SNIPPETS: Do-it-yourself plumbing wager goes horribly wrong | Columns


Some guys like to play soccer games. I like to play on home improvement projects.

Here is what I mean. Say you have a leaking faucet which I actually did last week. Well you know the plumber is going to charge you a service fee just to get out.

So instead of just calling a plumber, which if your significant other, if he’s like Anna, has already told you, you are betting that there is a high probability that you could learn how to fix the leaking faucet for less than the cost of the service call .

There are two ways to win this bet. First, you can complete the project in a timely manner for less than it would cost a professional. Obvious, isn’t it?

We’ll get to the second way to win this bet in a minute, but you need to know in this story that my goal was option # 1.

Six or seven months ago Anna asked me to fix the faucet in her bathroom. The problem was that one of the buttons had come loose and the faucet wasn’t all the way off.

Well, six or seven months ago we were still in the middle of winter and it was easier to keep the tap dripping than worrying about a frozen pipe.

The next thing I know was last week. And Anna allegedly asked me for the 200th time to have the tap repaired. There were a few other words in it, but this is a family friendly column.

I got home from work, watched a couple of YouTube videos, and, tools in hand, proceeded to disassemble the faulty button that controls the tenon.

These things just pop on YouTube. I mean, you have to pry a bit, but in the end they just pop.

There I am – curious – when I notice that there is a small screw in the holder at the back. The problem was that this screw was obviously installed before the vanity was put on, otherwise there was no way to access it.

This is agony because now I have to clean the bottom of the vanity, unhook the drain, and detach this thing from the wall so I can slide it out far enough to get to the screw.

I was hungry and was hoping to get this job done before Anna got home from work. So when she came home we could go out to eat.

Unfortunately that didn’t happen.

When Anna got home, she found the entire contents of her sink on the kitchen table. She found tools scattered around her bathroom. She saw that the vanity had been thoroughly detached from the wall.

And there I was, with a hammer in the middle of my swing, clamped on that knob.

It turned out that the screw wasn’t the problem. It was at that moment, hammer in hand, that I realized that this venture had gone terribly wrong.

That brings me to the second way to win the above bet.

If the total cost of the damage you caused is higher than the service fee, it will also count as a profit, since at this point it is worth paying the service fee.