By John Matonich
When they were younger, my kids would say to folks that their dad should never be allowed to do plumbing. When asked why, they would reply, “Because we learn a whole new set of swear words. “ I couldn’t argue with that for some reason, plumbing and I don’t see eye to eye.
I consider myself to be a relatively patient man, but for some reason crawling under a sink has never lead to good things happening. It has been a while since I have had to tackle one of these projects, but I recently found myself on my back in the laundry area contemplating life and wondering why the Big Guy was mad at me.
I got up on a recent Saturday morning looking forward to heading to my shop in town to finish up a couple of projects that needed my attention. I grabbed my coffee mug and headed out the door. I jumped in my truck to make the 35 mile trip to town. When I was about halfway there, I got a call from my little filly. She called to tell me there was water under the laundry tub and it didn’t look good. Trying to make the best of a not so good situation, I asked her if she could take a bunch of pictures and text them to me. I would stop at the home center in town and see if I couldn’t figure out what needed to be fixed.
Steph did a great job of sending me pictures of all kinds of things. Most of which I knew what was in them, but wasn’t sure I could make out the issue. That was until I saw a picture of the bottom of the 35-year-old laundry tub. It appeared to be rusted. I had to shake my head as I thought these fancy tubs were plastic, but I guess this one was built while Henry was still making cars and plastic was something new-fangled, at best.
My hopes were that someone in the Home Center could help me load up with what I needed so I could get home and get this taken care of. A shopping cart later (which included a whole new “plastic” laundry tub), out the door I went. I decided to forgo the shop time and head home to see if I couldn’t rectify the leak issue. The hair went up on the back of my neck a little when the gentleman who helped me said he has been in the business for 15 years and has never had a customer get everything they need on the first trip. Since this place closed at noon on Saturdays and I was a good 45 minutes from home, I hoped I would be the first to have all I needed.
Needless to say, he was right and I found out I had missed a few things. There is another home center 45 minutes in the other direction and they closed at 2, so I beat it there hoping to complete the material purchases before they closed. After getting home with the new material additions, I discovered a piece I thought I could re-use wasn’t even close to what would work. I thought I was screwed until the next day when I remembered one of the grocery stores just over the border in Wisconsin carried hardware, so out the door I went again to drive the 50 miles one way to this location. I bought several extra pieces that I didn’t know what they would be used for, but my options to get material was becoming severely limited so I didn’t want to chance it.
The good news was when I got home, I had enough stuff to get everything put together and get the laundry back in business. I spent several hours on the road that day and about 15 minutes fixing everything. I guess that’s the price you pay for living in God’s Country miles away from anything remotely resembling a Big Box hardware store. I kept thinking about my past plumbing experiences and it took a lot to hold back the stream of expletives I had in my head, but I did. Maybe I am growing more patient in my older age or maybe I just was too busy trying not to forget the list of things I needed. Either way, I hope my kids would be proud of me for keeping the swearing mostly to myself.
And that’s the situation as I survey it …
After a 35-year career downstate livin’ amongst da trolls, during which he built a successful engineering and surveying business, John Matonich is back home in da U.P. His column will appear here occasionally, don’tcha know. His book “Surveyin’ Da Situation” is available on Amazon.com.