M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Friday, October 18, 2002  

The downside of having limited home maintenance skills is that when you have a major problem like, say, a toilet leaking water into the basement, there isn’t much you can do that doesn’t involve a) a bucket or b) a plumber’s phone number. The upside is that it doesn’t take nearly as much to give you a sense of Bob Vila-level competence as it does for other people.

Take our showerhead. Trash was about ready to take it this morning, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

The water pressure in our shower has been getting a bit anemic recently. Apparently, mineral and water deposits had clogged up the little holes or something. It was such a gradual process that we didn’t really notice as it was happening. I think what happened is that staying with Lawre for a few days and using her shower demonstrated that not everyone has to wash themselves under the equivalent of four eyedroppers. Then we got home, and Trash commented that rinsing the shampoo out of her considerable quantity of hair was taking too long under the wimpy little trickle she had to work with. I made a non-committal “yeah, I’ll get around to it” noise. Then when I took my shower I realized that the wimpy little trickle wasn’t doing it for me, either. And when I’m being inconvenienced, it’s clearly time to take action.

Except I didn’t know whether I was going to have to ruin a toothbrush or buy a new shower head or what. Instead, I just did a little research and found a site with all sorts of helpful (and cheap) little household hints. It turns out that all I needed to do was remove the showerhead, take out the rubber washer, and boil it for five minutes in a mixture of water and vinegar (the showerhead, not the rubber washer). An added benefit is that a good whiff of vinegar steam is enough to give you a month off from having to trim your nose hairs.

So I did that last night, and then extracted the superheated showerhead with a pair of cooking tongs, feeling all competent and resourceful. I especially got a little ego boost from the fact that I hadn’t turned on the garbage disposal before I accidentally dropped the showerhead into it. That’s the kind of detail that separates a true handyperson from a dilettante, you know.

Then I screwed the showerhead back onto the pipe, and it only took me a minute or two to figure out that it was hanging loosely because I’d forgotten to stick the rubber washer back in. I took care of that and turned on the shower to rinse out the vinegar and see if it had worked. Given the volume of water that rushed out, both of those tasks were fairly well accomplished after a nanosecond or two.

Trash came out of the shower this morning with an exhausted smile on her face. “Fixed?” I asked. She nodded, unable to speak. Eventually she caught her breath and explained that it was much easier to shower with the “new” shower head, because not only was there enough water to get the shampoo out of her hair faster than a news camera clears out a whorehouse, but she didn’t even have to put any effort into standing or balancing herself, since the water pressure effectively pinned her to the far wall and held her suspended there. The only hard part was struggling upstream against the storm surge so she could turn off the flow and escape. Now I kind of wish we had a detachable showerhead with a hose, because with this kind of water pressure we could use it to disperse angry mobs.

It’s things like this that make me feel better about that bucket in the basement.

posted by M. Giant 2:57 PM 0 comments


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