The Plumber

Today’s post comes to us from Ben.

I finally broke down and called a plumber. It didn’t hurt my pride as much as I might have expected.

There were two things; The dripping sink in the mudroom and the kitchen faucet that had very low water pressure.

My ‘Vintage’ mudroom sink started dripping a few months ago and heck, I can change a washer. Except, when evidently, I can’t. I made it worse. A lot worse. Like it wouldn’t even shut off worse. I bought whole new valve bodies. Nope, didn’t help. But they came with replacement seats. Except this sink is so old I didn’t figure it even had replaceable seats. And even taking it apart 14 times and putting it back together didn’t help. So. I turned off the cold water to let it “Think about what it’s done” for a while. That didn’t appear to be helping. Then even the hot side started to drip. Because the mudroom is directly above the utility room and hot water heater, I get hot water real quick. I learned to rinse my toothbrush REALLY FAST.

And then the kitchen sink. It has had low water pressure for a few years. Like you’d put a pot under it to fill then “go do something else for 10 minutes” kinda slow. I know it wasn’t always that way. It’s one of those where you can pull the nozzle and hose out the end. I had cleaned the aerator multiple times, I had changed the Moen cartridge, I changed the supply lines, and I even tried snaking a wire up the hose. Nothing helped. Kelly thought the tub/shower diverter valve thingy wasn’t working well either, so we thought maybe it was the pressure coming from the well house. But I thought my bathroom pressure was OK. I checked the pressure in the water tank and turned up the regulator and water pressure and thought maybe it helped a tad? But really not much.

And that meant the only thing left was the shut off valves under the sink. And I bought some from Menards. And I left them sit on the counter for a few weeks. The plumbing elves didn’t show up. I really didn’t want to try putting them in. I used to do “plumbing” down in the barn. (Notice I used that word in quotes). Cutting threads on a piece of black pipe and spilling water in the barn is a whole lot different than messing up the kitchen sink.  I really didn’t want to try replacing those valves.

Hence, the plumber.

He started with the mudroom sink. Turns out the seats CAN be replaced! I thought it was too old for that but no, the plumber could do that!  Joy! He changed both and it doesn’t drip anymore!

Up to the kitchen sink. Turns out the valves I bought were the wrong ones. Whew! I’m already glad I didn’t start this project. He replaced the first valve, then pulled off the second and there’s all sorts of white gunk in the pipe. Hmmm, odd. Kinda looks like calcium but not sure what it is. Maybe it’s from a few years ago when the old water softener quit working. Using a hose and bucket we flush the lines out. He installs the valves, I turn the water back on, and we get a good burst and then back to nothing. Hmmm. OK, working his way up, he pulls out the Moen cartridge. Except getting the handle off first was a bit of an issue. I was right in there helping. “Helping”.  I sort of expected at some point he was going to add the “Homeowner ‘helps’ surcharge” but he was a nice guy and he let me hold the flashlight for him. I offered helpful advice for the times I’ve pulled the handle off. While telling him at the same time he was the professional and I wasn’t trying to tell him how to do his job. But I was really afraid he was going to break something! At one point I tentatively suggested if he broke it, he had to buy a new one. Thankfully it didn’t come to that.

He got the valve out, it looked clean so then he moved on to the hose and nozzle. Aha! The bottom end of the hose is plugged up with this same white crud that was in the pipe earlier! A few more tricks to get the hose apart and we took it out to the shed and used the air compressor to blow it clean. He hooked the hose back up but re-assembling the faucet handle was still an issue. He knew stuff I didn’t know, and he made the assembly a little easier.

Turned the water back on and WOWZER! WE HAVE WATER! It’s fun, for a few days we giggle every time we turn on the water. I would never have gotten this fixed on my own.

After he left, I found a can of pipe dope that he left behind. We had joked that I get to keep anything he left.

And he had put the handle back on sideways. But I knew how to fix that.

What do you avoid doing?

Got a favorite sink? Appliance?  

35 thoughts on “The Plumber”

  1. I avoid dealing with the sliding closet doors in our bedrooms that need adjustment or get off their tracks. I really like our kitchen sink since it is extra deep. My favorite appliance is our Miele dishwasher.

