I successfully replaced the flange, drain, and stopper in one of the bathroom sinks yesterday. Before details are parsed out, some entities are owed thanks.
- The builders who constructed our house seventeen years ago, because they used standard fittings.
- The plumbing industry for establishing clever and simple plumbing solutions that even fools like me can fix.
- Hardware stores for carrying parts as needed.
- Youtubers who put together excellent how-to guidance.
I’d been planning this job for a few months but was intimidated because, plumbing. It’s right up there with wiring and electricity for me. Fed by sitcoms, movies, cartoons, and cliches, my imagination is well-stocked with visions of what could go wrong for someone who isn’t mechanically proficient, like the guy who looks back at me from the mirror.
Nothing did go wrong, though. Yes, it was work. Two hard parts emerged. First, unscrewing the flange in the sink from the drain. Those puppies had been wedded together for seventeen blissful years. Separating them was a stinking challenge. I needed to hold onto the vise grips and keep the flange from turning while somehow reaching beneath the sink and turning the pipe to unscrew the flange. I needed another set of hands.
Enter the partner, my spouse, aka, K, the wife.
I set up a heavy-duty screwdriver in the hole where the popup lever connects the stopper to the plunger. Yeah, these are the technical terms (*snark*). I don’t know the true terms. With that rig in place, I, um, gripped the vise grips and held on tight. Then I had my wife turn the drainpipe below, using the screwdriver as a lever. I felt tremendously satisfied when that worked.
The other aspect was that we have designer stuff in the bathroom. I wanted to use the original plunger because its design matched everything else in the bathroom. But the lever wasn’t compatible, forcing me to find an imaginative solution for a hybrid system that worked. That, brothers and sisters, consumed about forty minutes of my seventy-five minutes sweat soaked endeavor.
When I finished, I went into the other room. My wife was reading on the bed. “Done,” I said. “Come see.”
“Hang on, I’ve almost finished this book.”
“Really? That has priority over my DIY success?”
“See this tear?” She pointed at her eye.
“I’ll see your tear and raise you my sweat-soaked shirt. It was hot in there, and cramped.”
“I’m almost done. I just have a few more pages.”
I went back alone and admired my results. With one down, I’m purchasing more replacement parts and doing the other two sinks this weekend.
Don’t get cocky, I tell myself.
I won’t, I reply.
What can go wrong?