Note: This column appears in the 7/29 issue of The Glendale Star and the 7/30 issue of the Peoria Times
Our kitchen faucet has been leaking for three months. We keep a plastic container that used to hold oatmeal raisin cookies from Trader Joe’s underneath it to capture all the water, and then everyday I will take that container outside and use it to water the plants that aren’t attached to our drip system. All of these plants however, died when we traveled back east for a week and a half. So now my favorite thing to do after work is take the water from our leaky faucet and use it to water dead plants. This is what my life has come to.
A better man would have fixed this faucet a long time ago. That is why I have employed better men –- namely my dad, father-in-law, and buddy Pete –- to check it out. I wanted them to fix it, and not to tell me how to fix it, and so in my mind they have all failed.
I am not, as it has been well documented, Mr. Fix-It. I am open about this. I even have several friends who have claimed to share this inability to do manly things. Then I will go over one of their houses one day and discover a new shed in the backyard, and I’ll be like, “Wtf?” And they’ll be like, “It’s just a shed…it was easy!” And I will say, “We’re not friends anymore.”
This is not to say that I cannot do things. I am just consistently intimidated by not knowing how to do things, and fearful I will do them incorrectly. I have even found minimal success in states of emergency. Last month my mother-in-law clogged her garbage disposal with potato skins, and water was leaking everywhere, and I was the only man, for the most part, in the house. So I got on the floor and –- with my wife’s help, admittedly –- took apart the pipes (!), unclogged it and fixed the problem. I emerged from underneath the sink a hero, sweaty, and covered in potato skins. I could not have felt more like a man if I had just returned home from war.
But that moment was fleeting, and I am reminded of it every time I hear the drip of our kitchen faucet. Granted, I and we have made attempts to fix it. None of them have worked. Last weekend we went to Home Depot, faucet in hand. (By the way, that is my Home Depot strategy when applicable: Bring what needs fixing there, and hope that they, Home Depot, will fix it out of frustration with my incomprehension with what they are telling me.) The guy there recommended we soak it in CLR. I said, “Alright, cool. What is ‘CLR?’” My wife rolled her eyes. It stands for calcium/lime/rust. Whatever.
It didn’t work. The reality is only now (my dad said two months ago that we need a new faucet) setting in that we may need a new faucet. I can’t even determine the manufacturer of our current faucet, and am unsure of how to tell which potential replacement is compatible with our sink. It would probably take me two seconds to figure this out, but then I’d have to install it. It’s one thing to unclog someone else’s sink in a fit of passion, but to install a new faucet of my own, with my skeptical wife looking over my shoulder? Sheesh.
Let’s just say I’m dragging my feet. This is important though, because if I can’t fix everything but the kitchen sink -– and I can’t fix the kitchen sink -– then there is no hope whatsoever. In the meantime, the plastic container remains indefinitely. Besides, dead plants can’t water themselves, 'ya know?
You put the who in the what now?