Brown Thumb #1

I've been a little remiss in my writing. Below is part 1 of the reason why. Enjoy


The Brown Thumb

This is the truth, no ****.

Last week I finally got the brakes on  my antique car repaired (did it myself) but after a week of trying, couldn’t get the brake lights to work, It was so frustrating trying to do things in tight spaces with sharp corners. My hands looked like I had a boxing match with the cat. A friend of mine came over and had them going within one-half hour. This guy is good! I reassembled the car. (Had to take a lot of it apart to access the brake master cylinder and wiring.) The brake lights worked, BUT they were always on until I stepped on the brake pedal. WHOOPS Now I gotta take it all apart to reverse the wires. Still, I was happy enough that I decided to wash the car.

After washing Truly Scrumptious, I noticed that the faucet I had used was leaking around the stem. Good day to fix it. I turned off the water to the house so I could disassemble the valve, remove the handle and the bonnet and put a new seal in, right? The shutoff valve is near the street and four feet underground. Access requires me to reach into a pipe as far as I can to twist the valve wrench to close the valve.  Whoops again, the valve is buried under sand, washed in during the last heavy rain (maybe several heavy rains). How to get it out? I use a shop vac to suck out the sand to uncover the valve handle. Sucked two geckos up, too. They ran off when I dumped the sand out of the vacuum.

Okay, now close the valve. Why doesn’t the handle stop turning? Gotta get a flashlight, one that works. I look down the pipe. The shut-off valve handle is broken. I go to the house to check, and the water is almost off. I have to dig up the piping to get to the valve to replace the shut-off valve handle. Without that, I can’t turn the valve completely off, nor turn it back on when I’m done with this simple task. Four hours later, I have a four foot deep hole and I’m looking at the shut-off valve. The handle has to be replaced. But the damn thing won’t come off. I tap, rap, wiggle and even use a mechanical puller. Finally, it breaks. I use a grinder to remove the broken part from the valve. Gotta go to the hardware store for another. I install one and proceed to try to shut the valve. The handle just turns and turns.  Bad news, but maybe when it’s time to open it, it will re-engage and work.

The water is shut off enough that I can make the repair to the faucet valve at the house. Next step, remove the valve handle. No luck, won’t come off. I whack it, tap on it try to wiggle it. Still stuck. (notice a luck trend here?) Okay, I’ll take the valve stem out and work on it in the shop. More tapping and in frustration, I finally break it. I cut off the remaining pieces and hunt to see if I have a replacement handle. After searching for an hour, I finally admit I don’t have one, BUT I do have a replacement valve. Simple, just unscrew the old one and install the new one. No big deal.

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