Home Home Sweet Home When Good Plumbing Goes Bad

When Good Plumbing Goes Bad


beautiful snowy day at tall clover, frozen pipes notwithstanding

 Boz has the right idea: outdoor plumbing

Last Saturday, I found myself wedged in a space better suited for the likes of the Lollipop Guild than for the frame of a man who could body-double for Fred Flintstone. With Teflon tape in hand, 26 useless tools pushed aside, two new wrenches at my knees, and three trips to the hardware store under my belt, I stared down the two failing water shutoff valves with the unflinching focus of a gunslinger. I stood my ground and declared, “This bathroom ain’t big enough for the three of us.” And while that was very true, these two old valves weren’t going anywhere without a fight.  

As I do believe my house has a soul and certainly an agenda, I am a mere puppet in its weekly stage show. In fact, I have no doubt that the leaking water valves were its way of hastening the removal of a rococo-inspired particle board vanity. Can’t say I blame it. Unfortunately, the leak had been going on for weeks before I discovered it, so it was now a moldy, buckled, smelly, rococo-inspired particle board vanity—a primordial, sopping stew of all the junk you keep out view under the sink behind closed doors. That day, I learned just how absorbent toilet paper rolls can be.

I confess that even as one handy guy, plumbing eludes—make that—repels me, but there is a lesson to be learned.  If six scented candles, a daily dousing of Febreze, industrial grade incense and a Pine Sol scrub-down don’t put a dent in the waft of must in your loo, take a gander under the sink.

Shield your eyes: the view under the sink isn’t pretty.

plumbing problems under the sink


  1. That last sentence made me giggle ’til my eyes were filled with tears. I totally understand your feelings toward plumbing work.

    Our previous home was built circa 1740 in the wilds of Carolina. Indoor plumbing arrived in the 1930s and was updated in the 1970s – apparently, building practice did not improve over the ages. I remember well the musty wet smell that eventually led to the discovery of a certain softness in the flooring along one wall. Upon pulling up the flooring, we discovered that the only thing holding up the iron tub was caulk and some rather soft piping. For weeks I had daymares of falling through the floor while bathing or… other activities!

    In the end, we completely pulled off the modern, shed-roofed additions of said 30s and 70s; starting over was a much better prospect.

    Hope your home is now dry, warm and comfortable for you & yours.

  2. You are such a sensory writer! I smelled the bathroom, felt the cold wrenches in my hand (and the pain in my knees)…and, of course, giggled at the Fred Flinstone comparison! I miss you more than words. By the way…you are so courageous “I’m going in…” I refuse to look under my sink…it’s Florida, who knows what lurks under there from perhisotric days, or the circus (dare I say….cl*#ns!)

  3. Tom, Tom, Tom. I’ve said it many times and by god I’ll say it again: You have truly missed your calling. “Rococo-inspired particle board” indeed. You have approached your continual house challenges with the humor that would otherwise manifest itself in ******%$# well, I hate to think but it would end you up in jail, my friend. With the humor comes the writing and with the writing comes wisdom, very very saaaaaage wisdom. (Don’t wisdom and sage mean the same thing?) “The whole enchilada,” indeed! See you Saturday.

  4. Thank you, this is a very interesting article. I’m looking for quality reading material for emergency plumbing problems and your article certainly meets the description. I hope you continue to issue these articles, I will continue to visit here often

  5. Older homes require tender loving care with regards to plumbing for sure. Visit http://www.clicksplumbing.com to find helpful articles. With all homes, we recommend an annual plumbing inspection performed by a professional or homeowner. This general inspection can save you a ton of money and headache. But most people in general don’t think about the plumbing in their home until there is an obvious problem and by then it is usually very costly. Take note from the article above and be proactive with your plumbing.
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.