Monday, February 20, 2012

When All Else Fails....Call The Plumber

For about a year now, closing the kitchen at night included shoving the faucet all the way to the left, then strategically placing sponges so when it dripped, it didn't flood the counter. I'd gotten so used to this nightly ritual that I didn't even have to think about it; my hands knew exactly where the sponge dams had to be stuffed. And in the morning, I would come down and wring out all the sponges, then place them in their daytime slots.

The father-in-law was casually mentioning things like, "When are you going to get around to replacing that faucet?" and "How about I spring for the plumber because I don't want you doing this yourself."  Then the other morning, I stumbled down stairs and despite my best efforts, the sponge dams had overflowed. No big whoop. I just wrung them out, wiped up the mess....and took a look hard look at my 22 year old faucet. It had seen better days. I think Steve replaced the piston at least once, possibly twice. The spray nozzle he added for sinus streaming was well past its expiry date, and the side sprayer had long stopped working efficiently. There was no way around it. I needed a new kitchen faucet. 

If you know me at all, you know I am a "do yer homework" kinda shopper. I knew I was going to have to move fast on this one, so back in August,  I started researching faucets. Last week, I broke down, selected the Kohler Forte and went over to Home Depot to buy the damn thing….for $200 which was a good price.  The name of our plumber I found amongst Steve's household notes. I figured I was on borrowed time with that thing; sooner was better than a flood plain later.  I made the appointment for Thursday. 

Wednesday night was clean-out-under-the-sink night. I was ready for this. The father-in-law was pretty impressed with the speed of the operation, but he looked askance at the collection of Windex gallon jugs. "Your son," I explained with knowing nod. [Note to family: this is our version of Richard and ketchup in the trunk.] 

Thursday morning, a kid shows up at the door and says, "Hi, I'm Nate the plumber." He was a cute kid, but I had my doubts. I mean, he was skinny and his pants fit. What kind of plumber is that? I stayed just long enough to discuss whether or not I wanted a soap dispenser where the old sprayer went, and to bid "adieu" to the old faucet before heading off to work. 

I wasn't at my desk more than 15 minutes when the cell phone rang. It seems that after he installed the new faucet it was leaking all over the place. Nate took it apart...and it was clear someone had already been there…the new innards had been replaced with old, broken ones. I immediately called Home Depot, had another faucet brought to the service desk.  Nate the plumber was dispatched.

Now I don't know what plumbers cost other places, but here, they get more than psychiatrists. And my bill was going up by the minute. I was torqued.  No, I was beyond torqued, I was pissed. At lunch, I ran over to Home Depot. I asked to see a manager, and a  guy named Ryan showed up. I was the picture of calm. I explained what happened. Lucky for me, the story was immediately corroborated by the lady with whom I initially spoke. "My biggest issue," I told him, "is that this will add a hundred bucks to the plumber’s bill. When you pay two hundred bucks for a faucet, this shouldn't happen." He agreed. He made all the appropriate noises. By the end of the discussion, I had the matching soap dispenser and a $50 adjustment to the price of the faucet....and that added up to about a hundred bucks.
Installing the soap pump took all of ten minutes (I reversed the washer and the flange and had to redo it) and boy! What a regular mechaya having that soap pump! No more knocked over Dawn bottles! And now, the sponges are gone, too! It’s so tidy! And dry! It’s a miracle!

And when it was all done and everything was back neatly under the sink and I was admiring my beautiful new faucet, my father-in-law strolls in and says, “So, you think you should do something about that driveway?"

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
When the landscape guy presents you with the driveway estimate
try not to drop from the shock. 


  1. Love it,"He was skinny and his pants fit."
    We had a plumber unblock a toilet last year - $325!
    Too bad Muhlenberg College does not offer Plumbing as a major!

  2. It's funny how life is... I've avoiding calling a plumber for months because I was willing to put up with occasional leakage when I opened the cold water spicket leading to our washer. Well, this weekend a more than moderate gusher appeared so with my wife's urging I called our plumbing team today.

    A few moments later I opened your weekly blog and there staring me in the face: "When All Else Fails....Call The Plumber".

    Think they'll send Nate?

  3. It's important to know what is ok to buy at Home Depot and what isn't...and what I've learned is when it comes to electrical or plumbing supplies, spring for quality. Even the name brands sold at HD are cheap versions of good brands. Faucets should be until remodeling do us part. Big box faucets don't fill the bill. Or even the sink sometimes.

  4. Reminds me of my husband's recent hot water heater adventure with Sears. Did you know they have different 800 numbers for every problem? They tried to install the incorrect water heater twice! And when they brought the correct one, the guy couldn't make it work. The repair person, yes we had to call a repair person for the brand new water heater, said the installer just hadn't bled the pipes enough. Oh, well.

    (p.s. I like spotting your comments in the New York Times.)

  5. Well, that was quite an adventure. Good thing Home Depot agreed to your requirements. ; ) Finding a good plumber can be such a task. An initial interview should always be in order, and writing down everything in black and white is always advisable to protect both parties.

    Darryl Iorio

  6. "Hi, I'm Nate the plumber."---Haha! Nice introduction there! ;) Well, you doubted him at first, but in the end he delivered with fantastic results! Isn’t that great? “When All Else Fails....Call The Plumber”--- You should really remember this one from now on! :))

  7. Finding a good plumber can be such a task. An initial interview should always be in order, and writing down everything in black and white is always advisable to protect both parties.
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