Saturday, June 22, 2024

Can we fix it? Yes we can

Editor | April 5, 2023 2:00 AM

You know, I’ve made a career out of social faux pas — saying the wrong thing at the wrong time has always been a skill I’ve cherished.

So the other day a friend came over to visit and I asked her if she’d like to take a shower.

I mean, not with me, oh no, this was strictly a platonic shower.

“But I didn’t bring clean underwear,” she said.

No worries, I’m sure my wife would let you borrow a pair, I mean, why are we so protective of underwear anyway?

But I digress. I wanted her to take a shower so she could experience my (drum roll please) brand new bathtub faucet!

That’s right folks, I put in a brand new shower faucet all by myself, and after a mere two and half days of foul language that took off half the paint on the ceiling, I actually got it to work.

It all started on a Friday night when I got sick of listening to the old faucet leak. It no longer dripped — the water pretty much ran out in a steady stream.

So I bought a new faucet and then made the mistake of trying to get the old faucet handle off by using an Allen wrench.

You know, I figured I’d insert the Allen wrench into the hole and the hex nut that was buried inside the handle and was full of corrosion and rust over the past 23 years would come right out.

Um, no.

This began a long journey into the depths of “how to” YouTube videos, some of which were helpful and others that were not. In the end, I ended up drilling out the old screw and then the handle came off without too much trouble.

I then thought I had to replace the valve inside the wall since the kit I bought included the valve. (There’s plumbers out there laughing out loud right now).

But my wife took one look at it and said, “No you don’t, you idiot, you just have to take out the cartridge.”

(The cartridge is basically the guts the of the valve.)

So I dashed to the hardware store and the friendly guy sold me a tool called a cartridge puller. After and I did everything according to YouTube, it still wouldn’t pull out.

So I did a little more YouTubing and figured out that I had a Moen faucet, so what I needed was a Moen cartridge puller.

So off to Kalispell I went because the local stores didn’t have the Moen puller, plus they were closed by then. (It was Saturday night by now).

Home Depot had the right puller and, just in case, I bought a blowtorch. I figured at the very least I could burn the old cartridge out, or set the house on fire, which would, in theory, fix the leaking faucet, one way or another.

I tried the puller bright and early Sunday morning and it actually worked. The cartridge came out about halfway, got super stuck, and with some twisting and more swearing, came completely out.

I then installed the new one the wrong way, even after carefully reading the instructions — the faucet shut off when pointing straight up instead straight of down.

This was quickly fixed by putting the handle on upside down. Most people won’t even notice, I keep lying to myself.

Now I have a bathtub faucet that doesn’t leak and is shiny and new.

Shower anyone? Just bring your own underwear.