Tuesday, June 30, 2015

"Repair One Provide..."

SOUTH CHINA SEA (May 30, 2015) Engineman 2nd Class Terrance Gallagher, from Seattle, Wash., conducts repairs to the ship's reverse osmosis water purifier aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin (DDG 89).
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class David Flewellyn)
Sunday night, the end of a nice long weekend, I'm sitting in CIC monitoring the affairs of the world via the blog, other peoples' blogs and the Book of Face and listening to the occasional Tube O' You tune.

Sunday night's favorite was Le Chant de l'Oignon, or, in English, The Onion Song. This blog was almost named Le Chant de l'Oignon rather than the Chant du Départ. Two things prevented that. I couldn't remember the name of the song en français and I didn't want to be confused with The Onion.

So...

What's that? How does the song go? I'm glad you asked.


Lyrics? Sure, I've got those too!

Chant de l'Oignon

J'aime l'oignon frît à l'huile,
J'aime l'oignon quand il est bon,
J'aime l'oignon frît à l'huile,
J'aime l'oignon, j'aime l'oignon. 

Au pas camarade, au pas camarade,
Au pas, au pas, au pas.
Au pas camarade, au pas camarade,
Au pas, au pas, au pas.

Un seul oignon frît à l'huile,
Un seul oignon nous change en lion,
Un seul oignon frît à l'huile
un seul oignon nous change en lion.

Au pas camarade, au pas camarade,
Au pas, au pas, au pas.
Au pas camarade, au pas camarade,
Au pas, au pas, au pas.

Mais pas d'oignons aux Autrichiens, 
Non pas d'oignons à tous ces chiens,
Mais pas d'oignons aux Autrichiens, 
Non pas d'oignons, non pas d'oignons.

Au pas camarade, au pas camarade,
Au pas, au pas, au pas.
Au pas camarade, au pas camarade,
Au pas, au pas, au pas.

Aimons l'oignon frît à l'huile,
Aimons l'oignon car il est bon,
Aimons l'oignon frît à l'huile,
Aimons l'oignon, aimons l'oignon

Yes, I really do like onions fried in oil.

Yummy!

Anyhoo. Sunday night, enjoying myself when the alarm is sounded down in the galley by The Missus Herself. I respond (I am Repair One around the domicile) and sure enough, the old copper tubing coming out of the faucet I replaced 12 years ago is leaking.

I wonder what idiot bent that tubing like that? Oh yeah, that was Your Humble Scribe. A plumber I'm not. Though I can get by in a pinch. (Said pinch I had put in the copper tubing which over time decided to give up its structural integrity.)

Dang!

Off to the hardware emporium, which is ten miles away and which would close 70 minutes hence. No problem. Off I went.

Bought what I (thought I) needed and returned to the vehicle. After gazing upon the box containing the faucet, I realized that it did not have that squirty-thingie attachment off to the side. No problem, lots of time left.

Went inside and got the faucet with the squirty-thingie attachment.

Upon my return to Chez Sarge, I unpacked the stuff I'd bought and pulled all the crap out from under the sink in order to effect repairs.

Only to discover that I had all the wrong hardware.

Twelve years ago, the replacement faucet I had purchased had water connections which terminated with male half-inch connectors. The water feed lines had nuts permanently attached (unlike politicians) which one could use to attach the lines coming from the faucet.

'Lo and behold, the new hi-tech faucet had two flexible lines with 3/8 inch female ends.

Dang!

This would not work. Alas the hardware emporium was now shuttered and the employees had all gone home.

I told The Missus Herself that I would take a couple hours off in the morning and get the right stuff to replace Monsieur Le Robinet. So I went back to the computer and monitored the Internet goings-on for a while longer before retiring to sleep the sleep of the just.

Awakening to the dawn, I headed out to the aforementioned hardware emporium. Talked to a somewhat knowledgeable chap who immediately noted that I didn't have the right stuff. (Never was an astronaut though at one time, but ya know, I didn't have it...)

We got the right hardware (and a different faucet, apparently the one I had purchased didn't have a long enough, nor high enough neck, for those giant pots we use to stew eye of newt and the like) and I returned to la maison.

