That’s me, the right tool for the job.
On Friday, my daughter Madison called me to tell me that there was a problem with her toilet. It wouldn’t flush. The fill valve quit working. I tried to talk her through fixing it, but we just couldn’t understand each other. Turns out, Madison doesn’t yet speak “toilet”. “Madison, this will have to wait until I get home.”
“But dad! I really need to flush this thing…”
I told her to Google “how a toilet works” so she would at least know what I was talking about when I said fill valve. She told me to just forget it, she’d wait for me to come home. A few minutes later, I get a picture of the inside of our toilet tank.
The top of the valve looked broken so I told her it was dead. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t but I didn’t want to mess with it, this was going nowhere fast. I sent back the edited the photo, highlighting the arm I wanted her to push down. Anyway, it didn’t work. The valve really was broken and later that night, I made my first of many trips to the hardware store with the kids.
Saturday morning, my wife took the car to pick up our Bountiful Basket. When she got back, she said the car barely started and that she was worried about turning it off while she shopped. It’s the battery. It’s been going soft all week and now it was critical. I didn’t want to do that job in the 108º heat and it was still pretty early, so I headed to the garage to get the tools I’d need. I’d better get started.
Holy Shit! Houston, we have a problem… the water heater supply line had sprung a leak. Days ago. It pretty much looked like this…
The garage looked like a flash-flood zone. Water was spraying everywhere and creating rivers under the boxes of camping gear, Christmas ornaments and brand new motorcycle parts; not a good situation.
I put that water heater in just last year when it sprang a leak. I knew then I should have replaced both supply lines, but I only replaced the one that broke when I removed it. I’m pretty lazy like that sometimes. I ran to shut off the water to the house and groans were heard for miles around when I told the girls they’d have no water, probably for hours.
First stop: Autozone to tackle the battery. Without that, it was possible that I’d not be able to do anything about our new garage fountain. (That’s going to be a thing someday – for the super rich)
I replaced the battery in our car last year, so I knew just what I was doing and it only took a few minutes to do. I was actually pretty proud of myself. I wonder if it was a record battery replacement time. It was the shortest time between battery replacements ever though. Don’t buy the cheap parts, for god’s sake, they are cheap for a reason.
With the battery done and the clock and radio stations reset, I headed to my local Ace Hardware store. My second trip in under 12 hours. I just needed a 3/4″ solder-on flex hose and a valve. Since I was out of gas for my torch, I headed to the gas aisle first.
Guess what I found? I found the newest, high-tech way to fix something the wrong way, every time! I fell for it hook, line and sinker! “Now I can fix anything!”. I even got out my cell phone and watched the awesome video that sold me right there in the aisle. Whoa, so cool. This fixes high pressure water leaks! That’s great.
My house is a rental. Frankly, it’s someone else’s problem anyway. The FiberFix is just $10, the gas alone is more than that. That is how I’m going to fix it. YES! Viable shortcut in action – this plan is a GO! I buy the FiberFix, run home, follow the instructions carefully, wrap the pipe, wait the recommended time and go turn on the water. Well, it stemmed the tide, but it still leaks, the water is coming out of the ends of the wrap, but maybe I’m on to something here. I could just fix it right. I should. Damn it. What now? Back to Ace for more wrap. This time I’ll buy the $20 roll!
FiberFix, the newest, high-tech way to fix something the wrong way, every time!
I wrapped it again with both rubber tape and the larger FiberFix. After waiting a little while, I turn the water back on and TA-DA an even bigger fountain than before. Also, the rubber tape has a huge bubble growing on it. “She’s gonna blow!” As I’m walking to the water main to turn the water off again, I hear it pop. Now my tool box is full of water too. This is going GREAT so far!
Finally, I call my dad and ask if he has a torch with gas and can I borrow it. He does and yes I can. Beautiful, because at this point, I’m not buying a bottle of gas. Just on GP. A fourth trip to ACE yields the required hardware and within 15 minutes, I have repaired the stupid pipe, the right way.
Let this be a lesson to you. It’s one you already know. If you are thinking of taking a shortcut on a job, just don’t. All of this is going to happen to you too. It always does and it’s not Murphy’s Law, it’s plain laziness. Oh, by the way, I still haven’t put in that toilet valve. I guess I’ll get to that tomorrow.
I wonder if I can just fix the one I already have?