Saturday, December 6, 2008

Adventures in Home Plumbing

I’m not much of a do-it-yourselfer. On those occasions in the past when I’ve tried, I’ve been nearly as likely to make things worse than to make them better. Even when it does work out, I usually end up doing things at least three times before I get it right.

So I didn’t exactly jump at the chance to buy a new dishwasher when ours started dying. We thought that it was dead about two months ago, but it appears to have just been the death of the heating coils. As long as we didn’t use the heated start or heated dry options, the washer would still work. Over the last two weeks, though, our dishes just haven’t been getting clean.

My dear wife’s complaining finally broke through my filter, and we went out earlier this week (Tuesday) to buy a new dishwasher. We resisted the salesman’s efforts to upgrade us to a model with features that we neither needed nor wanted and turned down the stainless steel flexible hose. In spite of all of the stories about frozen credit markets, we applied for and were given in-store credit for 12 months same-as-cash and were able to take a model home the same day.

I resisted installation on Wednesday and Thursday, but by Friday, I knew that I would have to succumb so that my wife, the mother of my children and so much more, could have clean dishes for St. Nick’s day.

I said a prayer to St. Joseph, figuring that as a carpenter, he should have patronage over all kinds of home repairs, but decided to look up the patron saint of plumbers as well. I never would have guessed St. Vincent Ferrer! So, I said a quick prayer to St. Vincent for guidance and intercession, and got my tools to begin removing the old dishwasher.

I was pleased to find that the old dishwasher’s electric leads were terminated in a plug, so I didn’t have to try to figure out which circuit breaker the dishwasher was on, and the only real mistake that I made was in forgetting to turn off the water – there was only a little leakage involved.

The old dishwasher came out, the new dishwasher went in, and I didn’t appear to have made any big mistakes. It took me about three hours, and the worst part was that I couldn’t find a working flashlight anywhere in the house. I tried the new dishwasher on rinse, and everything seemed to work right. Prayers of thanksgiving went out to God and to Sts. Vincent and Joseph.

When we woke this morning, however, I was filled with dread when my wife went to the sink and found a total lack of water. No hot, no cold. The only line I had done anything at all to the previous night was the hot water line from the water heater, the same one that fed the dishwasher. More prayer, this time pleading, to St. Vincent!

I checked the lines in the basement, and couldn’t find anything. I told my wife, “Maybe it’s the village. I’ll ask Steve when I see him whether he has any water pressure.” That seemed reasonable, but just a few moments later, my wife informed me that the water to the toilet was running. I looked in the reservoir and, sure enough, if I pressed down on the float, the water started running. I checked the sink again, but there was still no water pressure.

Back down to the basement, wondering how I could have screwed this up. I actuated all the valves closed and back open. I fiddled with the water softener system, even though we don’t need it anymore since the village upgraded the water treatment (I don’t want to pay a plumber to remove it, and I’m afraid to try to do it myself). Back upstairs, but still no water pressure.

I finally admitted defeat. Thank you, St. Vincent, but it looked like I was going to have to call in someone who knew what they were doing.

Five minutes later, the water was working again. I don’t know how; I don’t know why. But I am grateful and ready to admit my utter dependence upon God for all things, including indoor plumbing.


Anonymous said...

When I ran the dishwasher this evening it worked just fine!!

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

He worked so hard to build up the Church that he became the patron of people in building trades.

Perhaps he worked so hard to clean it up from schism that that is why he's patron of plumbers?