Reality check on aisle 4

Sal and I built this house almost 16 years ago. We built it to the thirty-year rule. It was supposed to last until I was 86 and would likely no longer care about appearances and such. The problem was we were beginner-builders and inanimate objects do not always obey the rules. A few things need ‘improving’, a few things need replacing and more and more things are in need of repairing. Some of the house, it seems, thinks it was built to the 15 year rule.

There is another problem with being neophyte builders. Even tho we did alright (we even done good, sometimes), we usually did everything only three times and all at the same time. We’d screw up the first effort, get it almost right the second attempt and, if it was critical, improve it to an acceptable standard by the third time. Three times with two of them wrong, does not make you good at it and – since it was now working – we’d move on to the next thing. Repeat neophyte-ing our way through the next job. In other words, sixteen years later, I have forgotten what was ‘the best and right way’ and so repairs and improvements are almost NEW to me again.

It does not help that manufacturers change their products over 16 years. Nor does it help that I, too, am 16 years older.

Example: Our kitchen sink tap started leaking. So, I took it out, found the leak, repaired it and put it back. A week later, it was leaking three times more (a split in the cartridge) . Time to order a new tap. It came a few days ago by mail plane and, by then, we were going through a half dozen leak-towels a day keeping the water flowing but under semi control. “I’ll need your help, Sal. I cannot fit in under the sink. I think this should be a quick re and re that should only take about one hour, but let’s plan on two. You know Murphy!”

Four and one half hours later, I was collecting up all the tools and parts and cleaning up. Sal was putting the clutter back under the sink. We got ‘er done. “They do not pay plumbers enough!” said Sal.

Problem #1, 2 and 3. The new tap fit the sink differently. The water lines are all deeply buried in the under-floor insulation. The new tap also sported different ‘fittings’ for the water lines and fitting the tap meant altering the pipes.

Solution: cobble a different system together from various parts and other materials. Cut pipes and add lengths. Add a diverter/stop for a temporarily closed line. Do it all in time for dinner (so as to do the dishes).

“So what do you guys really do all day out there anyway? Watch TV?”

“Yeah. We sit around all day as a rule drinking mint juleps and watching the birds. But all that leisure time is coming to an end soon. We have some repairs to do. Things are getting old and needing attention.”

“Ha ha! YOU are getting old and needing attention!”

“Right. That is problem #4.”

8 thoughts on “Reality check on aisle 4

  1. Ahhhh.
    The joys of finding replacement parts for anything older than 10 years…..
    If you have an issue like that again send me some photos and brand names.
    The local “Habitat for Humanity” is a great source of old demo’d parts and its on my way home from work……


    • Dawg! You are still a catch! Your SAL only left because she couldn’t handle all the sex or house cleaning. Maybe the cauliflower? It wasn’t you. It was HER. Get yourself a nice, sweet, pretty Phillipina. Or Mainand Chinese. Or Russian? Tajikistanise..?
      Millions of good people with boobs will love you til death do you part…as long as they are in the will……and get citizenship. ….

      Liked by 1 person

  2. In my opinion, you did not do badly. These days, all appliances and stuff is build with a 3 to 5 years life time expectancy, they don’t make any good stuff anymore that lasts a lifetime. So 15 years is not bad at all, so don’t blame yourselves, blame the Chinese crap! When I go to the local hardware store, it’s always a puzzle to get the new and old stuff connected (and who can tell visually the difference between 1/4″ and 3/8″ anyway!). But that’s the problem at your place, if you have the wrong part, you can not jump in the car to go to the local hardwarestore to get the right part. So the sink will last another 15 years now. How long is your to-do list anyway?


  3. At least as far as expenses go, our major maintenance and replacements have phased in. Painting at 5 years, battery bank at about 10 years, cabin cedar deck replacement at 22 years. Of course along the way there were more small changes and repairs. Off grid may be utility free, but not cost free. – Margy


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