" and "joint" and "cheese."  Or maybe not "cheese."  I honestly don't know.

There was a bad moment when he was down there when I heard a rather large CLANK followed by the sound of gushing water.  Derek later reported that at that point he was thinking, Well, if we didn't need a plumber before, we do now.  Evidently this was supposed to happen, at least according to the foreign YouTube videos Derek was using as guidance (which inspires exactly as much confidence as you might assume).

Twenty minutes later, Derek emerged victorious.  I went down there and gazed in wonder at the shiny new compression cheese joint he had somehow affixed to the old no-longer-leaky copper pipe, then I started a load of laundry, drank three mugs of water straight down, and used the bathroom whenever the heck I wanted.

I'm still a little agog at Derek's somewhat new-found home repair abilities.  In the last year, he has completely dismantled the driver's side door of our van to repair the automatic window (something about replacing a little motor that had burnt out in there?  Or possibly signing a new union contract with the tiny elves that reside in there and winch the window up and down by hand whenever I press the little button?  Really, either is equally plausible to my mind), completely dismantled the bathtub faucet to stop what had become more of a constant stream of water rather than a leak (something about a tiny piece of metal that had to be replaced?  Or elves again?), and now cut off a piece of ancient pipe and put the cheese-plumber thing in its place.  It's all pretty amazing to me, and fortunate for our entire family that I'm not in charge of fixing pretty much anything that's not made out of fabric or food.  (I promise I'm not actively trying to spit in the face of feminism.)

So!  Three cheers for Derek!  And water!  And foreign YouTube videos and/or successful contract negotiations with the elves!


  1. Gracious! I think I'd be crashing a friend/relative's Christmas for a few hours of toilet flushing and tap water enjoyment.
    Kudos to your husband.

  2. I was just thinking you big silly! You should of called and crashed our party of yelling at kids for things like fighting and whining cuz they got up too early! I didn't think to offer at church but our home is always open! AND I'm picturing the seen from Christmas Story of the dad fixing whatever it was in the basement :)

  3. No, no, NO and Blah to spending Christmas without functioning indoor plumbing. Bah, humbug to it. I'm sorry to hear you had to spend the holiday that way. I am over here loudly applauding your husband's Mr Fixit and/or Elf Negotiating abilities.

  4. Wow. I am incredibly impressed with Derek. Rob and I once attempted a plumbing fix and it was such a disaster that we vowed to never try our hand a plumbing again!

  5. Wow - props to your husband. The reason we had a plumber name handy is that when my husband tried to replace the kitchen faucet (routine swap) he broke a pipe that definitely required an emergency visit by a professional.


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