Sunday, February 01, 2004


These truths have been established-
I don't ask for directions.
I'm not handy.

Our kitchen sink has a pull out faucet. While Amy was in the hospital it suddenly started acting like a flower worn by a circus clown. It began squirting water in my face every time I turned on the tap. My diagnosis: we needed a new faucet, but today I realized I might be able to simply replace the hose which had sprung a leak. I know this is obvious to everyone else, but it was a big step for me. I've been known to buy a new car because my old one needed a tune up.

Actually, I have ignored the leak for a while, learning to duck the spray, not extend the hose at all, or better yet just let stuff pile up in the sink. When Amy came home she informed that even if I didn't pull out the hose, it was still leaking, under the sink. That revelation resolved the mystery of the moldy musty smell of which I was frequently getting a whiff, but in return I also felt better about my personal hygiene.

Since the person normally in charge of all home repairs in our household is on the injured list, I took it upon myself to venture to the store known to most as Home Depot, but which I refer to as the place where I go to buy something, and then have to go back 4 or 5 times to return it and or buy additional parts.

I did have the sense for once to take the part I wanted to replace with me, and this is where I crossed into new territory. I actually asked someone for help. A woman employee eyed me with suspicion, looked at my flaccid sink hose and said, "shower hose replacement...over there by the shower heads" as she pointed and walked away.

Assuming she knew more than I did, which is normally a good bet, I went to the shower hose area and searched diligently. Soon I realized that there was no replacement part there.

Normally this would have resulted in me throwing up my hands, and buying a new faucet...and then waiting for Amy to get well enough to install it. However since I had already broken new ground by asking for help, I decided to try again. I approached a young male employee who told me with certainty, "If it's not here, we don't have it".

I was struck by the profundity of that statement. It seemed like the perfect response if you wanted to be of zero help to anyone while still being truthful; however I was emboldened by this point so I tried to get past his self imposed barrier to communication by holding up my sagging sink hose and saying, "It's a sink hose not a shower hose."

At that instant I penetrated his resistance. He looked at me, looked at my limp hose, and said, "Well, it might be in the area for sink replacement parts". Suddenly we were moving at a brisk pace. He led me down cavernous aisles and then pointed to a wall and said, "If it's not there we don't have it."

With that, he was gone. I was left wondering if Home Depot actually trains people to be so dispassionate.

Nonetheless I had a new found sense of hope which was vindicated within moments when I found a "universal" sink hose replacement.

I got the kit home and started the repairs only to be stymied by the fact that the cabinet under our sink is not made for people of my girth. At one point I was forced to ask Amy to see if she could tighten the ends since she is considerably smaller than I, but it was soon evident she didn't have the strength.

This is another point where under normal circumstances I would have given up, but I dug deep to some inner source of power and bent my considerable frame into that tiny space. I'm certain practitioners of yoga would call this position "stretching the beached whale" but in any case I was able to lay there and fiddle with attachments in hopes of finding the karma like balance between hose and water that is reached when the water stays in the hose and out of my face.

It was trial and error...and error...and error, but then all of a sudden I turned on the faucet and it didn't leak!

I had done it! I had attained a state of dryness.

A tear came to my eye.


Several days after writing this I noticed we still had a water leak under our sink.   My brother in law came to town soon afterwards.   He is handy.   He fixed our sink...and restored my ego to its usual position.