Monday, June 20, 2016

Don't Plumb Naked

[There series about my son and the school system will be back next week.]

I mentioned a while back that I had fixed a toilet. And I had. I mean, that toilet was fixed! But it didn't stay that way. Let's just say there were complications.

The problem at the time was with the hose that ran from the spigot to the toilet. It had developed a leak and, because of the way the original installer had attached it, it could not be removed from the spigot, so the whole thing had to be replaced, hose and spigot. That wouldn't have been a problem except that the plumber also attached the spigot in a way such that it couldn't be completely removed, either.

I don't want to try to explain how that worked, but let's just say that I spent hours trying to get the spigot off when I was doing all of this the first time, all to no avail. Eventually, I went to Home Depot and the plumbing woman there explained to me why it wouldn't screw off as pretty much all spigots do today. It was a little extra work, but I was able to replace the spigot and run a new hose from the spigot to the toilet. A removable hose, this time.

I am supposing due to all of the effort I put in, initially, to removing the spigot, a leak developed between the spigot and the pipe coming out of the bathroom wall (that pipe is called the "nipple," just by the way). It was just a little thing at first, and I let it have its tiny drips for a few days before I did anything about it. Look, at first, it was making a little water spot only about the size of a nickle, then, between one day and the next, there was a huge puddle. It was so large so suddenly that I thought, that first day, that my wife had just made a big puddle getting out of the shower or something. But it didn't go away.

When the puddle didn't go away, I investigated and discovered that it was the leak at the joint between the spigot and the nipple that had made the puddle. (Oh, come on. Did you think I wasn't going to say "nipple"? That's the appropriate name!) I did what any sensible person would do at that point; I got my wrench and tightened the spigot. The leak diminished to just a bit of dampness.

For about two days.

Now, here's where you have to pay attention:

It happened when I was about to get in the shower. When I say "about," I mean I was getting ready to step in, not like I say to one of my kids that I am "about" to take a shower to keep one of them from getting in before me and using all the hot water when I know good and well that "about" is at least half an hour away. No, I was "about" to step in, and I was naked. You know, as one usually is when one is about to get in the shower. That's when I saw the puddle of water on the floor behind the toilet. Again.

The words in my head were not pretty ones.

But I decided to just take care of it right then, and I went and got both wrenches because, obviously, it needed the works. It needed to have the spigot held in place while I thoroughly tightened the nut.

I was naked. Did I say that?

I got the first wrench, the one that was to go on the spigot, set to the correct size so that I could clamp it on and, just as I touched the spigot with the wrench, the spigot shot off of the nipple and water erupted into the bathroom.

Did I mention I was naked?

So here's the thing: The reason I couldn't initially remove the first spigot is that there was a ring on the end of the nipple, let's call it a nipple ring (oh, come on! you knew that was coming), that was intended to keep the nut the spigot screwed into from coming off. Evidently, all the work I had done had broken that ring causing the whole thing to shoot off of the end of the nipple, because there was no longer a nipple ring in place.

I was naked, and the cutoff valve was outside.

I did briefly consider running out to the valve in that condition. Water spewing uncontrollably into your house can have that effect on you, but I did stop for a pair of underwear (hey, I wear boxer briefs, which are almost almost like shorts), which I jerked on, before I ran out the front door. Fortunately, the valve is nearby, so I didn't have to run down to the meter at the street or anything like that, but I wasn't stopping to think about things like that at the time. I was just trying to get the water shut off before the whole bedroom was flooded along with the bathroom.

Which I did. Before the whole bedroom was flooded, at any rate. Needless to say, I spent the rest of the day reattaching the spigot and cleaning up water. The spigot was much the easier of the two jobs, and it was actually a couple of days before all the dampness was out of the carpet in the bedroom despite loads and loads of towels and a fan.

I never did get that shower.

So, yeah, here's to no more plumbing issues.

But you can be sure that I will be fully clothed before I even think about touching a... I don't think there's anything I can say there that doesn't sound dirty, so I'm just going to leave it at that.

[By the way, it's been more than a month since that happened, and there hasn't been a single drip.]


  1. I think that's one of those Murphy's Law situations. Had that happened to me, I imagine my wife would've been laughing too hard to help with anything.

    1. Alex: I was home alone, so there was no help to be had.

  2. Believe it or not, I have been there. I went through a few rounds of thinking I fixed the toilet, only to find out something was still leaking. One of those times I found out while about to get into the shower. It wasn't pleasant, but I imagine still better than naked auto repair.

    1. ABftS: Does that mean this is, like, an actual thing?
      And I'm pretty confident that I'm safe from naked auto repair since I'm pretty safe from auto repair.

  3. Plumbing adventures suck. I've gotten pretty good at toilets but once, in trying to fix a simple problem, I somehow destroyed the whole works and had to replace the whole toilet. Even fully clothed, it sucked.

    1. TAS: The only thing I can say for sure is that I'd much rather do plumbing work than electrical work.

  4. Sounds like the kind of complicated mess that I would only make worse if I didn't call in a professional and I am by far a professional when it comes to such things.

    I first encountered the plumbing term "nipple" when I was placed in the pipe shop at the construction job where I worked during certain summers to pay for my upcoming year's college expenses. Since the handful of young guys in my position were non-union they gave us busy work at the construction yard rather than allowing us on actual jobs. For a while we were given large bins of rusted pipe fixtures which we had to scrub off with wire brushes, dunk into oil, and then sort into smaller bins in the pipe room. The fittings called "nipples" amused me initially and then eventually just became part of a day after day chore. It was an easy job, but one of the dirtiest that I ever had. That pipe rust permeated my clothes to coat my entire body. I'd go home after work and take a shower with Goop and Lava soap and scrub for maybe a half hour getting that stuff off.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    1. Lee: I worked for a painter one summer (house painter) and pretty much all I did was sand stuff, mostly moldings. I know what you mean about being covered in... stuff.

      And you're telling me that you didn't take advantage of your job and tell all your friends that you handled nipples all day?

    2. I could never outdo a good many of my friends' filthy mouths. And to think that most of those guys are either dead or fine upstanding family men now. Don't know what that means. Probably nothing.


  5. I laughed about you being naked when the catastrophe occurred. I'm sorry.


    1. Janie: I wouldn't have posted it if I didn't want you to laugh at my misfortune.

  6. I'm sorry too. I know it had to be frustrating but I was cracking up the whole time I read this and since I'm in the boys' room while Mr F falls asleep I had to keep putting my hands over my mouth.

    Are you a Seinfeld fan? Good naked vs. bad naked:

    1. Briane: heh
      Should I apologize?
      I never watched Seinfeld. At that time, I wasn't watching anything. But I did watch the clip. heh