Now I like clean clothes and swear by our faithful washing machine, but I’m not talking about clothes washers. I’m talking about the washers that keep your faucets from dripping. Or at least that’s what they used to do. Repairing a faucet was easy. Turn off the water. Take the faucet apart and replace the washer. It didn’t take much time and it was a simple task. The biggest effort was the trip to the hardware store to get the right washer.
Today it’s not so simple!
These days with all the modern improvements, a dripping faucet isn’t so simple. Yesterday I decided to deal with the dripping shower head that had been bugging my wife for a few weeks. I felt confident that it would be a simple task, yet something warned me to delay. Finally, those comments from my wife kept getting sharper and Monday seemed like the right time to take care of the problem. In our old house, I was quite familiar with the fixtures and fittings. Here at the new place, I’d gotten soft enjoying the luxury of everything being new. Was I still the man of the house? Would I give up and call a plumber or be the master of my domain and fix it myself? I didn’t hesitate.
Attacking the problem.
It didn’t take long to get into the faucet but there were layers within layers before I finally got down to the control. I was feeling good. It wouldn’t be long now. I pulled it out. Now where is that washer?
It’s a lump of black plastic.
Somewhere down deep in this black plastic assembly lies the washer but it is quite clear that Kohler never intended for me to replace it. Why let me repair my faucet with a 25 cent washer when they could sell me a $30 module.
At the hardware store, I show them what I need. They don’t have it. They can order it but it will take a week. I’m thinking I can put the old one back and let it drip for another week but the hardware guy finds a place that has it in stock so I drive to the next town and get the part. It’s only $31 and so far I’ve dedicated 4 hours to this project but now I feel elated. The rest is going to be easy. I’m a winner!
I put it back together.
The new assembly is almost identical to the old one which is very comforting and it fits the hole nicely. I tighten the screws and turn on the water. The water doesn’t spray. I’m getting really cocky. I’m still the man of the house. I carefull replace the decorative elements and the handle and test the operation. Water flows. Water stops. I finish replacing all the parts and return to normal life. Modern technology had done it’s best to beat me down but with sheer persistence I had pushed on and fixed my dripping faucet.
The story continues.
Lying in bed last night flush with my victory, I relived the day, minimizing the difficulties and rejoicing in the triumph. I hadn’t lost my ability to solve household problems. I started to drift off to sleep when I heard a noise from the bathroom. It was a rhythmic sound that was very familiar. It was the steady dripping of my shower faucet. After all the time and expense dedicated to fixing the drip, it was as if I had done nothing. The new assembly was no better than the old one.
So, as I wait for the plumber to fix my drip, I yearn for the good old days when all you needed was a washer. These modern times where simple, inexpensive and easy to service devices have evolved into expensive assemblies which require professionals to install them properly. Bring back the washer.