Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Heart-Wrenching Afternoon

"Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity."
-Charles Mingus

We adored our rented house in California but it was an old place and oft in need of repair. The bath tap was turned one morning and did not thereafter come to a stop. Thankfully the water was not pouring but there was no pressure on the tap and so no beginning or end point. We used a wrench for a day or two and that worked nicely to turn the tap on and off. Yet, we knew that we needed a plumber. We thought that we could not use a wrench for very long. It looked ugly and primitive and was not the sort of thing we wanted in our bathroom. Thankfully the owner always had plumbers ready and they came over in a short time to try and solve our problem.
Their investigation led them to discover that the tap could be fixed, but it would require some work in the wall behind the bath.
No problem, said I.
They dug out the tiles on the wall behind the bath. It worried me only because the bathroom became a veritable mess and I had always tried hard to keep it looking shipshape. The plumbers conferred with each other and then turned to me. They needed to get to the plumbing from the other side of the wall because there just was not enough room while standing in the bath to do what needed to be done.
No problem, said I.
They needed to go to the master bedroom and there they examined the wall. Wooden panels covered the walls. They conferred with each other and then turned to me. They would need, they said, to pull out a portion of the bedroom wall.
No problem, said I, trembling slightly. It, after all, was not our house and I feared agreeing to anything that the owner did not authorise.
They began to tug a bit at the wooden boards but nothing was forthcoming. They conferred again and turned to me. They needed to pull off some of the skirting board at the base of the wall. The skirting board had been nailed over the wooden planks and it had to be removed first.
No problem, said I, wearily.
After a few minutes of wrenching they had another conference. I was by then, I suppose, hiding under the kitchen table.
They needed... I was nearly in tears.
They needed to pull up the carpet, because whoever had completed the room had done a rather silly job and the carpet was nailed right over the base of the skirting board.

So the plumbers pulled up the carpet, tore off the skirting board, ripped out the wall, dug their way into the bathroom, fixed the matter and, after cleaning up properly, went on their merry way.
Never underestimate the beauty and simplicity of a wrench.

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