A Screwdriver And A Box Of Washers

Posted: January 13, 2009 in The Roper Files
I didn’t feel like going to work today; went yesterday and ran out of work right after lunch. Stood around with my thumb up my ass waiting for some work to show up for four hours. Clocked out with no jobs on my bench and drove off pissed.
Woke up this morning to a balmy 27 degrees and really really felt like getting out of bed much less driving across town to a job where there was no work. Phoned in two hours early expecting to get an answering machine; instead my supervisor answers. Mind you it’s four in the morning.

Supervisor: “TurdCo Manufacturing (yeah sure that’s their real name) …so and so speaking….”

Me: “ Er…uh….good morning so and so…er … uh….I’m…uh not like going to uh…make it in today. I’ve uh…got like an emergency here at the house and stuff. “

Supervisor: (reading me like a book) Alright I don’t blame you; it is pretty slow up here.”

Me: “Hope there’s something to do up there tomorrow”

Supervisor: “ I’ll see what I can do; there’s supposed to be some work coming in”

Me: “Cool; see you tomorrow”

Put down the phone and roll over relieved. Okay I’m out a days pay; just have to stretch that next check a little further. A couple of hours later nature is calling. Reluctantly I get up and head for the Throne of Excremeditation. While seated I hear water running in the shower stall. I pull aside the shower curtain and see a stream of water the size of a Sharpie dribbling from the hot water faucet. Reach over and try to tighten it to no avail. If anything it gets worse.

Go outside and shut off the water. I bought a new shower head about a month ago; I’ll change that damn thing while I’m at it. I haven’t changed a washer in a faucet in twenty years. Last time I did it I was drunk; surely I can do this thing. Locate an ancient box of assorted washers and congratulate myself on finding them at all. Fish out a screwdriver and a pair of vice-grips. Twist off the old shower head and screw on the new one. Problem; solution. Now for that faucet.

Pop off the cover, unscrew the screw. Pull off the handle and stop in my tracks. Okay there’s a little brass do-hickey in the middle; does this unscrew or do I pull it out? Clamp the vise-grip gently but firmly around it and twist. It spins and feels threaded. It comes out about a half inch and stops. Get on the Net; Google “home plumbing repairs” and go from one site to another until I find a site with some illustrations that remotely resemble my faucet. After reading the instructions and repeat the process. The brass thing still doesn’t want to come out. I don’t want to force it. I decide I’m over my head and break down and call Property Management. They tell me they’ll get a plumber out today.

Great. Now I’ve got to hang around all day and wait for a stranger to come over. This isn’t how I wanted to spend the day. A few hours later the PM woman calls me back; the plumber will be there between two and five. At four forty-five the plumber pulls up. I show him the faucet and he laughs when I tell him I couldn’t figure it out. It takes him mere minutes from then; soon he’s out the door. There. Now I’ve got that out of the way. One less leaky faucet and a new shower head to boot. Not bad for a day’s work if I say so myself.


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