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Sunday, September 23, 2012

For Want of a Washer....

Here I am. Saturday at 3 pm and the water is off. Mike the Plumber has gone to Lowe's for this very special washer that he says is rare enough. It seems this is a very old faucet. I was looking online for the washer that is different from any I have seen. I may have to order it in a 12 pack! The water is off, but he will return with or without the washer and turn the water back on.
When he left, he said he would be back even if he did not find the washer. I asked, "Why will you come back if you cannot find the part?"
"To turn your water back on." Then, he left. Thirty seconds later, I was at the kitchen sink, wondering why I could not turn on the water. I am exhausted!
There were three leaks behind the tub and one from the drain. Can you see the new drain, all shiny? It has a shiny stopper too. I am already missing my rubber stopper. He showed me how to screw off the shiny, metal stopper so I can use my rubber one. I may.
The tub does not look as bad as the picture shows. At any rate, I have not had a bath in it for about nine months because of the lack of ability to rise from the tub. So the lines of rust are from taking a shower with the little hand shower. Without a shower stall or shower curtain, this is tricky.
Reminder: I have torn meniscus in L knee, torn rotator cuff in L shoulder, last vertebrae sits on bone, two herniated discs, L5 is pushed forward out of place. The orthopedic surgeon could not believe a year ago that I could still drive the 50 miles to his office and walk.
Okay, Mike the Plumber returned with a Chicago stem that will not fit a Chicago faucet. ??? Now, the washer from a $12 stem is in my faucet's old stem. I can order 12 washers for less than $6. He just took the washer out of the new stem and put the washer into my perfectly fine stem.
Monday, I will call the company and see if these are available anywhere in the vicinity. If not, I will order the box of a dozen and have spares. Mike the Plumber laughed, said  that he will just come buy them in the future from me if he needs one.
Next, he moved to the commode. He actually showed me how to fix it as he worked. "Now, you will be able to do this yourself. It is not hard." Wow! I thought I had to rip out things from the commode that were puttied in, stuck in so hard I would have to rip it out. Not so.
Nothing in the plumbing anywhere drips. This is a new condition for me. It seems that there was always a drip drip drip somewhere. Of course, the last steady stream was the worst. Still, by turning off the cutoff behind the commode, I stemmed that steady flow.
Now, there is the cleaning of the tub...sigh. That will take me days since bending for more than three minutes leaves me in tears and shaking from pain.
Oh, about the free faucet. I was looking for the washer today and came across the same faucet--$
The bathroom fix will continue in another post, after I find the faucet washers. So far, most of the cost was covered by a gift. Thank you!
Your turn
For some reason, the post can only be typed with the text centered! Have you ever in your life had so many leaks in one tiny bathroom? Do you have a plumber person who does this for you or do you have to do without or pay for it? Okay, I am just not a plumber type. Electrical or woodworking things are more my thing. At any rate, my disability makes it impossible to sweep the floor, much less do anything more strenuous or involves bending!


  1. PP, I feel your frustration. I am forced to do all those things for myself or they don't get fixed. I just had to learn along the way. Not being able to bend tho, that put a a hurt on getting things done.

  2. Leaks. Oh yeah.Here in the Ozarks people say"fall in the fall" when they mean on...well, our leaks led to us falling in the floor! Fortunately just the crawl space below. Can't expect much in a 120 yr.old farmhouse with a bathroom tacked on in the 40's.

  3. mmpaints,
    Oh, I have learned to do lots! Add two injured hands and it puts me at a further handicap, even before now. The hands function except for the ways I can turn them and their weakness. I know I sound like a

    My house is 112 years old with bathroom installed on corner of back porch and further enclosed. The leaks in my roof are causing the same The leaks in the bathroom were going to lead to that. If I fall through these floors, the crawl space would land me in to my armpits and where the basement is, well, I would just fall clear through.

    Still, I love old houses. Don't be falling through. I am glad to hear from you. Thanks for the comment.

  4. Linda, Try "Barkeeper's friend" on your tub. It works really well on rust stains. You can get it at Walmart for about $2. If I were closer I would be happy to scrub your tub for you. PS Barkeepers is made in America. It's active ingredient is oxalic acid, from rhubarb. Try it on stainless steel cookware. It cleans cookware almost like magic.

  5. Janet,
    We are on the same wavelength! I used Barkeeper's Friend on the tub, then some baking soda! Zud is a good one too for old tubs or anything you don't want scratched up over time. I have used baking soda for cleaning, just like any powdered cleaner.

    But, BF is on the job. I could not get lots of it, the worst, the long leak and around the drain looking white. It may take many more scrubbings. Actually, none of the tub is as white as it can be. I scrubbed for three minutes, started shaking from pain, and hobbled back to sit.

    Believe me, if you were close, I would take you up on the scrubbing offer.

    I did not know it was made in America--good deal. Also, the rhubard connection is a surprise. Thanks for good information.

    Come on down. I will be working on this for several days. I will get in it tomorrow for a "shower." I will wait for exbf to get her before I sit/lie for a bath. I would rather him help me out of the tub than an EMT or fireman.

    It has been so long since I used my arms to lift my body, that I may have to get on my knees to get up. Then, the knee with torn meniscus will not like that! So, I just put a folded towel in the tub of water to rest that knee, okay both knees.

    I don't have any stainless steel cookware, just cast iron and Corelle. It works great on Corelle, almost like magic. All the little burned on places on the bottom almost disappear immediately with little scrubbing.

    Thanks for the thought about helping.

  6. Leaks are the bane of my existence. By the time I got my original house re-plumbed and re-wired, my husband decided we should move.

  7. lotta joy,
    I think I would have been tempted to stay with the new plumbing and wiring. Aaack, moving away would be awful. Leaks just never get better or even stay the same, unfortunately.


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