There to discover that the compression fitting I had purchased was a 5/8ths and the copper feed line in the residence is 1/2 inch.

Dang!

Back to the aforementioned hardware emporium, where the employees were starting to call me by name (or was it "call me names" - I forget) and tell a different employee (also knowledgeable of des affaires plumbing) and show him the end of the copper pipe. Which I had had to cut off to use the compression fitting thingie. (Those who know these things will know what that is, apparently it squeezes onto the pipe forming a water tight seal. I consider it one of The Dark Arts as I don't really grasp how it works. There are times when I am much like the apes encountering the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey.)

So he looks at it and says "Well, that's an odd size. Never seen one of those." I'm guessing that's because he didn't work at the hardware emporium 30-odd years ago when my dwelling was constructed. Apparently by a group of people who cornered the market on discontinued and rare parts and used them all in my house.

I might also make mention that I doubt any of those guys owned a square. There are no real 90 degree corners in my house, they are all 90 degrees plus or minus "close enough."

But eventually we discover that I can use a 1/2 inch compression fitting on the copper pipe, with a 3/8 inch male connector screwed onto that which will then fit the flexible hoses coming off the faucet.

As I'm leaving the hardware chap asks me if I have any "pipe dope." Not knowing what that is, I ask if they carry that sort of thing. He says...

"Teflon plumber's tape, yeah it's over in the next aisle..."

I cut him off, not wishing to appear completely ignorant of the plumbing trade, I told him I did indeed have some of that tape. Why he referred to it as "pipe dope" I have no idea. Perhaps the pipes use it to get high? (Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week. Don't forget to tip your waitress...)

Properly equipped now, I headed home.

I should note that at this time the "couple of hours" in the morning had turned into all morning and a chunk of the afternoon. And the job wasn't done yet.

Notifying my place of employment that I was wrestling with pipes, Teflon tape and compression fittings and did not foresee making it into work at all, I headed for the sink's nether regions.

There everything miraculously came together. Teflon tape was applied to pipe threads, fittings were tightened and nothing was leaking.

Hallelujah!

"Honey, why are the hot and cold swapped?"

Dang!

Fittings unscrewed, old tape stripped off, new tape applied, lines swapped and fittings reattached.

No leaks, cold water comes out when commanded and as expected, ditto the hot water.

It seems that the mission has been accomplished.

I guess you could say, "That's what I did on my summer vacation."

An entire day's worth.

Dang!

Where I spent Monday, it ain't pretty but it works.

Indoor plumbing, one of the great inventions of homo sapiens.
But does it need to be so complicated?

Dang!

38 comments:

  1. When my youngest was a plumber, they had one price to fix something and another, higher, price it you had already worked on it. But you got the job done.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Makes perfect sense WSF. It's tougher to fix something which an amateur has messed up!

      Delete
  2. Just love it. Been there, done that. Never let SWMBO see under the sink is a survival motto ;-).

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have yet to complete a project with only a single trip to the hardware store. There is also a very high correlation between times between trips to the store and their stock price.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should see a spike in Home Depot stock today. Provided the whole Greek thing doesn't wipe it out.

      Delete
  4. We had to have the antique looking tub valving. Purchased same. The water connections were 1 inch??!?!??!?!?!?!?
    Had to use flexible water heater inlet / outlet tubing, and 23 lbs of adapters on the incoming lines. Who...... Why....... Whut??????

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Standardization? What's that?

      I feel your pain.

      Delete
  5. I had similar fun with plumbing adventures fixing a few toilets here. Same multiple trips and non-standard (or at least obsolete) connectors and internals. Wasn't all that so much fun? On the upside the feeling of accomplishment and making it all finally work despite the #!$&ing ridiculous parts variety was its own reward - well, that and the skinned knuckles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I forget to mention that this was the first plumbing job I have done where no blood was shed.

      Surprised me it did!

      Delete
  6. I feel quite fortunate that my local hardware emporium has moved from across town to "almost within walking distance."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would even consider walking if it didn't require crossing the highway.

      Delete
    2. Having one virtually next door is nice. While I do have one "next door," it's pretty small.

      While I have all sorts of big hardware emporiums in the area, closest is ten miles.

