Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Devil Is a Plumber

Sometimes I feel like our log cabin is falling down around us. I have lost count of how many times in two and a half years that we have called plumbers, electricians, heating and air technicians, and general handymen. Many have tried to take (and some have succeeded in taking) us for a ride. And let's get real: even the honest and forthright ones we've met have never had much to say that we wanted to hear; it always boils down to: your stuff is broken, and it will cost money and take time to fix it. Some servicemen have suggested that we just take out a fat home equity loan, no big deal, and do it big. Do it right. These people have no concept of the frugal wonder that is my beloved. But anyway.

Part of the problem is that, somehow, Jim and I earned Master's degrees in fields that have nothing to do with fixing anything. If I had it to do over, maybe I would try harder to fill my brain with useful information.

Another part of the problem is that--when it comes to many of our home-repair needs--we don't have a choice in terms of servicemen. We get whomever the home-warranty company sends. Today the home-warranty company sent the devil.

This plumber took a flashlight off my deck and stashed it in his pocket. He repaired exactly one of two leaks listed on the work order; he replaced the leaking hot-water heater but not the leaking pipe connected to it. I didn't notice or care about the leaking pipe but was reluctant to let him leave because--when he hooked up the new hot-water heater--the pressure tank lost air, and the pump started clicking on and off too often. And if I ran water anywhere in the house, the pump clicked on and off every couple of seconds. The plumber insisted that he didn't touch the tank, that he was a Master Plumber and knew what he was talking about, that a lack of air wasn't the problem, that my pressure tank needed replaced, that there was something wrong with the pump itself, that I was mistaken about how often the pump was clicking on before, and it went on and on and on and on...just like the clicking of my pump.

Now, normally, I am very chill when it comes to home repair. Leaking roofs, holey ceilings, soaked and rotting wood floors, rooms that are too cool or warm...I can take it. But I cannot tolerate constant beeps and clicks. I just can't. I could feel the sanity oozing out of my skull. I knew that I would never be able to run the washer, dishwasher, sink, or even a toilet without hearing the clicking, and I knew the clicking would drive me crazy.

The plumber wouldn't listen to me. He kept arguing with me. Meanwhile, the clicking. I told him to get out of my house. Sobbing, I called the handyman who just fixed our roof and bathroom ceiling. He dropped everything to come out and put air in the pressure tank. The clicking stopped. He said I didn't owe him a thing. I wrote him a check, anyway, for making it ok for me to be in the house.

There is no point to this story except that the devil is a plumber. I know; I saw him today. And even if I am wrong, and that plumber isn't the devil, the devil sent the plumber and the clicking and the snot and the tears. And he got me. He got me good.

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