Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Foot Follies - Day 3

I've been "booted" for three days, and doing my best to adjust and follow doctor's orders. Only minor weight-bearing for getting to the bathroom or the kitchen, and elevating as much as possible. The Love of My Life is taking on the lion's share of household responsibilities, including most of the care taking of the elderly Miss Zelda. During the day, I do get up and let her outside and give her some food and water when she wants. I just slowly hobble into the kitchen and do what I can.

Today was no different. I hobble into the kitchen to give the dog water. I notice how the water is only dribbling out of the faucet. It has been getting worse day by day. It is a new sink, and a new fancy aerator hose faucet. I am annoyed. So, being home and feeling useless, I decide today is the day to fix it.

 I unscrew the aerator at the end of the faucet, and sure enough it is clogged full of I don't want to know what. I clean it, give the dog her water dish, and screw it back on. And screw. And screw. Righty tighty, lefty loosey. Ok, maybe it is upside down. Lefty lefty lefty. No attachment. So I stick my finger in the faucet to feel where the threads are, and they are not at the end of the faucet, but waaaay up it, almost where I can't reach. As I am touching it, it moves. I have never had a faucet where the threads were not carved right into the end of the pipe. I touch it again, and something sails UP the faucet, over the curve and clunks down somewhere near the handle. I turn on the water, thinking the pressure will push it back down. Nope. No water comes out. Not from the faucet anyway. But I hear water flowing somewhere. Under the sink, and onto the floor.

Now I have to contort myself somehow to get my body, complete with booted foot, down to the floor, to open the cabinet and begin scooping the contents out. I reach to the back of the cabinet, and turn off the water. The hot water, anyway. The cold water shut off needs to be replaced and can only be turned by superhumans. I mop up the puddle in the cabinet and the floor and am satisfied that nothing is leaking. But what to do? Call a plumber? Call a friend? Who is home in the middle of the day and doesn't have a broken foot or the flu?

I admit that there is a long history of people getting calls for help from me. Not every day, not every month, but often enough — well — memorable enough, that it is kind of a joke among my family and friends. A great story for my brother-in-law and nephew who had to rescue me when I was stuck in the bathroom window. One for my neighbor who witnessed the famous "boiling paint" phenomena on my kitchen ceiling when he was helping me paint. The time my other brother-in-law had to go to my house to find a spare key to my car because I was locked out in front of my daughter's school. And the car was running. The day another friend came over because I had discovered a cavernous hole to who knows where under my kitchen cabinets. That friend's wife and the police officer who assisted in the "dead" rooster incident. And the granddaddy of all the rescue stories, the night my sister and her neighbors came to rescue me from a bat. In fact, the critter stories are such family lore that I have given them their own chapter in Treading Water.

I ended up calling Jimmy, a recently retired friend who had taken me to the podiatrist to get my broken foot examined. His parting words to me were, "call me if you need anything." 

At first he didn't understand exactly what was wrong with my sink. He, in turn, called his friend who does plumbing work and the mystery began to unravel. It seems that these new fancy sinks, with their pull out sprayers in the faucets don't have aerators that screw back to the end of the faucet. They screw back on to the end of the hose, which threads up through the faucet and has a weight on one end. (Why? I don't know. Probably some Neil DeGrasse Tyson physics explanation*) Unscrew the aerator and not hold on to the hose means it will snap back into the faucet and down the pipe.

The proper understanding of the problem took about 20 minutes of text messaging and pictures. Since I was unable to get myself and my booted foot under the sink to try and re-thread the hose on my own, Jimmy drove over. It took about 3 minutes for him to snake the hose up and for me to grab the end and screw the aerator back on. It is probably going to take a half hour to get all that stuff back under the sink in order. But I am saving that for later, as my foot is killing me.

By the way, the water coming out of the aerator now could probably power wash my deck.

*Magnitudes are in equilibrium at distances reciprocally proportional to their weights.  - Archimedes

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