How to torture people | Mark’s Remarks


I think perhaps the greatest form of torture I can come up with would be to replace a kitchen faucet some 20 years or so after the first one was put in.

Our old kitchen faucet was a pretty good one, but lately we’ve noticed it was leaky. I tinkered around with it, and like many men, decided to rip the darn thing out and start from scratch.

The first part of the torture really begins with picking out the new faucet.  Off to the store Michelle and I went. We spent a good deal of time comparing prices, looking at the value of each faucet. We surveyed brushed nickel, bronzed and colors/styles I’ve never heard of in my life. I really didn’t care and would have been happy getting the cheapest, cruddiest looking faucet. But, I know in my heart this is not the way to go. 

My sensible wife prevailed and we ended up getting a faucet that cost too much but was of good quality.

In my mind’s eye, I saw a clean kitchen, me in comfortable clothing with all the tools I needed laid out before me. I saw a neat and concise, easy-to-read direction manual in front of me.  This wasn’t my first rodeo.  I would easily get these things installed in an hour and we’d be on our way to bigger and brighter things.

Under your sink is a terrible place to be. It’s cramped, and when your body is over 50, one false move or contortion tends to pull things out of sockets.  I unfolded myself several times coming out from under there, walking at times like Quasimodo, parts of my body experiencing partial paralysis.

I am a capital “A” amateur when it comes to handyman work. If I actually do replace something and it ends up working, I tell everyone who cares to listen. You know yourself what I’m talking about if you have read this column much. I wrote columns about fixing the garbage disposal and considered going on the lecture circuit when I actually replaced the dang thing.

The reason I’m an amateur is I don’t have the right tools. Those neat, clean guys in the YouTube videos have all the best toys.  No wonder they have time to clean up their kitchens and walk so upright. They won’t need a chiropractor.

One of the guys had this cool doo-hickey that took those silly plastic bolts right off. I’m not sure if it’s even called a bolt. All I know is it took my old wrench about 3 million miniscule turns to get things loosened up.  

Full disclosure: I said a lot of bad words in my head and I might have let a few slip. Nothing makes me more furious than stuff not working or not being able to fix something or having the wrong tools.

I finally got everything unhooked after making the old faucet look like it had been pried open with a can opener. We cleaned up the mess and were ready for the pretty, new, overpriced faucet to be installed.

I spent the next several moments trying to figure out how to remove an easy install clip from the sink sprayer until I realized the hose was attached to the old sprayer and I didn’t need to use it anyway. 

All that time spent trying not to harm the old hose and the old sprayer.  

Remember in the old cartoons when Elmer Fudd did something really dumb and a picture of a jackass appeared above his head?

Hello, I’m Elmer. Nice to meet you.

The rest of the install went OK. There were numerous times when Michelle was ready to sign divorce papers and the dog is considering physical therapy after being stepped on and jabbed numerous times.  

Accidentally, of course.

We turned on the water again and things seem to be working. Just to be on the safe side, we left the space under the sink vacant. I spread paper towels under there to detect any leaks.  As of 10 p.m. last night, things were still OK. We may consider putting the dishwashing liquid under there by this evening after using a flashlight to look for wet spots.

I wonder if Elmer Fudd trusted himself more than me?

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