Otis the disabled plumber

My parents were due at the airport in half an hour. A contractor was due to arrive in the same time. I had better things to do than wonder why the kitchen floor was flooding. However, as it seemed everyone else’s best solution fell under the “beach towel” category, it fell to me to be the man. Let me be clear: I am not a real man. I have only a rudimentary knowledge of tools and the inner workings of such witchcrafty subjects as plumbing and electricity. However, in a pinch, I pretend pretty well.

After determining the ice maker water line was still intact, I ran out of ideas. My mother, all set for the airport, then discovered the water was coming from beneath the kitchen sink. My heart sank. It’s only been a few weeks since I–in another fit of pretending to be a plumber–installed a new kitchen sink sprayer. I figured whatever I had fixed was again broken. Again–big surprise–I was wrong. The water was actually shooting out of a long, ridged white plastic tube that ran from the garbage disposal to the dishwasher. To this moment, I’m not entirely sure what purpose the tube serves. I think–think–it provides rinse water for the dishwasher, but hell if I know for sure.

I sent my wife to the airport with my parents, told the dog do go do something destructive, and set to figuring out how to fix the problem. I was already envisioning yet another $400 plumber invoice. A quick inspection of the plastic tube revealed a half-inch holethat had no good reason to be there. Further inspection revealed that this tube was exceptionally long. I unscrewed a bunch of stuff off the dishwasher and was in the process of wrestling it out of its hole when it occurred to me that…the tube was exceptionally long. Twenty minutes, a steak knife, and a screwdriver was all it took to remove the offending section of tubing and replace it to its original working order. I was proud.

Before my wife got back from the airport, I had cleaned up the mess and replaced all the cleaning supplies, pesticides, and such to their spot under the sink. I dusted up some white powder that had fallen out of the cabinet, wiped everything down, and locked the child safety lock on the cabinet. I am the Pretend Man.

A couple of hours later, a different contractor arrived to clean out my bank account and talk about slate tile. Upon his arrival, my hands started to itch. This is not uncommon among people who are spending thousands of dollars on a house in which they will not continue to live. Then, my hands started to swell–think sausage fingers. Then I started noticing dozens of tiny bumps rising up on my knuckles. Something was obviously wrong.

I thought back to that white powder under the sink. I still don’t know what it was. I’d been careful and washed my hands several times after cleaning up. Plus, it had been a couple of hours since anything had come in contact with my skin. Worried, I popped a couple of Benadryl, which served to make me sleepy and nothing else. By the time I went to bed, my hands were still itchy, swollen and bumpy. In fact, they still are. My wife refuses to come near me.

So, I have deduced from this experience that plumbing is dangerous work and that’s why big men with big pants get paid $400 an hour to do it. If this kind of thing happens to plumbers very often, I can’t begin to imagine how they ever procreate. My hands have to get better in the very short future. Otherwise, there ain’t going to be any celebratory “You fixed the sink!” lovin’ from the wife.


Langerado picture of the day

I was a little surprised yesterday to find a lot of referrals from a site titled Hooping.org. I clicked over and recognized one of my Langerado photos as the site’s picture of the day. It’s since been moved to the archives, but here it is in all its hoopy glory. Oh, and one more note…the story of this picture is sort of neat. I was walking from Railroad Earth to see The Wood Brothers when I wandered by the girl in the photo. I kneeled down and took the shot. As I stood up, a girl standing beside me said, “I don’t know about you, but I’ve fallen in love with her.” Though I didn’t ever actually talk to Ashley (the hoopster in the photo), her friends pointed her to the picture on hooping.org. Ash wrote yesterday to let me know she had seen the picture. I call it “Spun Out.”

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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4 Responses

  1. Chilly says:

    “The water was actually shooting out of a long, ridged white plastic tube that ran from the garbage disposal to the dishwasher. To this moment, I’m not entirely sure what purpose the tube serves. I think–think–it provides rinse water for the dishwasher, but hell if I know for sure.”

    You rinse your dishes with water that has gone through the garbage disposal? I don’t think so. Was this white plastic about as big around as a quarter, maybe a bit bigger? Did it have a high loop->came out at the bottom of the dishwaher looped up above the garbage disposal and then into your insinkerator?

    That is the discharge from the dishwasher into the drain. If you removed the high loop to gain the slack to make the repair, you need to replace the tube.

    At a minimum the absence of the loop will allow stale dirty water to sit in the tube and get stanky. You don’t want stank in a house that is for sale. Another possible side effect is that you will have dirty food/water back up into your dishwasher, leaving dishes dirtier than before you washed them.

    See this link:

  2. MGM says:

    Nothing like a real “friend” (see previous comment) to deflate your freshly inflated sense of manliness, eh? (how ’bout that Canada reference, there-eh?)

    Here’s hoping that he’s wrong or you get it fixed properly so you don’t get the “stank” thing going on. That doesn’t make for good “wife lovin’.” Perhaps some good “wife lovin'” is worth the $400 buck after all?

  3. Franky5Angel says:

    Chilly is the man and right of course. Brad stop pretending and pay the professionals first. And on your new house in .CA, make sure the plumbing is not on its way out, or just call Holmes on Homes.

  1. March 20, 2008

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