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These Times Are Draining; The Sink's Not

Due to the situation we now find ourselves in, I will not be coming to your house today to tell you this stuff. Instead, I'm going to write it down. The six-foot rule, the five-second rule or the hip-hop artist, Ja Rule ... whatever, I'm in.

Let's get through this together.

One of the things that I miss most, these days, is baseball. My son, Eric, the football coach - happy birthday to him and his wife, Laura, by the way - scoffs at my passion for watching Yankee games. I don't actually sit and watch every pitch, I just like to have it on in the background while I go about doing other things - like building a better mousetrap and developing a cure for apathy. (Incidentally, I've since lost interest in both.)

Nonetheless, Eric just rolls his eyes if I - or my other son, Paul, also a fan - mentions the Bronx Bombers. He is guaranteed to mumble “riveting” whenever he sees that I've got the game on. Sarcasm 101.

In fact, as a loyal enthusiast, I built two huge “I love the Yankees” signs and placed them out front. Someone stole my signs. I'm convinced it was the Houston Astros. Or a fan. Whatever.

I know it was a long way to go for that, but trust me, if I was at your house telling you this stuff, you'd be doubled over with laughter. And if I saw that you didn't get the joke, I'd smoothly segue into something different. Something like …

My wife and I are doing our best to stay at home. We seldom venture out unless it's absolutely necessary. So the other day, while looking for things to do around the house, I decided to address the slow draining sink in the bathroom. I vigorously attacked it with a plunger and, of course, I made it worse. Now, there was total blockage.

My next option was to cram myself underneath the sink into a cabinet three times smaller than I am … and take the pipes apart and try to run a snake through it. Um-m, this idea turned out to be worse than the time I decided to use my teeth to weed out poison ivy in the yard, lest I touch it with my hands.

Back to the sink: When I tried to put the trap assembly back together, I stripped the threads on the PVC pipes; it leaked. I got soaked. Not good. It meant I had to drive to the hardware store for parts. And going out, was something I was far from thrilled about.

I took pictures of the pieces I needed so that I could match them up at the store without guessing. I was proud of my foresightedness and deep understanding of the complex situations we often find ourselves in. More about that in future articles.

We have two stores in town which – more than likely - had what I needed. Going to the closest one, so that I could get in and out quickly, was a no-brainer. I scurried to the plumbing department but, unfortunately, the parts I was looking for were packaged in plastic bags with the stores logo plastered all over them. There was no way to see what was what and what they looked like. No matter how hard I tried ... nada, nothing. And things being what they are, I didn't want an employee getting close enough to explain.

Oh sure, they had the products' name listed on the bags, but that didn't help your ordinary stooge … c'est moi. “Goose-headed twipper with 1/4” flossil notch” is something that seldom comes up in conversations I have with people. I was as lost as Mike Pence at a Hooter's Bar.

Before I had a panic attack, I raced home to see if maybe duct tape could save the day. My wife saw me carrying a roll into the bathroom and said, “Don't even think about it!” Okay, fine. Back to the other hardware store. The one farther away.

Once there, I was relieved to quickly find what I needed. As I made a beeline to checkout, an employee, suggested – from a surprise attack right next to me – that I buy the store's generic brand and save a few bucks. I took him up on the offer, paid for it and rushed out.

Arriving home, I breathed a sigh of relief in the belief and hopes that I'd accomplished my mission safely; I ripped the bag open and crawled back under the sink. And then, talk about hilarious, the parts didn't work. They were a quarter of an inch too big to fit into the existing pipes. I laughed and laughed. Sarcasm 102.

Frustrated, I called the store and asked to talk to the same guy (whom I know by name) who'd approached me when I was there; he knew what I'd bought. I asked him if there was something smaller available. He said he'd check. He came back on the line and said there was. The one I had in my hands before he talked me into putting it back on the shelf.

That was totally awesome funny! Sarcasm 103 … plus.

Smile, friends. We shall overcome.

And that's the way it looks from the Valley.

Happy Birthdays, also, to granddaughter Emma and daughter, Melissa: Tvalley@Rochester.RR.com

Author And Amateur Plumber Tom Valley

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