Monday, November 22, 2010

Kate & Lydia Tackle Home Improvement

The house that I live in has reached a certain age where it needs a lot of tweaking and upkeep. The kitchen sink had been dripping for ages and driving me crazy. In fact, it's in danger of becoming the soundtrack to - and cause of - my next nervous breakdown.  So Kate offered to fix it for me. Because apparently among her various skills, she is also awesome at plumbing. I appreciated her offer but was initially a little skeptical.

Lydia:You’re good at plumbing?”
Kate: “Yes and this is an easy fix.”
Lydia: “Have you done anything like this before?”
Kate: “Of course. You can’t just call a plumber every time your sink drips – do you have any idea how much they charge to fix something stupid like that?”
Lydia: (dumbfounded silence)
Kate: “I’ll come over tomorrow morning after I get the kids to school.”
Lydia: “And you’re sure you know what you’re doing?”
Kate: “Hooker. COME ON.”

I don’t think I was unreasonable in being surprised that Kate could plumb things. I was also flabbergasted by her reasoning. This is the logic that I used to reach the conclusion of “huh?”
  1. Kate owns many, many pairs of shoes that retail for more than what I paid for my first car.
  2. Kate feels that cheating on your colorist and hairdresser is tantamount to the biblical sin of adultery and is subject to eternal damnation (or loss of fierceness - which according to her may be the same thing)
  3. Kate feels no such qualms about cheating on her plumber in order to save $50, notwithstanding the fact that plumbing is sort of an important part of a house.
But I trust her and I know her to be an extremely competent and conscientious person. Though I thought it might be best not to mention any of this to my husband, the aptly named Cap’n Coupon. She arrived the next morning with a large toolbox and got to work. She’d already been to Home Depot to buy a kit to replace the handles of my sink. My confidence rose – they made kits for this! It was going to be great!

But then she couldn’t figure out how to shut off the water. Perhaps because there is no shut off under our sink – you have to go downstairs and shut it off for the whole house because my house is special. But I didn’t know exactly where the whole house shut-off thingee was so I texted my husband.

8:31 AM Lydia wrote: Good morning! Where is the water turn off valve for the whole house?

8:33 AM Cap'n Coupon wrote: It’s a little disconcerting to receive a message like that while in rush hour traffic. Please tell me everything is OK.

8:34 AM Lydia wrote: Don’t be silly! Everything is GREAT. Kate and I are fixing the drippy sink. She’s a crackerjack plumber!

8:36 AM Cap'n Coupon wrote: This concerns me.

8:39 AM Lydia wrote: Nothing to worry about. We know what we’re doing. Kate has done this before and I am assisting. Also, don’t worry about telling me where it is because I just found the water turn-off. Bye!

8:41 AM Capn Coupon wrote: I am concerned that this whole endeavor is going to be the plumbing equivalent of a ponytail haircut because upon occasion the two of you have been known to get ideas about yourselves. You know that you’re not plumbers?

8:43 AM Lydia wrote: What are you even talking about? Kate wants to know too.

8:44 AM Cap’n Coupon wrote: Specifically? That you could be semi-professional tap dancers. Or that time you were both convinced that you were engaging in espionage. You know that you’re not spies, right?

8:45 AM Lydia wrote: I know what we are.  *Do you?*  I’ll text you later after Kate fixes the drip. Bye!

By that time, Kate had finished the sink. It worked great and didn’t drip at all. She even installed it with a special Kate flourish. The hot water and the cold water knobs have to be turned in opposite directions. It takes a little getting used to but she assures me that it's very awesome.

Later that day, I turned on the dishwasher and went to spend some valuable time facebooking doing important internet research when I noticed that the dishwasher was being awfully quiet. Too quiet. I checked. No water was reaching my dishwasher. Shizz…

I immediately texted Kate:

2:43 PM Lydia wrote: Problem. There’s no water in my dishwasher.

2:45 PM Kate wrote: There’s two handles under your sink – one looks like it should be outside of your house and like, used for hosing – that’s what she said (!!)

2:45 PM Kate wrote: The other handle is sort of oval and silver. Turn the oval one.

2:47 PM Lydia wrote: I did both still no water.

2:49 PM Kate wrote: Crap.

2:53 PM Lydia wrote: I have to get the kids in ten minutes and then go to Girl Scouts and I won’t be home til 5:40.

2:55 PM Kate wrote: I have to get the kids at 4:00 and feed them and then we have karate at 6:15.

2:57 PM Lydia wrote: You know what I’m worried about? The ponytail haircut.

2:59 PM Kate wrote: Yes. I’ll meet you at your house after Girl Scouts and before karate. Don’t be late.

