david the plumber and carpenter

“If I were a carpenter
And you were a lady
Would you marry me anyway?
Would you have my baby?

If a tinker were my trade
Would you still find me?
Carrying the pots I’d made
Following behind me”

I remember listening to this song in the backseat of the car with my parents as we drove from here to there. This past weekend and week, it came back to mind as David embarked on a plumbing and carpentry project in our home. Back in August our friend Colleen came to visit us in Boston. It was a super rainy cold day and she and I headed out into downtown Boston anyway. We spent hours getting soaked as we walked up and down the streets of bean town together. By the time we finally made it home we were chilled to the bone. Obviously, this called for hot tubs!  Colleen and I headed into our separate bathrooms, drew warm baths and soaked up the relaxation. A little later, when we were dried off and starting dinner in the kitchen, we noticed that the kitchen ceiling was leaking!  Something was wrong with the tub Colleen had used and the ceiling became saturated above us. What ensued was months of denial between David and I. We had a plumber come to the house immediately to check the damage and give us a diagnostic.  Supposedly, we would need to cut a hole in our kitchen ceiling and replace various pipes, joints, and the drain. The grand total would get us to $500 not including the repair work for the ceiling. Not interested in spending that kind of  money for our guest bathroom (since really we two never used it), we ignored the problem.

For the most part, we could ignore the problem. As long as the shower wasn’t used, the pipes remained dry and the issue didn’t progress. When guests came, we just awkwardly asked them to use our bathroom for all bathing purposes. The guest bathroom became no man’s land. This was working out for us perfectly, until we realized that this little baby was coming and with him would be a flock of guests to fill our summer. Also, we would eventually want the tub to bathe the little boy too. About a month ago, I decided to call the plumber again and have him come and do the repair. David was bummed to pay the price but agreed it would be faster that way. Weeks and weeks of phone tag with the local plumber left me frustrated.  Didn’t they want business? Why wouldn’t they call me back? And, when they did call me back, why were they also so quick to get me off the phone and say “Yes, Yes, we will get back to you.”  Perhaps the whole neighborhood was having massive plumbing issues!  Every house from here to Boston was experiencing explosive toilet pipes and they simply were too busy to come help us? Whatever their reason, David decided he would do it.

Donning his work attire, the project started on Saturday morning. It was quite scary watching him cut a massive hole in our kitchen ceiling!

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Once the jagged whole was cut, it was time to test the plumbing to isolate the issue and see exactly what it was we needed to fix. My job was to run the shower and tub and David would call up to stop me and I would bail out the tub quickly as the water came down through the ceiling hole. Of course, I was bailing and bailing the tub water and wondering, “Why are my feet getting wet?”  Yup, my bucket had a massive hole in it! So David came running upstairs with an array of pots and together we bailed the tub. What a scene!! We realized through these ridiculously trials that the issue was actually more minor than the plumber originally noted. In fact, the only thing we needed was to take the drain apart and reapply the plumber’s putty that creates the seal between the drain and the pipe. Knowing the issue, David widened the ceiling hole and we were off to Lowe’s to buy the putty, a new gasket, and to buy the supplies we would need to seal, plaster, and paint the ceiling.

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$75.00 later we were feeling pretty excited to be saving quite a penny with David at the helm of the project. Of course at this point in the project I had worked up quite the “observers” appetite and we stopped for some sustenance before round two.

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With our bellies full of Five Guys, David returned to the task at hand. He fixed the drain and I helped test the new seal and voila the tub was fixed!!  We could now have guests return to the house. David set down his plumber’s hat and donned that of master plasterer and carpenter.

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(Blurring action shot of the painting)
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It is amazing that the project is complete and I am SO proud of how well David did with it from start to finish.  There were no angry words during the process and I really got to see his engineer mind at work.  I like to think of him now as a Renaissance man.
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