I have no idea if it's the famous "Joe The Plumber" or just a plumber named Joe. Every day I get at least six strangers who want to follow me on Twitter. I may be on a Twitter Needy List. Sometimes I look at the bios and decide to follow them, too. If the bio says, "I like shopping, chatting with my friends and riding in the car with my boyfriend," I know it's not my demographic.
But back to Joe, this is a good time to talk about plumbing because if I had it to do all over again, I would ONLY marry a plumber. There is nothing that puts fear in my bones more than a leaky pipe. It doesn't help that Holmes on Homes, the always critical, sometimes avuncular superhero of HGTV says: "where there's a leak, there's a flood." That is simply not true. I had a leak under a kitchen sink for weeks - maybe months and if I kept a bucket under it, no flood occurred. Floods only took place when I forgot to empty the bucket.
This recent plumbing problem helped me to discover that I have a lot of hidden fears about plumbing that are clogging up my subconscious. Here are my thoughts when I think about plumbing: I'm not sure where to turn off the water in my house if something bursts and water begins to cascade throughout my rooms. I don't even feel comfortable looking under the sink. I see orange or blue knobs that are probably for turning off the water at the site of the leak but I am sure that if I turn them they will break off in my hand and water will begin to cascade throughout my house forever. All my thoughts end with "water will begin to cascade throughout my house forever."
This leaky pipe story has a happy ending because last week, my middle child came for a visit with his wife and new baby. As anyone knows a family with a new baby is not getting enough sleep or free time. What they are getting is a lot of rude awakenings, metaphorical and real. Therefore, it was only when they were about to leave that I had the nerve to ask him to take a look at the leak under the kitchen sink. We went through all of the quick-fix scenarios: that white stretchy tape, the black stretchy tape (Xtreme tape), plumbers putty, blah blah blah. Nothing had worked. The little droplet of water would just find a different route to exit. I came to respect that little drop of water for its determination. My middle child left for the local hardware store and returned with a complicated stainless fitting that had a small hole at one end and a bigger one at the other. He asked me to turn off the water and then unscrewed the existing thread and the two pipes came apart. This would have sent me into cardiac arrest if I were alone. He said to me: The upper pipe is thinner than the lower pipe so we have to uncouple the pipes and put in new connections. Then he asked me for a hack saw (that set my pulse up a few notches) then he said, "never mind." After cleaning both pipes with steel wool, wrapping the ends in the white stretch tape and then re-uniting them with the help of the new double-holed fitting, all was serene. We turned on the water. It came out of the faucet. Nothing came out down below.
I love my middle child.