Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Heisenberg's Plumber

A plumber will be here on Monday morning. That is later than we had hoped, given that the absence of a functioning sink has become annoying. That lack didn't bother me so much when there were no cabinets, counters, or sink present. But now that our kitchen looks like a kitchen, it feels that it ought to function like a kitchen.

We had hoped to have the same, mountaineering plumber who helped us get things started in June finish the job, but he has left us high and dry. Neighbor Ron, who put us in contact with this latter day Sir Edmund, had warned that his friend's availability was a bit hard to predict, but I guess we didn't expect him to totally abandon us either. Ron has tried to convince us that we can do the work ourselves, as well as offering his services. Given that he's a nice guy who has been very helpful, I have been restrained in my response. Truth be told, some of the darkest moments in this entire project have involved Ron telling us that something or other would be easy "if that valve works the way it's supposed to." Of course, nothing ever works the way it's supposed to, and we're left with, "Huh! I didn't expect that... maybe we could try this." Gadzooks!

The uncertainty principle seemed humorous to me when applied to my new alarm clock. I find it less amusing when considering plumbing. Water finds a way. It always finds a way. We might keep it bottled up and flowing where we intend for years, but all along it will be working at exerting its own will. Eventually we are left mopping up a mess, all the while contemplating the difficulty of simultaneously measuring the leak's precise location and momentum. A skilled plumber, while not offering permanent freedom from this dilemma, affords some temporary peace of mind.

Finding an alternative plumber would pose less of problem if we had no sense of history. As it happens, we have had encounters with plumbers before. Of note is the radical traditionalist Catholic who installed our bathroom faucets. Apparently, in addition to refusal to recognize the changes in the Church brought about by Vatican II, this fellow refused to recognize that left is hot and right is cold. Specifically, he didn't accept the notion that the little arrow on the shower faucet should be pointing to H or C, instead aligning the handle, 180 degrees opposite, to do so. This infuriated Sally -- it still does, actually -- and she told him so. Lucky for him his faith tradition maintained that the opinions expressed by women could be totally discounted and ignored.

I have long since adjusted to using the faucet handle as the temperature indicator. Sally, being a radical traditionalist when it comes to shower faucets, has never accepted that reality. Given the desire for both hot showers and warm conjugal relationship, you can understand my anxiety about finding a fitting plumber.

On the bright side, Monday is only a few days away. Closing my eyes, I can see our gleaming, satin nickel faucet in place, bits of spray catching the autumn sun's rays as the stream of water begins its journey to the sea, after a brief detour through our new Insinkerator Evolution Space Saver garbage disposal. Like an inevitable leak, hope springs eternal.

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