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L. Neil Smith's
Number 593, October 31, 2010

"These times aren't exiting, they are downright exhilarating!"

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Adding Insult to Injury
by E.J. Totty

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Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

This life of mine is getting more interesting by the day.

Check this out: Yesterday, the faucet for the sink in the master bathroom started to leak around the cold water valve side. As a side note, I don't know why it's called such, i.e., master bedroom/bathroom, because I'm no master of anyone, I just live here. But my girlfriend—being the wisecrack she is—suggested the 'master' part had something to do with fishing. You know, there being an apprentice baiter, then a journeyman baiter, and then of course the man with the most experience: The Master Baiter.

I told her that I'd never been in the fishing trade, but she just looked at me and smirked in a knowing way. You know how women can be: Cryptic as all get-out. I left it at that ...

So, I undertook to reconnoiter the matter in order to develop a plan of attack. The term "reconnoiter" is a military term, and I was getting ready to wage war on that leak!

Well then, I very professionally disassembled the faulty valve—after securing the water, of course—and removed the innards. Essentially nothing was found to be bad: All of the seals were in excellent condition. So I reassembled the bugger, and upon turning on the supply valve, the bugger began to leak even more severely than priorly!

An evaluation of the matter found that the valve assembly was essentially made of nylon plastic with a cheap chromed metal cover, and that the mixer section—where the hot and cold sides mix prior to exiting the spigot, had developed a fracture. That's a fancy name for "crack."

Yes, it's true: I've some crack in my house, a few cracks, actually. And I'll be supposing that whomever in the government is reading this is getting ready to send in the kevlar cowboys (swat team) and seek to discover where my crack is. That ought to be real fun! :-D

So, since that faucet was defunct, I decided to move operations into the guest bath until I replaced the faucet.

Well, wouldn't you know that the very same thing had happened to that faucet as well! It wasn't nearly as bad, and so I decided to not disassemble that one!

Today I went to the local hardware store, bought two brand-spanking-new faucets—ensuring that they were constructed of metal and NOT nylon plastic—and proceeded to go-to-town on the matter: General Quarters time!

I want to tell you here and now, that at my age you don't need to be crawling into tight spaces under sinks inside tight cabinets, and bumping your head into things you priorly only saw in passing, like drain lines and such! And of course—of course!—contorting one's body into entirely weird positions which I can't say that I'd ever managed before now! Well, maybe when I was much younger and was crawling around the inside the confining spaces of the wing tanks of big planes ...

Anyway, after much cussing, and the swearing of oaths that would turn even Satan's ears red, I finally got the new faucet installed, only to discover that the sink drain had rusted-out to such an extent that it couldn't be repaired. You see? In replacing the faucet, you need to replace the sink drain too because the sink stopper is a part of the whole.

Understand here that I got really friendly with that sink in the process of doing things, and I even discovered when it had been manufactured: 1984.

Got that? 1984, the title of George Orwell's famous novel. I felt put upon, severely! 1984 had finally put the whammy on me, in a really bad way. Big Brother was getting even with me for all these years of slamming him!!!

So now I have to go back to the hardware store and find me TWO sink basins, because the other hummer in the guest bath is just as old, and likely just as bad-off. I ain't take'n no chances!! :-)

Gawd, I just love this: I get to do the same job twice more. The first time was—I will guess—just for "drill." That's another military term for "practice."

But there's a side benefit here—if you're inclined to refer to it as such—in that I may now assemble the whole shebang before installing the sink. and the only crawling will be to install the drain into the gas trap.

But wait: I ain't done yet, because now I also have to replace the kitchen sink faucet, as it too has sprung a leak. Not a bad one, and I had already bought the new faucet a few months back. I just never got around to changing it out.

Now, if I'm lucky (yeah: if) these new installations will outlive me. I'd hate to think about having to "re-familiarize" myself with those confining spaces yet again when I'm in my late 80's or early 90's ...

In all of this, I owe my old man—may he rest in peace—for the plumbing knowledge he passed on to me in my formative years. And the USN as well, for having stuffed me into that hell-hole referred to as #4 Main Machinery Room on U.S.S. Saratoga (CVA-60), where for three years I learned all about boilers, fuel oil heaters, pumps and valves of various types, and an assortment of other things which have broadened my knowledge base immeasurably.

Had I not experienced all of that, I'd have hired someone to do the job for me, and it would have cost many times more!

Of course he would have been the one doing all that swearing of oaths and have been the one who got dirty and bruised.

Ah, what the heck: I'm not so old that I can't handle the small stuff!! :-)


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