Another guest post by O:

The bane of my current existence: plumbing.

When the topic of replacing a faucet came up I was ready to give it a go. I mean seriously, who among us hasn't watched "This Old House" and though to ourselves, "wow, I could probably do that?" I willing undertook the project - though with the requisite amount of [suppressed] trepidation; after all, I am a theorist and have actually never done this before.

Of course, when dealing with plumbing I do know to shut off the water. (After all, I didn't want Desi Arnez to come running in and say "O! You've made a big mess in here...") I've read that this can be tricky, as the valves are notoriously prone to self-sealing from disuse. They turned freely, the water was off and I removed my client's faucet (for I am visiting, and thus have no faucet of my own on which to focus these whims of construction) without a problem. I'd also read that this removal can be difficult and so with two of the admittedly more difficult steps completed, I was well on my way.

It may have been at this time that I began to get a bit smug. I cannot recall; subsequent toiling and analysis has clouded my memories of my mind-set at that time. Perhaps I thought to myself that I was really, really good. If these thoughts weren't yet in my mind they surely entered after I proceeded to successfully install the new faucet! Bright and shiny without a leak in sight! At this point in time I knew with little doubt that I was indeed really, really good.

With the faucet in place I was then well on my way to the removing and then replacing the drain plug. The removal went smoothly and after a bit of improvisation - oh yes, I can improvise plumbing fixtures now! - I reassembled the pipes and called my client into the workspace for the inaugural "running of the water." Success!

It was at this time that I distinctly remember interlocking my fists and shaking them over my shoulders. [First right, then left.] This jubilation was witnessed by my assistant. I'm sure my smile was so genuine it could have passed for photogenic... And then in happened.

Drip, drip, drip.
And it wasn't just one joint; indeed all three connections began to cry. I was crushed but not defeated and so for the better part of the next hour I pondered and reconfigured: drip, drip, drip. I removed and resealed: drip, drip, drip. I furrowed my brow and stroked my chin: drip, drip, drip. Defeat.

The next day brought a trip to the hardware store and hope that newer fittings would seal correctly. A pipe was cut - oh yes, I'm cutting pipe now! - and placed optimistically. Still leaking. Again I resealed and tightened the fittings with in mixture of frustration and rage. Still leaking.

Finally the expert was brought in. ["I'm bringing in the Wolf"]. Yes, I was depressed, but I was also happy that the burden was being shifted to someone who was more than just a theorist.

I briefed the expert on the current situation.

Onlookers: Do you guys need anything?
Expert: Yes, a plumber!
Me: [inaudible snickering]

After sighs of consternation and grunts of force ("man, you really torqued it!") the drain was removed and carefully analyzed. Subsequent discussion and expert analysis yielded a morale-saving conclusion: the new drain was designed to fit neither the sink nor the pipes in our project.
And so tomorrow brings yet another trip to yet another hardware store.
Stay tuned...

Down but not out,

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