    I do hope all the Twin Cities Baboons are safe, by the way.

    Liked by 3 people

        1. I have been thinking of him (And you) a lot. This must be so difficult for him. My son’s business is in Midway next to the Model Train Museum. We are hoping this did not get burned or looted.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. They’re in a good spot. There is a trouble area on University mostly between Snelling and Lexington. The looting can occur anywhere, but usually targets liquor stores and pharmacies.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. If they did get in there, I cannot imagine what they would think. The firm engineers Medical Simulation Technology, so they have all these simulated body parts laying around. For example, they did a dental project. So they have this head with a mouth open, a tongue and broken teeth lying on a shelf. Then my son’s step mother was getting a tour, picked it up, then dropped the head, breaking it more. It looks like the body part props on “Game of Thrones.”

          One of the engineers is also an aerialist, so they have all this aerial equipment in the waiting room hanging from the industrial ceiling that he plays on while thinking about digital engineering.

          If the looters broke in they would not even know …

          Liked by 1 person

        4. I’m not real familiar with the areas or stores. Ax-man surplus burned last night. It’s all just a shame to create so much more destruction.

          Liked by 1 person

        5. That is so disappointing about Axman. We need an Axman in St. Paul – they are irreplaceable.

          I drove by the business center where the Model Train Museum is today. Everything looked completely fine, everything on Transfer Road seemed untouched.. The compost site on Pierce Butler was closed, though, and won’t reopen till Monday at the earliest.

          Liked by 1 person

        6. Saw some pictures of Ax-man. Guess they didn’t get burned, just broken windows and some trashing inside the store. Guess the Iron Lung was too heavy to steal?
          Again, that’s really the only place I’m familiar with in that part of town.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I never liked the kitchen sink I had installed when I first bought my house. I told the contractor to keep it simple, just a plain white cast iron double sink. But the sink he chose had bowls that were a weird shape – instead of being evenly rectangular, they had a slant on the top edge, which made it impossible to put a standard size dishpan into the sink.

    After having that sink for maybe fifteen or twenty years, I saw a sink in the clearance area at Menard’s that was a catalog return. Can’t remember what I paid for it, but I think it was only around 50 bucks. It’s a copper color acrylic and you can actually put a dishpan into it. Then I got a copper finish faucet to go with it.

    When the plumber I hired to install it took out the old sink, I did a little DIY tilt-out on the sink base to store little stuff like sponges and nylon scrapers.

    Liked “we giggle every time we turn on the water” – there is something satisfying about a project like that.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. This is Clyde, impinging on your post for advice, if I may. Sandy has an appt. this afternoon at fairvliew just north of Southdale. My daughter thinks we should not go. It is only for blood tests and could be postponed. I am trying to get her to U hospitsl rheumatologist. So how safe would I be driving up on 169, over to France and up. And to echo Renee, how are you all doing in this awful moment?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wouldn’t hesitate to go there. The main protest area is in Minneapolis, and the protests have been mostly in the evenings with the fires & stuff going on overnight. Edina in the afternoon will probably look completely normal, though you might catch a whiff of smoke from the fires.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I completely concur with Linda’s assessment of the protests and fires. I can’t imagine there would be any problem coming up on 69 to get to Fairview Southdale.


    2. Yesterday I was at the Whole Foods store on Selby, and was unaware that anything was going on in St. Paul. Whole Foods is just south of the Midway, but separated from it by the freeway and the soccer stadium. So I was maybe a mile or so from a riot and didn’t realize it.

      Liked by 2 people

    3. hey clyde

      sorry to hear from you under duress but glad to hear from you.

      no problem coming up 169 to 62 to france and you’re there

      no problems here at all at this point and i don’t anticipate any trouble

      stay safe and stick your head in every now and again

      Liked by 2 people

    4. Hey Clyde, I live with in a few miles of there. There is nothing going on in Edina except business as usual. The Target there and where I live are closed, though.

      While everyone in my world is physically safe, we are all distressed about what is happening in our beloved community.

