So I have finished sopping up all of the water on the kitchen floor. I am advised, but don’t verify, that a good portion of the torrential burst is now on the basement floor under the kitchen. The basement isn’t my problem nor my responsibility, so I consider Coe’s remarks on the subject merely informational in nature.
“Where’s the contact card for the plumber?” I ask, to no one in particular. It’s a ridiculous question, because I am the only living being in our household who knows where anything is at any given moment.
“We don’t need a plumber. I can fix this,” Coe says.
“Uhm, really? I don’t think that’s a good idea, given your recent back surgery and limited mobility and all. But that’s just me,” says me.
“It just needs a new shut-off valve. I just replaced one in the bathroom,” he responds authoritatively, and begins to examine the no-shut-off valve that caused all the trouble.
Now it’s time to assemble the tools. Coe heads off to meander around the rat-pack garage again, and eventually returns carrying an assortment of regular wrenches. A major production ensues as he sits on the floor and squishes himself under the cabinet. He bangs the wrenches around for a few minutes, cursing and muttering, but essentially accomplishes nothing.
“Do you have a crescent wrench in your tool set?” This question is important, because yes, I have my own set of tools. My tools are clean, organized, and put away where Coe can’t touch them and I can lay my hands on any tool in mere seconds. Sadly, I know don’t have a crescent wrench. This means Coe has to get up from the floor and return to the rat-pack garage in search of a crescent wrench, which he may or may not ever find. Several minutes later, he returns, two crescent wrenches in hand. He hands one to me.
“Here. Put this in your tool set so I don’t have to spend time looking for this again.” The irony of this statement is completely lost on him.
We commence the task of changing out the shut-off valve. We actually have a spare valve in the house, because when he bought the one for the bathroom a few months ago, it came in a two-pack. Apparently, shut-off valves are so unreliable they are sold in bulk. I am tempted to lay in a supply. The only reason we found it is because I didn’t let him store it in the rat-pack garage. I stored the valve with my tools, and hence, laid hands on it in mere seconds.
The new shut-off valve is accompanied by new nuts, but I am informed the old ones will work just fine. The nuts are interesting because there are little brass rings that look like little wedding rings inside of them. I play around with the rings while Coe installs the new valve. And now, the moment of truth. Coe turns the hot water back on.
We are two hours into this disaster/production.
Predictably, the new shut-off valve isn’t shutting off the water. It’s leaking noticeably around the fitting. And why is it leaking around the fitting? Because the new valve wants a new wedding ring.
So off comes the new valve. But that old wedding ring? Appears to have become wedded to the pipe for life. The regular wrench won’t move it. The crescent wrench won’t move it. No manner of prying helps. None of the curse words Coe uses are having any effect at all. And then Coe says the words that cause my otherwise calm, good-nature demeanor to evaporate:
“I think I’m going to need to use the Bunsen burner.” . . .