2:55 PM Lydia wrote: Affirmative. The Cap’n should not be making contact until at least 7. We should be able to complete the mission without fear of derisive Ponytail Haircut comments now or in the future.

I got home at 5:41. Kate arrived two minutes later. [Editor's Note: I was *not* late. I was merely waiting around the corner, not looking like a stalker. Not looking like a stalker at Lydia's house. -Kate] While all six of our kids romped around my house wreaking havoc, we got to work under the sink. It turns out there was a third knob under there that was neither ovaly nor outdoorsy. That was the one that we needed. But it took a little while to clear out all of the plastic Target bags and old sponges and stuff that I had crammed in there and then find the right knob and then cram everything back in. Then all of a sudden, it was time for karate and as fast as they arrived, the McLovin family had left the building. The dishwasher was running, the sound of water whishing through it.

Two minutes later, the Cap’n came home early and was greeted with a chorus of “Daddy! DADDY! DAAAAD! Daddy!” and I started to get scared that the kids would rat me out that Kate had just been there and under the sink and then he would know there had been a problem.

So I started screaming: “WHO WANTS TO PLAY Wii?!”

The kids looked at me like I’d lost my mind (since we have a firm “no Wii on school days” policy) but they saw their chance and took it and disappeared downstairs. This gave me the chance to show off Kate’s plumbing skills. I led the Cap'n into the kitchen.

“It looks great!” He said, “How much did it cost?”

“Thirteen dollars at The Ho Depot and Kate’s time,” I stated proudly.

He smiled and said: “Well, be sure to thank her for me. What’s for dinner?”

And with that change of subject, the ponytail haircut bullet was dodged. And he says we’re no good at espionage…

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010


  1. I need to take a lesson. I can't even open my blinds without consulting my husband. I assure you, they are very tricky.

  2. Kate is an Awesome genius! Are you sure you aren't Mommyland Home Security afterall?

  3. I am continuously astounded by the awesomeness.

  4. I love it! I replaced our garbage disposal once while my husband was out of town. He forgot to call the repairman, and one week was long enough for me to realize that we NEEDED the disposal. It really isn't as hard as it looks, and when your husband travels 2/3 of the year you must learn to be handy. Bravo, girls!

  5. I have learned you've got to at least try to fix it yourself before calling in the professionals. Makes me want to be a plumber sometimes with how much they charge to do something so simple.

  6. Love this, great ponytail haircut dodge! I must say I am impressed, I do lots of DIY around our house but have yet to attempt plumbing of any sort that does not require a plunger. Job well done and humorous all at the same time, had my giggle for the day, thanks!

  7. Bravo, Kate! By the way, my toilet is making a weird noise. When you next come visit I think you might have to work on the ballcock.


  8. Love it!

    I once sent a text to my husband saying, "Where's the drill, and how do I change the bit thingy on the end? And where are the other bit thingies?"

    He was worried, but I don't know why. I found all of the parts myself and did a GREAT job of figuring it out. (The task that I wanted to complete, on the other hand... Not so much. But it was TOTALLY not my fault. I was very handy.)

    We're now getting divorced. But not because of the drill thing.

  9. I am in awe of your skills Kate! Sounds like the Cap'n was happy too, so SCORE!!!!

  10. My love to dearest Kate, who has more courage than Aunt Mary. Aunt Mary is also capable of plumbing, but undersink archaeology is not a field of study she has any competency in. She was going to fix it this summer, but couldn't face the target bags. Lydia, she hopes you recycled the bags.

  11. ponytail---Wait! I do ponytail haircuts and I get massive amounts of compliments on my hair. ALL.THE.TIME. You guys just didn't put the ponytail on right. That is all.

  12. Oh, fantastic! Next time we need a plumber, I'm calling Kate. Seriously. :-)

  13. Sarah.ineedadrink.CJuly 5, 2011 at 11:58 PM

    Reading back posts, just wanted to say... I put my 2nd midget's crib together by *myself* while 8 months pregnant, with only French instructions (that also looks like they were from Ikea), a screw driver, an Allen key and a rowdy (read hyper,get off that wall you're not spiderman! that is not food!) 2 year old. Yeah needless to say we moms rock!
    P.s the hubby was on a fishing trip while I was accomplishing the above ;)

  14. You chicks are totally awesome sauce!!! I often have to do minor DIY things around the house (my hubs is the anti-thesis of “handyman”). I would be petrified of flooding the house when doing any plumbing work.

  15. Great Post! It's very nice to read this info from someone that actually knows what they are talking about.
    Plumber Alabaster, Al

  16. you'll add beauty and magnificence to your home by doing these enhancements. enhancements will usually be as very little as dynamic a blown lightweight bulb or maybe as huge as reconstruction the house once a disaster.




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