Tuesday, July 27, 2004

I'm Such A Drip

It's well documented here (reference :1, 2 and 3 to begin with) that I am completely inept when it comes to repairing anything around the house.

Still occasionally Amy will allow me to pretend I have some small fragment of mechanical skill by permitting me to attempt a household project....because of past abuses this has now been limited to replacing light bulbs.

Last week though, she looked the other way, said a small prayer, and approved my offer to install a new shower head in our bathroom. It's a duel shower head with a hose attachment that makes it easier for Amy to shower and still keep her central line dressing dry. Truly, it was a job even I was capable of doing. I unscrewed the old shower head, put some pipe tape on the pipe and screwed on the new one.

End of story.

Of course not.

For whatever reason, after I installed the shower head I noticed that the tub faucet was suddenly dripping. The faucet controller is attached with one screw, which I suspected only needed to be tightened a bit and the leak would stop.

To me, this seemed like another household handyman chore for which I was perfectly suited. I was able to hang onto this illusion primarily because Amy was asleep when I made this decision (reference: 4).

Being careful to remove the outer cover of the faucet controller without damaging it, or waking Amy, I got out my screwdriver and gently tightened the screw.

It still leaked.

I tightened it a little more.

Drip, drip, drip.

I started to tighten it further and then noticed that I was close to stripping the screw so I stopped - in 47 years I have learned some things...of course it took me about 46 years to learn most of them, but I've screwed up enough screws to know that when you reach the point where the screw head starts to give way, it's time to give up.

I put the cover back on the faucet controller and decided a slight drip was no big deal. No harm, no foul.

So then yesterday afternoon I returned from my daily walk and hopped into the shower. I noticed that the water was warm....very warm, so I turn the faucet toward "cold". I then noted that the water would no longer be considered warm per se...hot was a better description...boiling hot!


I fiddled with the faucet for about 2 more seconds before coming to the realization that I either had to get out of the shower or I would soon morph into what most folks would likely refer to as "broth".

Obviously I screwed something up...by tightening one screw.

Taking my usual approach toward such dilemmas, I turned off the water and tried to ignore the entire situation. I went upstairs and used the other shower.

Today however I returned from my walk and decided I had to fix the problem. Once again I carefully removed the cover to the faucet controller. I unscrewed the screw and peered around the faucet innards apparently looking for wisdom.

There was only thing visible in there, so I used some pliers to center that thing assuming I must have tightened the faucet into a permanent hot water position. I then put everything back as it was before and prayed.

Miraculously it worked! The cold water returned. I could now take a shower without the risk of the neighbors thinking we were watching "The Wizard of Oz" at 2000 decibels due to the screams of, "Help me, I'm melting!" echoing from our house.

Of course the faucet still drips.

How sad is that? I now consider home repairs where I manage to return things to the way they were before I attempted to fix them major successes.