Thursday, October 16, 2008

You Can Call Me Al (Paul Simon)

I almost used Eve of Destruction as the title of this blog post... but Paul Simon's tune is so much more snappy and upbeat - plus... the plumber just left after having given me the estimate, and I am continuing to think positive.

At this point, we have two options: jackhammer the bathroom floor tiles, and possibly remove the toilet, in the area of the leak - I have asked, and they agreed, to keep the extent of the damage as small as possible, although whatever needs to be done will be done. I actually found a box of extra floor tiles in the attic and maybe, just maybe, those broken up can be replaced - as I've said before, I am open to the idea of re-doing the entire floor (I just prefer not to!).

Second option: re-routing the pipe from the hot water heater through the attic down the wall to the bathroom, at which point there would still have to be tiles torn up - this procedure would require two people (so the price would double)... plus materials.

Call me crazy... but I can't imagine choosing Option #2 when #1 sounds so straightforward and simple, not to mention less expensive - I don't want to operate on fear (the same pipe will break in another location), so I'm choosing to believe in isolating the problem, feeling sure that direct and minimal will do the trick.

My plumber's name is Al... not Joe (thanks, Catherine, for the hysterical comment in my previous post) - for the record, no one in this equation makes $250,000 a year or more... :-)

BOOK: Flushed: How the Plumber Saved Civilization by W. Hodding Carter

POEM: Elegy for Alfred Hubbard by Tony Connor

Hubbard is dead, the old plumber:
who will mend our burst pipes now,
the tap that has dripped all the summer,
testing the sink's overflow?

No other like him. Young men with knowledge
of new techniques and theories from books
may better his work, straight from college,
but who will challenge his squint-eyed looks

in kitchen, bathroom, under floorboards,
rules of thumb which were often wrong;
seek as erringly stopcocks in cupboards,
or make a job last half as long?

He was a man who knew the ginnels
alleyways, streets — the whole district:
family secrets, minor annals,
time-honoured fictions fused to fact.

Seventy years of gossip muttered
under his cap, his tufty thatch,
so that his talk was slow and clotted,
hard to follow, and too much.

As though nothing fell, none vanished,
and time were the maze of Cheetham Hill,
in which the dead — with jobs unfinished
waited to hear him ring the bell.

For much he never got round to doing,
but meant to, when weather bucked up,
or worsened, or when his pipe was drawing,
or when he'd finished this cup.

I thought time, he forgot so often,
had forgotten him; but here's Death's pomp
over his house, and by the coffin
the son who will inherit his blowlamp,

tools, workshop, cart, and cornet
(pride of Cheetham Prize Brass Band),
and there's his mourning widow, Janet,
stood at the gate he'd promised to mend.

Soon he will make his final journey:
shaved and silent, strangely trim,
with never a pause to talk to any-
body: how arrow-like, for him!

In St Mark's Church, whose dismal tower
he pointed and painted when a lad,
they will sing his praises amidst flowers
while, somewhere, a cellar starts to flood,

and the housewife banging his front-door knocker
is not surprised to find him gone,
and runs for Thwaite, who's a better worker,
and sticks at a job until it's done.

QUOTE: "Modern cynics and skeptics... see no harm in paying those to whom they entrust the minds of their children a smaller wage than is paid to those to whom they entrust the care of their plumbing." ~ John F. Kennedy


  1. I'm with you on trying the first option, Susan, am hoping the damage is minimal to those gorgeous floor tiles! xoxoxo

  2. Hey, M ~

    Ooooooh, things are not looking good here at the OK Corral - it may warrant another plumbing post (enough already, Susan)... and you would not believe the headache I have!

  3. ack...can Al reasonably speculate why the pipe broke in the first place? Would that help in choosing an option? Both sound involved and $$spendy$$. No wonder you have a headache.....I prescribe your vice of choice times 3 days...couldn't hurt...

  4. Hey, Catherine ~

    As far as the reason for the pipe break - old house!

    All is still unfolding - stay tuned for the next post (composing it now) as to which vice (x 3) I've chosen... :-)