Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Battle of the Wash Basin

Our old laundry basin has been in need of replacement for years now. It has been leaking rinse water for as long as I can remember, and the ancient barrel trap underneath has plugged constantly. When it sprang a fourth leak, the time had come to permanently replace it. There were by then more buckets catching drips below it than actual floor space beneath the cement double basin.

The campaign began with a trip to Home Depot, where we found most of the materials we needed. I say most because efforts like this always end up needing more supplies than one at first thinks, and the history of the conflict, man versus plumbing, bore out this truth. Yet we had garnered the bulk of what was necessary, and the enemy was duly engaged on Saturday morning.

The old tubs were too heavy to be moved easily, so they had to be broken apart and carried out in pieces. Selecting a short handled five pound sledgehammer which looked like the one Thor uses in Marvel Comics, and holding towards the sky as he did for strength and symbolism, I began to strike the cement walls of the beast. I also felt a little like the ape in 2001: A Space Odyssey who has just learned to use that bone as a weapon, banging the hammer into the cement as Also Sprach Zarathustra resounded in my mind. Soon the old basin was in small bits, which I carried out for the bulk trash pickup.

While setting the new basin in place after clean up, I made one tiny miscalculation. I love using PVC for the drains, but you have to make up your mind exactly how you're going to piece it together because when the glue sets, and it sets frighteningly fast, you're, ahem, stuck with the final product. There are no mulligans, no re-dos. So when I secured two parts together and stupidly angled one 180 degrees opposite of what was required, it meant quite maddeningly that all I could do was go and buy another trap. Yet with the trap purchased at a local hardware and the correct alignment, I was soon finished with Saturday's work and sat back to relish my victory on day one of the battle.

Day Two should have been easy, but I went a step too far, trying to remove an old cast iron pipe which I could have and should have worked around easily. But arrogance and pride being the Devil's tools I had made up my mind that it had to go. I mean, it had to. I had already bought the PVC supply line to replace it. I was, I believed, more of a man that it was a pipe.

A sad and silly mistake. I would have been better off sacrificing the, literally, 89 cents the proposed replacement parts cost me, for all I did was create a leak where one had not before existed. Yet now it was far too late on Sunday to do more than make a fifth trip to the hardware (I did mention the other four, for those unexpected yet necessary parts, didn't I?) for putty to mend the leak temporarily so that we could use our washing machine. But the putty would not hold, even after the third application (and two beers; was there a connection?), and the drip, though slight, mocked me. The battle mainly won, though, the drip caught easily in a two and a half gallon bucket, I resolved that total victory would come today, Monday. I was 95% victorious as it was.

It is dripping more slowly this morning. The bucket is not even half full. Do I call off a permanent solution until the weekend, take time from work today to end it all, or call a plumber?

Heh, heh, call a plumber. Right. I'll keep you informed.

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