Wednesday, November 15, 2006
About a year ago we had to call a plumber to remove a clog in the shower drain. As he was working, I asked him about the cold water faucet that seemed to require a good deal of tightening to shut off the water completely.
Without really looking at the faucet he gave me the dire prediction that the washer was soon to go. On account of the age of the hardware, he continued, the whole thing would need replacement; probably even requiring that tiles be broken for access or a hole be made in the wall of the adjacent room. What?? Aaagghh... This just didn't sound good. I ignored it.
Now, however, that we are preparing the house for an inspection and sale I took a close look at that faucet and realized that something had gone as there was a slow drip (that turned to a drizzle when the water was running) and it was getting into the wall. Not good.
We tried to remove the faucet ourselves to see the problem, but, as the plumber-of-doom had predicted, the hardware had welded to itself over the years. That screw would not turn and all our continued efforts did nothing but bring us closer to stripping it. Not good.
So, I called Roto-Rooter. A second opinion couldn't hurt and they offer fast service and free estimates. They said someone would be here within the hour. Good.
I called all the boys together and told them what was happening and we prayed, "Lord, you have helped us to find a buyer for our home. Now help us, please, to fix this leaking faucet without too much trouble or expense." We said an Our Father, asked for St Joseph's intercession, and before we knew it the Roto-Rooter van was parked out front. Good.
A short bearded man that smelled of stale tobacco presented himself. I showed him the leak and the ancient screw. He tried to turn it and said, "We're not off to a good start, here." Not good.
I ignored him, went downstairs to make lunch, and left him to his work. As I made the sandwiches, our plumber passed back and forth from his van to our bathroom, whistling all the while. I could hear clanks and clacks and probably the neighbor's pipes, so attentive were my ears to the slightest noise that would hint at progress.
The third time our plumber passed through the kitchen he dropped five bendable, winking Roto-Rooter dolls holding red plungers beside me. "Those'r for the kids," he said and was off before I could ask any questions.
As the boys ate lunch and played with the dolls our plumber came downstairs and handed me the nearly-stripped screw. "How did you get it out?" I asked.
"Trick-of-the-trade, Maam. I'm a plumber. That's what I do. I fix things. Your faucet is fine, now."
"Well, you're amazing. Thank you so much. How much do I owe you?"
"Nothin'," he said putting up his hand, "What, will I charge you $175.00 for a service fee? I don' think so."
"What can I say? I can't thank you enough...oh, and the boys love the dolls. How did you know to bring in five? Did you count the children?"
"No, I knew there were lots but wasn' sure how many. Lucky guess, I s'pose. Five, hu? You'ra lucky lady."
Lucky guess..lucky lady...and yet, somehow, I didn't see any of this as mere "luck."