"A lawyer needed a leak fixed and called the plumber; who
after about 45 minutes was done and all cleaned up. "That
will be $75" said the plumber. The lawyer objected saying
"I'm a lawyer, and I don't even get that much an hour!"
The plumber responded: "I didn't either, when I was a lawyer"."
- from Jokesaround.com
"The more you overtake the plumbing, the easier it is
to stop up the drain."
- Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott, Star Trek III - The
Search for Spock
"I should've been a plumber. The technology of pipes really
hasn't changed in about 80 years."
August 5th, 2003
My temper sometimes gets the best of me. Picture
I'm cooking penne pasta in a sundried tomato
pesto sauce when I realized I needed my colander. After I dumped
the pasta into the colander, to drain the water, I usually use
the same saucepan (my favorite nonstick saucepan) to cook the
sauce. It doesn't take long and the pasta, in order to get it
just right, should be somewhat dry. After
the sauce was done, I slowly poured the noodles into the saucepan,
stirred, poured again, and stirred again until the colander
One of the best things a cook can do is to clean
as he goes. So, after I finished using the colander, I washed
it off and dried it. It was now time to put it back under the sink.
It wouldn't go. With half an eye on my dinner, still in the
saucepan, I moved the colander around under the sink. It still
Now hunger was setting in. Enter my infamous
I took the colander and started to force it
in. THIS (Bang!) DAMN (Bang!) THING (Thud!)
WILL (Crash!) FIT (Bang!) UNDER (Thud!)
THIS (Crash!) F@#$KING (CRACK!) SINK!
I sighed and put the penne pasta dinner on two
plates and served dinner. After dinner, my wife and I decided
to relax and watch some TV. I put all of the dishes into the
dish washer and decided to let it wait until morning.
One side note: I think 2003 will be marked as
one of the wettest summers ever. That night was an electrical
storm followed with what I can only describe as "wrath
of God"- like rain. The next morning I got up to walk Guinness
and Killian. All was well until
Guinness decided to have some fun by rolling in the mud.
You haven't lived until you've had to wash a
Guinness, being especially muddy had to be hosed
off and dried. The kitchen sink had the water gun so I decided
to wash him there. After I emptied the sink of a couple of coffee
mugs and a small bowl full of water, I ran the faucet. Guinness
didn't want to be on the counter so he, in his doggy way, tipped
over the bowl of water that was in the sink onto the floor.
I washed Guinness and toweled him off. I then grabbed the mop
to clean what that little bastard dumped on the floor. After
a quick mopping, I started the dishwasher and went to watch
After about an hour, I decided that I really
needed that first cup of life giving coffee. So, I went back
into the kitchen to start the coffee maker and noticed that
the floor was still wet. I thought it was unusual that the floor
should still be wet an hour after I mopped it. But as the day
was overcast, it was still possible that the floor wasn't dry.
I grabbed the mop and washed the floor - again.
As I waited for the coffee to brew, I went back
to the TV and started to watch the Cartoon Network. 10 minutes
later, the coffee was done and the floor seemed to look wetter.
I paid no real attention to it. I was mentally going over my
Sunday itinerary. After TV, go to the car and get the Pine Sol
to mop all of the kitchen, boil water (enough for a large bucket),
clean the bedroom, work on Michael's Chiropractic website, work
on Art's Karate website, and start organizing my study.
That's when I heard it.
It was the sound of water splattering on tile
combined with the sound of the dishwasher going on the rinse
cycle. I went back to the kitchen sink and saw a growing puddle
of water. I went to the cabinet (which housed the colander)
just in time to see the dishwasher waste water connection to
the sink spray hot water over every item under the kitchen sink.
There was a huge hole that was cracked open in that pipe.
Right next to the colander. Ooooops. Lovely.
I am a web designer by trade. I can cook good
meals. I can also clean. If you give me directions on how to
assemble a piece of furniture, 9 times out of 10, I can put
it together. I know things about landscaping and what to do
to make your lawn greener. I have a 135 IQ and a bachelor's
degree in Marketing. If you have a question about Marketing
or Management, I can give you an intelligent answer. If you
have a question about superhero trivia, get a stop watch and
watch me roll. I am good at these things.
Now, here are things I am not good at.
Number 1 - Plumbing. Number 2 - Electrical
Work. Number 3 - Automotive Stuff. Number 4 - Taxes
and Investment Strategy. Number 5 - Medical Stuff.
Number 6 - Insurance Stuff (although when I was 22, I
was licenced to sell Life Insurance for Met Life, I've forgotten
most of it). Don't even think of asking me to solder something.