      Liked by 1 person

    5. Hi Clyde,
      We’re the closest of the Baboons to the epicenter of the protests and destruction- close enough to hear the sirens and firecrackers and news helicopters but other than that its relatively normal & calm. This morning was the first we could smell smoke from the fires.
      I would stay away from Lake Street, especially East Lake Street and University Avenue around Midway but other than that I wouldn’t worry.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. i had a bathtub drip a couple years ago that caused me to contact a plumber buddy

    he did have tricks up his sleeve i didn’t think of and a bunch of stuff in his truck that allowed him to replace the parts he needed

    i’ve been procrastinating a slow draining sink for a bit too long
    this ought to get me to prioritize it this weekend

    plumbing electrical automotive

    all brain scratching get on your back upside down with you fingers trying to be nimble with no room to work while stuff drops and has to be be reassembled in the same order it was in before you took it apart without paying attention

    god bless youtube.
    many repairs can be figured out with video assistance

    not bens plumbing but many of life’s little challenges can be helped along with youtube

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Gotta love YouTube and you’re right; I’ve used them as reference for lots of repairs. I even looked up the dripping faucet and replacing valves under the sink.


  5. I avoid things like calling our phone company to try and find out why there are two local friends who cannot get through to us on our land line… their cell phones do the trick, though.

    Or figuring out anything electronic -like deciding which iPad we should buy…

    Favorite appliance is the toaster oven, esp. in summer – I have a rectangular baking dish that just fits in it, and it keeps me from having to heat up the place so much in the summer.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. RIse and Shine Baboons,

    We have been waiting to call a handyman in to remove a broken-beyond-repair microwave in our kitchen. It is one of those over-the-stove things that is screwed in there somehow. Next winter we hope to have the kitchen remodeled, so we don’t want to replace it with something that would be again replaced. This microwave broke the day before we left for Arizona. I put a note on it for myself, because I assumed I would forget by the time we returned. I was correct about that. Now I am trying to figure out if it ok to allow a handyman in the house if he wears a mask. Our local handyman is “opposed” to masks, so I don’t want to ask him to do it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. There is a plate bolted into the wall on which it hangs. It is completely within your skill range, if you have the strength to life it, but two on hand is sort of necessary. Look it up on utube. You can do it


      Liked by 2 people

  7. Like everyone else, I hate to call in a pro who will charge a lot for fixing something that might be simple. I’ve been heartened by the way even pros struggled to fix things I hadn’t been able to get working. For example, when I set up my TV after moving here in June I had all kinds of trouble. After a lot of hassle and two visits by repairmen, we learned that the brand new cable box from Comcast was fatally flawed, a possibility we hadn’t considered. While we were trying to discover what was wrong we had to put up with demeaning messages from Comcast that asked, “Are you sure the appliance is plugged in?”

    Liked by 3 people

  8. For decades I would’ve said that my favorite appliance was my kitchen stand mixer. But I’ve told that sad story here. What I haven’t told is that the new mixer with all the money that I put into it to repair it (after three years) is now sitting on the side window counter. Because it irritates me. I purchased a smaller stand mixer from Aldis two years ago when it was on sale and I use that 95% of the time. If it’s a big job (like when I had to do holiday cookies) then I drag out the big one. But if I don’t have to look at it too often I don’t get too irritated.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Thank you all for input. Now not sure she can go.
    Her dementia reached a new low this week, scary. Hurtful actually. Now trying to find out how I next proceed. Trying to manage all her illnesses and changes in protocols–uff duh.
    I lived in the heart of the south Chicago riots. Eerie how distant one can be from riots not very far away.
    A side note: some of you may remember my grandson Mr. Tuxedo, my four-year old grandson who asked for and received a tuxedo for Christmas so he could play spy. Well, Mr. Tuxedo is now 6′ 2” and still growing and has his learner’s permit.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Oh, and, favorite appliance: new instant pot with air fryer. I use it almost every day. Among the few things she can eat are squash, sweet potatoes, yams. Steaming them is perfect for her.

      Liked by 4 people

  10. BTW, we did make it up. Were there 2 hours for lab tests. She had 17 vials drawn and then urine sample, the time delay.
    Impressive how empty France Ave was.

    Liked by 1 person

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