This Old House Project Run Amok!

By: Tom Welu

I came home from work at 4pm on Friday thinking, "I have nothing to do this weekend." Little did I know what awaited me! My wife, Cinda met me at the door and told me water was leaking from the pedestal sink in the half-bath on the main floor. My first thought was, "Maybe if I just jiggled it, it would stop leaking." The rest of the weekend went like a short film from "The Three Stooges."

First, the sink is enscribed with the date "1926," which when read backwards says, "Sorry, there is no water shut off valve; good luck." So, down I go to the basement to shut off the water to the entire house. Next, I unscrewed the water lines, unhooked the trap, unbolted the sink, and found that this thing weighed as much as a tank. I guess someone thought if a tornado wipes out the house the sink will still be there.

My next adventure was going to the hardware store five times, the last time just moments before they closed, pleading, "Have mercy! I'm in the middle of a plumbing project!"

The man at the hardware store was very patient and gave me the dreaded "They don't make that any more" line. But not to fear, with this and that, and a little luck, I could make this work.

When I got home only half of what I bought fit. I gave up for the night ( 3-1/2 hours later) and thought I would get up early Saturday morning and finish, because "I had nothing to do this weekend."

At 8am, I was hooking the sink back up. By 8:30am, water was dripping on my head like a Chinese torture device. A few curses and back downstairs I went running to shut the water off.

At 11am, all was not well. I was developing vertigo from looking up for this length of time and needed to call someone-- but who?? Most of my friends upon seeing my name on their answering machines fear returning a call knowing that I probably want to move something heavy up or down the steps!

Bill-- yes, Bill! Finally, providence was on my side. Bill came over and in ten minutes we had water and no leaks!I hope you enjoyed this little story, and that if you spring a leak, you'll know just what to do: call Bill.