This comes from many years of paternal neglect and the enforcement
of self-reliance. The closest I've come to automotive work was
to help my father's friend Paul Saliba change the shock absorbers
on my father's Pontiac Sunbird. He said to my father, "Some
boys don't take to cars." I can't even change oil. I'm
However, this is not unusual for most computer
geeks. Computer logic is exactly that: Logic. There is a progressive
flow to what a programmer or a designer does. But it is the
computer that does the actual work. The programmer merely provides
the directions for the computer to follow. Plumbers, doctors,
contractors, mechanics, carpenters, masons, and construction
workers do real work. I live in envy of people who have
a knack for that sort of thing. Especially bricklayers. They
can, at least, do a day's work and see what they've accomplished
at the end of it.
The typical intelligence scale for repair work
(non computer related) goes in this order (lowest to highest)
- Evangelical born again Televangelists, me, computer geeks,
a rock, a not too bright tree stump, a dung beetle, an average
Joe, then Tradesperson. But that's just my opinion and there
are exceptions to every rule. There are some computer geeks
who can out do dung beetles in automotive repair, but it is
a rare thing.
I knew that I didn't have the funds to call a
professional to solve my particular plumbing problem so I decided
to do this myself. (Save your laughter until later folks.) I
had a book on basic plumbing in the house as I had toilet troubles
before and managed to fix the old crapper with its help. When
hunting for a book on basic plumbing initially, I had told the
person at Barnes & Noble that the Plumbing for Dummies
book may be too complex and I might need something a bit more
elementary. I was expecting to see a child's pop-up book entitled,
Plumbing for Vikar with definitions of who a plumber
was and what pipes do. Instead, I got something in the middle.
I let the dishwasher run its course then I mopped
the floor - again. I then told my wife not to use either the
sink or the dishwasher until I got back from Home Depot. Yes,
Home Depot. Home Depot is like kryptonite to me. It is the one
place I can be a complete idiot and it will be apparent on my
face that I am a complete idiot. I needed a couple of
things: A monkey wrench, a new water disposal pipe, something
to seal the pipe with, and a miracle.
After I spoke to the first sales person who helped
me find the plumbing department, I needed to ask a second salesperson
on what else I might need to fix the water disposal pipe. He
suggested that since I had no experience soldering anything,
I should use 1-2-3 metal epoxy. I figure anything to keep me
away from a soldering gun was a good thing. Fortunately for
me, the dish washer water disposal pipes only come in one size
and I was able to find the actual pipe with no problem. I also
figured that I wouldn't need the largest monkey wrench as this,
hopefully, wouldn't be a regular thing. In addition to all of
the other plumbing stuff the epoxy direction suggested application
with latex gloves*. I bought those too.
You can never have too many latex gloves.
I came home, cleared the cabinet under the sink
of all the stuff that was underneath it, threw away everything
that could not be salvaged (like Brillo pads that would surely
rust) and got ready for work.
No. 1 (Rule) - Always shut off the water before
doing any kind of pipe work.
No. 2 (Suggestion) - It's good to dry the bottom of the cabinet
that has had used dishwater sprayed all over it before lying
on top of it. (Ewwww!)
After the normal amount of swearing and speaking
in tongues that usually accompanies home maintenance, I managed
to reconnect the pipes and fix the problem. There have been
no more leaks. That plumbing problem was fixed.
Since the day I was born, I've suffered from
what is medically called a cavernous hemangioma. It is a deep
vascular malformation of the venous system. It is a large cluster
of blood vessels located in the middle of my triceps. It makes
my right arm look more muscular than it really is. It has now
grown to the point where there is nowhere left within my triceps
for it to go. It is now starting to infiltrate into other muscles
in my biceps, shoulder, and back. Increased humidity causes
me pain as the vessels expand. It makes movement limited and
sleep impossible 2-3 months out of the year. I'll be going under
the "knife" later this month.
Plumbing problems on a different system and scale.
It is that type of problem that puts the leak
under the sink into real perspective. Rather than fix this plumbing
problem myself, I have to seek a professional. This professional
will seal the leaks, check the pipes and keep clogs from forming.
His fees must be paid. It is more than what a mop can
clean and more than the discomfort of lying on wet water.
The tools used are more complex than a monkey
wrench and more sophisticated than a metal apoxy. They are MRI
scanners and alcohol catheters.
The plumber in this case cannot make mistakes,
he is firmly committed to fixing the problem the first time
around and does not rely on "Dummies" books for his
craft. He is the doctor you need.
It is times like this that I remember it's difficult
to keep things in scale. That there are more important things
than what damage can happen in your domicile. Sometimes we forget
that there's a difference between "how you live" and
actually "living". It's the difference between "working
to live" and "living to work"; "having a
wedding" and "getting married"; "having
a balanced diet" and "living a balanced life".
It is the difference between "problem"
*- I also found out that once you mix the metal epoxy that
the chemical reaction makes the compound very warm (almost hot)
to the touch. Hence the latex was the best move.