Despite my lack of plumbing know-how or the proper tools, I fixed my kitchen tap last weekend. Just as we were running out the door to cricket on Friday night, Magic Man said, “Muuuum, the tap won’t turn on!”
I replied with something like “It will if you try hard enough, man up my boy.” but bugger me if the child wasn’t right. The damn tap wouldn’t turn on. So I did the sensible thing and ignored it, and we drove off to an inglorious defeat courtesy of Maleny.
Saturday morning was crunch time. Equipped only with my bone-deep fear of how much it would cost to call out a plumber on the weekend – and knowing I had less than a hundred dollars with which to feed the household until payday – I strode out to the water mains.
It only took two tries and a bit of cursing and I managed to switch the water off. I pulled the tap apart, mostly using my bare hands and a rusty old screwdriver – strange, I expected sturdier construction from a crucial piece of kitchen plumbing. The washer seemed okay, so I’d reached the limits of my knowledge of “things that can go wrong with taps”. Since the tap spun uselessly, I thought maybe I needed a new handle.
Off we trot to the local hardware store, liberally smeared with tap grease. New tap handles are not cheap, and they come in pairs. Idly scanning the racks of mysterious plumbing accoutrements, I came across a pack of little hexagonal bits of plastic (they’re thermal shields, or whatever)
“Hmm,” I thought “that looks just like the one I just pulled out of my tap, but instead of a little slit mine’s got a bloody big hole. Could that be the problem?”
Sure enough, it was. Magic Man thought I was a super hero for at least a day and a half.
“Mum,” he said, in tones of hushed awe, “You fixed the tap. You’re a genius!” Sadly, the tap-related hero worship has completely worn off. Maybe I’ll get him to watch while I clear out the drain pump on the washing machine.