Monday, August 27, 2012

Here Comes the Plumber: Part Two

In the end, the final tally read as follows: $7200.00 in the blink of an eye, a house covered in white sanding dust, fourteen trips to Home Depot, a half-month lost in a haze of home improvement, one returned Fossil bag, and a partridge in a pear tree. The boiling point almost came when Marc disappeared for an entire day, sending a total stranger that he hired in the Wal-Mart parking lot an hour before to finish the sheet rocking job. His name was Jack and he did a great job, but I was uncomfortable when learning he’d never worked for Marc before, never even met him in fact. Then he got into a yelling match with Marc on the cell phone while at our house, angry at Marc for vanishing on a six-hour lunch break, and leaving no direction for the day. And that was the last we saw of the Jack Attack.

For the last few weeks, as we lived and labored through this project that started on a busted toilet and ended with a total remodel, I’d redubbed our Dream Summer the Disappointment Summer. But now, the house is clean, the painting’s done, the plumbers are gone, and as I stand in our brand-new, modernized bathroom, I see the beginnings of a home that we can be happy in, and that makes this the Happiest Summer. Not happy because of the new vanity and new tube with the mold-proof walls, happy because we have peace of mind against the possibility of what could’ve came from this faulty water system, and nothing is more important than that. If we had ignored the problem, spent our summer funds on Cape Cod and Fossil Bags, the fallout could’ve been epic. Now my family is safe, my house is sound, and the moral is nothing great comes without a little hardship along the way.

I am happier than ever that we didn’t sell our house this past spring, trade up to the big place with the perfect pool. I would’ve been saddened to see a young couple come into our home and have to deal with this plumbing disaster right away. The truth is we haven’t earned the big place with the perfect pool yet. The truth is we still had work to do in our current house, lessons to learn about interior improvement, and waiting our rightful turn, because nothing great comes RIGHT NOW. And nothing new can come until the work on the old is complete, shortcuts and easy way outs be damned. I forgot that for a time last spring. I relearned it two months later.

And now I know about shower valves, and water mains, and drainage pipes. I am a smarter, more informed home owner now, and that wouldn’ve happened if we had cut and run to the big place with the perfect pool before we had earned the right to upgrade that way. Nothing in life is worth it unless you earn it. Nobody is inspired by seeing a twenty-two year old in a Mercedes. Nobody is genuinely excited about the Kardashians’ fame, for the fact that it isn’t real, it wasn’t fought for and won, it was given. And now: who knows? We may never leave this house.

Of course Marc had to come back yesterday, because no “good” thing just ends easy either. Turns out he put the shower nozzle on wrong-way around. Which meant turning the water off, taking the shower apart, another trip to Home Depot, and forty more minutes of me doing the nodding-along thing as he explained the nozzle cartridge insertion. But something funny happened. As he explained the latest round of work, I actually DID understand. I wasn’t just a nodding drone saying, “OK, how much?” I knew what he was saying. I could’ve done it myself, ah, maybe. And like the poet Flavor Flav once said, “Knowing, my good man, is half the battle.”

I must admit I grew to like Marc and his rotating gang of assistant plumbers. But I was relieved that this nozzle-cartridge install would the absolute last stop on this job. Oh wait: Didn’t I say that same thing three weeks ago when white-haired Mike left with my $900.00? Back then my financial plane was plummeting towards Earth. Today my plane is at the refill station, and will soon fly again. Next summer: Cape Cod. Then again, the inside doors need replacing and new kitchen cabinets would be nice. OK, the summer after that: Cape Cod here we come.

Brian Huba


  1. $7,200.00?! That’s a lot! I consider that money well-spent, though, all for the resolution of your plumbing issues and the revamping of the house. I’m glad your plumbing woes are now over. These kinds of problems can really put you off the mood. Despite Marc’s morning flight, he did well in calling the plumber. He definitely knows who is the best man for the job!

  2. “And now I know about shower valves, and water mains, and drainage pipes. I am a smarter, more informed home owner now.” There is definitely a lesson to be learned in every situation, one way or another. And sometimes, it’s up to you to work things out to discover new things about yourself, or just about anything. In your case, it made you more of a handyman which is a great achievement as a husband. :) Kudos!

    Althea Tumlin

  3. If the plumber you hire is best in work and provide you complete satisfaction then there is no matter of money. Spending money on non-expert plumber is bad idea. Always choose the best.
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  4. Whoa, spending that huge amount of money on plumbing must have been absolutely disappointing. But Allan has a point: at least, all your plumbing problems are gone. It’s just regretful that you had to spend that much just to keep everything working well. Well, let’s hope you don’t have to spend that kind of money again on plumbing! :)


  5. Repairing your plumbing system was a good idea, even if it meant you had to shed a huge amount for it. What makes this a wise spending is that it increases the value of your house, and doing so will spare you from untimely repairs. Working with plumbers is not at all that bad and boring, you can learn something from them. Who knows, next time, you can repair your plumbing system, all by yourself.

    -Don Bennett @ AthensPlumbing

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