Irresponsible Hardwaring

Man, did I make some progress on the Honey-Do list this weekend! I started by regaining control of the yard. While this is not on the official list, it is a given, if you know what I mean. Not only did I bring the gangly green back into proper submission, I did so without the usual telling peaks and valleys that normally accompany my hurried hack jobs. It was a cool Saturday and I rather enjoyed my stroll around the yard… again… and again…

Back in the house, I looked over the list and spotted the most precious of items on a Honey-Do list; those that require a trip to the hardware store. It was just a simple 1/2″ elbow joint. Little more than a plastic doohickey that directs the plumbing around a 90° turn. I had need of one to replace the one that I, um, well… er, broke. OK, I can see that look in your eyes. You’re going to make me explain that one, huh?

You see, I have found the best way to water a plant is to stick the thing in the sink and with the hose/squirter thingy, shower the plant thoroughly. That was my intention. For some reason, on this occasion, the hose only came out of its seat about maybe 70% of what I thought it should. Certainly a little tug would coax it out the remaining distance.

Within moments I was under the sink grabbing for the shutoff valve. I grabbed the valve and turned. At this point the 90° elbow I mentioned above gave loose and the valve I was turning dangled freely and unencumbered by plumbing continuity. There I was, completely unable to turn off the water. The water that was now spewing full force onto the kitchen floor. I blink and I am on my neighbor’s porch knocking on their door. They answer and I ask to use the special wrench they have to turn off the public water at the curb. We go out to their shed. Did I mention the spewing water? With the wrench finally in hand I shut off the water to the house. I gather some towels and begin to sop…

With the excitement of the 90° elbow that couldn’t even take the most gentle of tugs a mere memory, I found myself in the hardware store wondering up and down the isles looking over things that I can’t imagine anyone ever needing and pausing at the things that I am amazed that I have done without for this long. I look down through the signs at the ends of the isles — isle 8: Electrical, isle 9: Plumbing. Wait a second; Electrical right next to Plumbing… how irresponsible is that?

I shake my head and make my way down the plumbing isle and consider my options. Yes, when in the market for a 1/2″ 90° elbow, there are options. Actually, some pretty cool options. The latest technology in plumbing joinery is a system where a pipe can be simply slipped into a joint snuggly and without glue or solder — without leak. Sweet! The joints come with a plastic ring that, if needed, can be pressured up against the joint to release the seal and thus the joint itself. Now, how cool is that? Almost $20 later I make my way from checkout to the car. Hey, I needed the tool that makes a precise, clean cut on the pipe prior to connection, right? I wouldn’t want this to be some amateur slack job.