Banner photo of Larry Eugene Meredith, Patrick Flynn and Ronald Tipton, 2016.

The good times are memories
In the drinking of elder men...

-- Larry E.
Time II

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Now the Whole Hole Thing


The technician and I have abandoned any further search for a shut off valve on the external faucet. We have shut off the entire water supply to the house and he is ready to replace that dripping spigot.

(What's the difference between a faucet and a spigot? One starts with f and one with s. They are two words we Americans use for what the British call a tap.)

He goes to his truck and comes back with a bucket, torch, and a reciprocal saw.

Now we have some cats. When the plumber first came and examined the new vanity to be installed, Mark jumped inside as soon as he opened the door. I am concerned about a cat jumping in the hole he is about to make and becoming lost inside out walls. However, once he turned on that overgrown saber saw there is such a gut-wrenching noise all the cats scatter to their preferred hide-y-holes beneath sofas and bureaus. No feline is going to pester the guy while he is doing this work.

Since the pipe is behind the wall of our entryway closet (the double doors to the left of the cats in the picture) I first must empty it out and make space. It is amazing how many coats one can have they never seem to wear. I pull everything off the rod and carry this apparel to the bedroom. I still must remove various items from off the closet floor. Everything not in immediate use gets chucked into this closet.

Now he can begin with his noisy saw and fix this tap trouble.

The hole is cut and the saw is silent and I hear a "Hmmm".

As stated previously, "hmmm"s are never a good sign. He calls me.

He is concerned about what lies behind the wall. We both squat down to peer through the square he cut.

"There's this two by four," he says.

I can see it.

"The pipe is behind it and up about two or three inches."

We both feel up behind this board. Yes, I can feel the pipe right up against the back of this plank.

"I don't know what this board is," he says. "it runs all the way up about two feet."

We both reach up as far as we can through the hole to measure the height of this board. It does indeed stretch up about two feet  therefore, it is not a two by four; more a two by twenty-four. So what is the problem.

"I just don't know why this board is here," he continues. "I have to cut it to reach the pipe, but I just don't know what it is."

"You have to cut it?"

"Yes. There is no other way I can reach the pipe. But I'm not sure what this board is and I'm reluctant to cut it."

Now he is scaring me. What is he saying? Is he saying if he cuts the board the whole house tumbles down around our ears?

Whatever, he really doesn't want to cut the board.

Now he goes outside and takes a wrench to the faucet. He removed the handle and pulls out the upper assembly. I see him go to the truck. He comes back with a short length of pipe with an old faucet in its middle. He sits down and he is tinkering with this old spigot.

Finally he comes back in and calls me.

"I thought maybe I could do something with the washer," he says. (Gee, why didn't we start there?) "But when I got it apart the whole bottom was missing, no washer or screw. I thought maybe I could use part of an old faucet, but nothing fit, so I just put your spigot back together.

"I won't charge you anything for the job because I couldn't fix it."

So we settle up the bill and he goes his way. I have my vanity installed and my bathroom faucet problem solved, but I am also left with a hole in the wall and a leaking outside tap.

We've lived with its little drip for eight months, I guess we can live with forever more.

I figure I better patch up the hole before some cat discovers it. I go to the utility room and look for some spackle or patch. All my containers have dried up. I'll have to run out and buy some.

As I leave, I notice it is only a few minutes past ten. I decide to drive to the DMV and get my car inspected. This has also been worrying my mind all summer. In this state when you buy a new car you don't have to have it inspected or buy a new registration sticker for five years. My car is now five years old and my sticker expires on August 15.  I have not had a very lucky season and I am nervous that the car won't pass, that it will need brakes or shutter, dread, stark fear, not pass the emissions test.

But we are already into the first week of August and I can't put it off too much longer. What is something is wrong? I'll need time to get it fixed. I had been thinking about taking it to the DMV tomorrow, Wednesday, after work. This is the only day the DMV stays open late. But today I am off, it is still early, let's get it over with.

The state does the inspection here. You go through a bay and they work it over. The disadvantage is you sometimes wait in a long line. The advantage is you know exactly what is wrong, if anything, and no garage mechanic can sell you on something you don't need done.

I drive down the inspection lanes and am the third car in line in lane two. I am watching the inspectors working ahead. They seem to be going through it fairly fast and I don't see them sticking any hoses up tailpipes or anything. Maybe they are going easy today and skipping steps.

I am finally number one and motioned down. Come on, come on, come on, he is motioning and then the "hit it" sign and I slam to a stop. This is the brake test. The man asks me for my registration card and how many miles I have. He disappears into his both, makes some marks, hands me back my card and says pull up to any bay with a green light.

They have changed the procedure. Now you go through two bays. This was just the brake check. Here we go, nervous time all over again.

I am again third in line. Now I am two in line and the car before me is motioned all the way down into the bay and the inspector comes walking out of the bay with an orange pyramid. What is this? He motions me forward to just inside the door and motions the car behind me up closer. He then sets the pyramid behind that car. Wow, just made it, this guy is shutting down the lane. Probably going on his lunch break.

I get to the actual inspection station. He walks about the car, lights, high beam, blow the horn, left turn signal, right turn signal, same in the rear, put the car in park and step out please.

No, I'm not being arrested. In newer cars they no longer have to stick a pipe up the tailpipe. They plug a cord into something beneath the dash board. It is much faster than the old days.

He tells me to get back in the car. He tells me everything is fine. He wishes me a good day.

What relief. I worried for nothing. I have passed, now I just need to go inside and pay for a new sticker. I always get the two-year one. The less I go through inspection, the better.

I drive to the administration building and there are no parking spaces. I drive up a row and down a row and around a row and each time if a space opens someone coming the other direction always grabs it before I can get there. I drive out of that lot and ahead is another lot with plenty of spaces. As I enter it I see a sign, "Employee Parking Only" off to my right.

I circle around and go back to the administration building lot. Still no spaces. I see people walking out of that other lot with papers in their hands. The heck with it, I'm parking over there. Maybe employee parking is only the right section.

I get in the building and take a number as if I am at the deli counter of the super market. I have 911. 9/11 is this an omen. Last spring when I came here on another matter I got 666.

Like the deli department, they call your number and direct you to a window. I look at the number now being serviced, 982. I have a wait ahead.

Two hours later, after a quick stop at a hardware store, I am back home patching the hole.

He has cut it in two pieces. I paste in the first piece. Now I get the second piece and set it atop of the first and my hand slips and this piece disappears behind the wall. I remove the first piece again and reach behind the wall as far down as I can. No piece. I can feel a ridge of floor, but just a bit over is another space and into this space the second piece must have fell. It has disappeared into our walls to who knows where, perhaps the Land of Oz.

I reset the first piece. I retrieve all our coats and rehang them. I put the other junk back in the closet. I close the closet doors. As far as I'm concerned the faucet fiasco is over.

If only the faucet had felt that way.

1 comment:

Ron Tipton said...

Another good post Lar. I don't know that I would be reaching into a hole in the wall for that missing piece of wall that you were patching. You never know what might be waiting for on the other end. I think of a scene from some old horror movie where the Crypt Keeper grabs our hand and pulls you into the wall. Next time be careful, very careful.