Feel free to tug on Superman’s cape and take your chances spittin’ in the wind, but I do not recommend asking my dad if he wants your help with something.
Anything. Not ever.
If you do (and God bless if you do), one of two things will happen:
1) You’re shot down with a resounding, “Hell NO!”
2) You receive the “Why Would You Even Ask Me Such a Stupid Question?” look (Charlie ™).
Such was the case when the handle on our kitchen sink broke and Dad begrudgingly mustered up the energy to actually do something about it.
The week began with me attempting to fill a glass (or some form of container) with water using the tap at the kitchen sink. On employment of said device, the handle immediately popped out of the base causing me to yelp, “What the…?” and resulting in no way to turn the water back off again. The former drew Charlie’s attention straight away as he lunged head first into playing the blame game.
Now before I go on, I should mention I am not a physically burly woman. I’m tall, about 130 lbs soaking wet and have the upper body strength of a small kitten. I suppose, if I really wanted to, I could probably rip the whole thing out with my bare hands (after several days and the assistance of a herd of steroid-fueled pro wrestlers), but in this case my only intention was to simply get a glass of water.
“Don’t pull the handle so hard!” Dad shouted across the room.
“I didn’t! It just came out!” I answered, swinging the handle indignantly in his general direction.
This went on for about a week; handle popping out and me or Dad resentfully popping it back into place. Then one morning Dad had apparently had enough of either my complaining or his own procrastination on the topic and finally took on the task of replacing the kitchen faucet.
This task of course required a trip to the local hardware store and so, to ensure Charlie didn’t come back with some god-awful offense to home décor, I decided to tag along.
Trip #1: Lowe’s Home Improvement
It seemed fairly straightforward: 1) Find reasonably priced faucet 2) Purchase 3) Install.
But with Charlie? Ah, no.
I picked out a lovely silver faucet with sprayer included, Dad made the purchase and we returned home for the install. So far, pain free. Then, back at the house and fully aware of the aforementioned “never ask” rule of engagement re: Charlie’s Home Repair, I threw open my laptop while Dad crawled under the sink, banging around wrenches and cursing up a storm for the next hour.
“Son of a bitch!”
“Stupid, son-of-a-bitchin’ bastard!”
About an hour later, when the original faucet was removed and it was time to install the new one, Charlie discovered he was missing a key ingredient.
Trip #2: Lowe’s Home Improvement
Ten minutes later, Dad returned with the required plumber’s putty. He slotted in the sprayer first, then the faucet to the top of the sink, then while attempting to attach all of the above from underneath, he finally called me over, lovingly shouting:
“Tina, will you get over here!”
This was not a question.
Another few minutes of grunts and swearing later and we were nearly done! All that was left now was to connect the main hoses and…
The hoses weren’t compatible with the new faucet.
Trip #3: Lowe’s Home Improvement
Charlie hauled out all the new hardware from the sink, removed the plumber’s putty, and packed everything back up for a return trip to Lowe’s. Another 10 minutes later, he was back with another new faucet.
His second attempt at installation – though shorter and less curse-filled – went about as well as the first. This time on opening the box, Dad inspected the hook ups and realized that once again it was not compatible.
“Why don’t you bring our hoses with you this time?” I asked.
“Nah. How’s that gonna help?”
“Okay, Dad. I’m going with you. But, I’m BRINGING THE HOSES!”
Trip #4: Lowe’s Home Improvement
Assuming the issue was related to Lowe’s inferior quality of merchandise, rather than his own lack of planning, Charlie returned the second faucet and insisted we go to Home Depot instead.
Trip #5: Home Depot
Browsing the aisles of the Home Depot warehouse, we scanned the floor displays with Dad complaining about the high prices of appliances these days and mocking the strange sizes of modern day bathtubs:
“That (too small) bathtub’d be good for Chinese people.”
By the time we’d found our way through the maze to the kitchen department, we were both exhausted so I made quick work of a selection of boxes. Surprisingly, Charlie stood idly by with no complaints as I opened them up, one by one, and compared the hose connections before finally finding one that matched.
Due to his peculiar hate for self-check outs (“I didn’t come here to do their work for them!”), we waited semi-patiently with our selection behind 3 customers at the only manned register (out of a possible 50) in the store. Ten minutes later, still tired and now starving at this point – since we’d both foolishly skipped lunch – I could feel an unnatural rage building inside me as I watched the self-checker-outters, two at a time leaving the store, items scanned and paid for, with smiles on their stupid faces.
“I need FOOD!”
On the way home, Dad suddenly seemed in a better mood. He was cracking jokes and even made fewer protests about the traffic. Then exiting the freeway early, Charlie took a more scenic route, driving through a neighborhood he knew I’d enjoy as one of the residence kept hens in their front yard and another had two bunnies roaming free.
Despite his frustration and hunger, I think Dad made the effort to show his appreciation. My own pet rabbit had also passed away back home in Ireland just a few days earlier so he knew seeing the rabbits would mean something to me and might lift my spirits.
Sadly, neither the chickens nor the bunnies were out, but Dad slowed anyway so I could see if they were. “Sometimes the chickens cross the road out here,” he said motioning toward the street. “Why did the chicken cross the road?” I questioned with the intent of making my own Charlie-styled quip.
“I don’t know. I never asked him.”
In case you’re wondering, the kitchen faucet did eventually get fixed (and we also had a meal as well – thank you Leigh for the pizza!). I even stepped in with the repairs when Dad started running out of steam. Everyone thinks the design is weird and the hot and cold taps are backwards (Dad’s instructions were too), but I’ve personally vowed never to crawl under the sink again. As Charlie would say, “It’s good ‘nuff.”