Saturday, December 14, 2013

Music to My Ears

Sometimes, here at Mama Jean's, the regular duties of life take the drivers seat.  Today was just one of those days. I have a big old house that has lots of character and when I say character, I mean it’s old and things have a way of breaking.  It really is a great old house and I am lucky. I even get to rent rooms out to the best roommates ever.  They are always so understanding when things take a twist of fate, but I do feel I can’t really wait until I feel like fixing it because lets be real, that might never really happen.  
      Today was just one of those days.  Last night after working long into the wee hours on last minute orders that need to get out for Christmas I went up into the kitchen and was met with the smell of death around the dishwasher.  Not the smell I was expecting but it was late and it wasn’t going anywhere so I waited until this morning to deal with it. 

     When I went downstairs I realize it wasn’t as bad as the night before but still lingering and knew it had to be under the dishwasher. The cat had decided to bring us a treat a few nights earlier and brought a rat into the house. It escaped into the vents but that’s another story for another time so I kind of figured it never made it out.  It didn’t look too good the last time I saw it.  So I gathered up my tools and pulled the dishwasher out from under the counter.  
     I was lucky growing up. My Dad taught me all kinds of things and as a single mother for years I have often had to fix and replace things in the house.  I would call my Dad and he would walk me through it.  From heating elements in hot water heaters to entire shower units, over the years I’ve become a pretty good plumber, however I am not for hire.  Sorry, but a girls got to draw the line somewhere. 

     When we pulled it out we found the poor little rat and I felt sad that it hadn’t made it back to its own home but with the help of a housemate we had it out and ready to put the dishwasher back in.  All went as planned or so we thought.  I went out to return the tools to the garage which I had gotten out when it was light outside but in returning them realized the electricity wasn’t working, this means the extra fridge wasn’t working and since we have two and I use the other one, I had no idea how long it had been out.  What I found wasn’t pretty.  It lives on the back porch just off the kitchen and it’s outside so it’s been pretty cold so no one really noticed.  They just thought the bulb had burned out.  So I began cleaning up melted ice cream and defrosted meat.  Not a pretty picture I can assure you.  Another housemate jumped in and finished up the project and I headed out to figure out the problem. 

      Remember, I said it’s an old house with lots of character, well one is that each room usually has one plug for the whole room and even though the kitchen has a couple more, there isn’t one for the porch so we have the fridge plugged into one in the garage and the garage is dark.  So I took off my plumbers hat and put on my electricians hat, another of Dad’s gifts and go out and figure out what’s up.  A wire was loose from a connector.  I reconnect and get everything back on line.  Feeling pretty good about now until I go back in the house and head to my studio. 

     Water is leaking though the wood floor into the basement from just under the dishwasher.  Really?  Can’t the dead rat be enough?  Now I have to pull the dishwasher out again because it has a leak in the intake pipe from moving it in and out.  It’s an old copper pipe and I must have bent it.   I turn the water off, remove the pipe and it’s off to the hardware store for a replacement.  Thank goodness they are open until 9 on Sat.  Found a new flex hose for the replacement with lots of adaptors to fit any size and back to home I go.  I put the plumbers hat back on and dive under the sink.  Guess what, the value to shut off the dishwasher is behind the shut off value to the water for the sink so now I’m tracing pipes in the basement looking for the shut off value for the hot water.  The whole thing wants to come off and it can’t with the water on.  I figure out that the cold water into the hot water heater is the shut off as no water in, no water out. Can someone tell me why are all the plumbing things in the hardest to get to spots?  Pipes are right next to walls, hardly enough room for the wrench to fit, under sinks in small places, etc.  It never seems to fail that one thing leads to another at least in an old house, but with a bit of luck and a lot of ump, the connectors are replaced, the water is on and the leak is fixed.   
     I put the dishwasher back into it’s home, screw it back into place.  All the must keeps under the kitchen sink have been sorted and cleaned up with several what was I thinking things thrown away.  The fridge on the back porch is humming nicely and clean as a whistle and the kitchen smells like bleach and furniture oil from a little spill when sorting the haves and the have not’s for under the kitchen sink. 
      So, maybe I didn’t hear the hum of my machine as much as I would have liked today, but with the smell of lemon pledge in the air, the hum of the dishwasher and fridge seem like music to my ears.  Thanks Dad.  Sometimes wearing hats can be a good thing.  

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