      Delete
    3. As to crossing the highway, I guess that answers the age-old question:

      Why did the old tin can sailor cross the road?

      To get to the hardware store...

      I had to go there, as much as I resisted, I just had to.

      Delete
  7. I noted to a friend of mine that he had a very impressive tool collection. He said "If a project does not require you to buy a new tool, you have insufficiently planned the project."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sound wisdom.

      I discover that with each new project I buy one or more tools.

      This project required purchasing a little pipe cutting do-hickey which, though small, is pretty cool. And actually works.

      Also I purchased another adjustable wrench. Now I have two, how I lived with just one, I'll never understand.

      Delete
  8. Sarge, your house & mine must have been built by the same guy(s). Nothing standard or uniform, and not a square corner or plumb line in the entire place. I feel yore pain, sez I.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha.

      These guys have global reach!

      Delete
  9. All I can say is, "Thank God for 'Plumber's Putty.'"

    ReplyDelete
  10. You should try plumbing stock tanks. I spend a lot of time out there screeching and hitting things with a femur.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds nasty...

      Not to mention painful!

      Delete
    2. Depends whether or not the femur is attached to PA's body at the time or not.

      Delete
    3. Perhaps a 2001: A Space Odyssey reference?

      ...later that day...

      D'oh, it is a 2001: A Space Odyssey reference! (I am totally baffled by nuance and subtlety, Sarge thy name is clueless!)

      Well played Shaun, well played.

      Delete
    4. Ha-ha, I should have said "gently used femur."

      Delete
    5. Hee hee. Doubt that would have helped. I can be dense at times.

      Delete
  11. Just spent about 24 days in North Carolina making repairs to the beach house and shell hunting. Painting, minor woodwork repairs, varmint proofing, bathtub tile repairs (go figure, you can't buy matching tile for stuff made in the 60's), and plumbing. Only had to go to Lowes about 18 times, and only had 2 days where I had to go twice. Got some new tools too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds about par for the course Mark!

      North Carolina, beach house - sounds like time well spent!

      Delete
  12. A friend's son is a plumber and he keeps telling me that plumbing is very simple. He says there are only three rules: Hot on the left, cold on the right, and $hit runs downhill. I get that part of it, but it is the details that always get me. My bride learned early on that when I was doing ANY plumbing job that it was time to take the kids elsewhere to protect their virgin ears from the spectacular cursing that was sure to ensue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I was chastised a couple of times for less than polite language.

      As you nay have noticed, that whole hot on the left, cold on the right only works when one is paying attention.

      I claim that I was disoriented, what with being under the sink and all.

      Delete
  13. Love the story. Good to know I'm not the only one whose home repairs go like that.

    And re: your last picture, what you label "Squirty thingie", I know as the "German Shepherd-B-Gone", because as soon as I pull it up from the sink, my Shepherds always run out of the kitchen. Wonder why that is?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like your name for it.

      I doubt that Belle and Murphy feel the same way!

      Delete
  14. One, possibly two thing(s), a bright head lamp and if you wear bi-focals a set of dollar store reading glasses that you position up near your eyebrows.
    When you are on your back looking up at the fittings near bottom of a sink both help.
    And another, a chunk of closed cell foam that you can lay or kneel on. Closed cell because it does not retain water.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great ideas! Which I shall use next time. While I hope there is no next time as regards faucet replacement, it's good to have options.

      Thanks Jon!

      Delete
  15. Or? You could have played with fire!... Sometimes, the easy things are enough pleasure to derive satisfaction from drawing oxygen in and respirating that toxic CO2 stuff. I think of Gaia every time I exhale.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fire? That works for me on so many different levels.

      Not sure The Missus Herself would concur.

      Delete
  16. Standardization is no longer a factor in home plumbing. It is my experience that if a fixture is only two or three years old it is easy to take the fittings to the hardware store and get replacements using the originals as templates. If the fixture is more than three years old, it is less expensive, both in time and money, to just buy a new fixture and fittings in one attack. Getting proper replacement cartridges for faucets is almost impossible. Sad, but that is my experience.

    Dave

    ReplyDelete

Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)