Twenty-nine years ago I pretty much lost a house to the flow of water. I understand the power of water unchecked. It can take out your ceiling, strip off your wallpaper, warp your floors and shut down your appliances. Beyond all the physical damage it can also flood a young mind with paranoia over even the gentlest patter of a spring rain. Ask my daughter about the years of nightmare and terror she swam through in her early youth.
I've respected water since that time, but it hasn't shown me much respect at all. It certainly didn't this past month.
It started with an inconsistent drip. I say inconsistent because it was easily stilled by turning the faucet to the center. If the handle stayed at the extreme hot or the extreme cold point, it dripped. Turn it a few degrees toward center and voila, the drip stopped.
These things never stay so cooperative forever, of course. Eventually it took a bit more to silence the drip. You had to get it positioned to some exact spot for a while, then you had to slam the handle down more firmly and then you had to slam the handle down with a force like John Henry laying spike on the railroad. You know, ka-boom, sometimes more than once. Yet in the end the drip surrendered and shut up.
Until a couple weeks ago when the drip did not cease, but instead became a waterfall. Oh, it was a thin waterfall, perhaps a quarter inch in diameter, but one doesn't really want a quarter-inch stream of water flowing day and night, does one? Besides how soon will the quarter inch become a half-inch, then an inch and then come with such viscosity the drain can't handle it.
So I opened the doors of the vanity and shut the two shut-off valves.
The steady flow ceased, but the drip returned mocking me and the firmness of the valves with a semi-steady drip...drip...drip.
I did a little up and down slam of the handle and knew immediately the mechanism was beyond hope. Thinking I may have suddenly received some wondrous handyman abilities, I decided perhaps I could disassemble the device and do something, what exactly I haven't a clue.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained. That's an old American proverb and I'm an old American, so I get my ratchet screwdriver, pop in a Phillip's head and give it a venture.
There is a screw on top of the knob. There used to be a gold-colored disc covering where the screw resides, but it popped off and disappeared some years ago, so the screw is right there in plain sight. I slot in the screwdriver and twist. I twist, but the screw doesn't. Okay, a bit more muscle is needed. Unfortunately the screws been working out down at the gym and it ain't budging. I mean, this is one tough monkey of a screw. Usually with the ratchet driver I can defeat your average screw, but this isn't your average screw. This is super screw.
Maybe it is my screw bit. I dig a larger Phillip's head out of the kit and try it, but it just skims out of the grooves. This screw is not going to come out, which is probably a good thing because what am I going to do if it does? Let stubborn screws lie is my motto.
It's going to nag at my mind now like a dripping faucet. Oh, wait a minute, it is a dripping faucet. It's a dripping faucet dripping even though I got both pipe shut off valves as tight as they go. It doesn't seem there is anything but this situation growing worse.
It's time to call the plumber.