Buffalo Trace

Buffalo Trace
From a few years ago, me mugging with the bronze buffalo sculpture at Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Man Versus Faucet: A South Carolina Cage Match

It was a death-defying struggle of monumental proportions. I am speaking, of course, of my toe-to-toe South Carolina cage match with my kitchen faucet.

A few months ago my kitchen faucet stopped functioning properly. The only way I had sufficient water pressure to rinse some eggs off a plate was to use the spray gun; but even when the spray gun was off, the water only trickled out of the faucet as though the spray gun was on.

I've put up with this because, well, I'm lazy; that and I have dreams about redoing the kitchen and I just hate to spend money on something  that I might replace when I do a full-blown redo. That's the same reason why my front yard looks like West Texas during the 1930s dust bowl. I have grandiose plans for the front yard and I'm not going to seed or sod just to tear it all up in a couple of years if I have the money to do what I really want.

With a sudden influx of cash -- some clients actually do pay their invoices -- I decided this weekend was the weekend to replace the faucet.

I've been shopping faucets on the Internet, at Home Depot and Lowes for a month or two, but now I had to pull the trigger. I found a faucet I can live with at Home Depot. It shouldn't surprise anyone that the one I liked was out of stock at the Home Depot right up the street.

I decided to make a final run by Lowes and stopped at another Home Depot that was on the way. That Home Depot did have the faucet I wanted. Lowes didn't have anything more appealing. I went back to Home Depot and bought a new kitchen faucet, as well as a new faucet for my guest bathroom. My current guest bathroom faucet has a single lever setting temperature and volume. If it isn't put in exactly the perfect position, it drips.

With the low water costs in Greenville, the damn thing could have dripped for 20 years and not exceeded the cost of the replacement faucet. Bottom line: It was more annoying than anything else.

So there I was on a Saturday afternoon, ready to spring into faucet-replacement action. I removed all the cans of bug spray, spray oil, plant food and assorted other junk from under the sink. I pulled up the shelf paper and prepared to set to work.

I turned off the water to both sides of the faucet, got some channel locks and pliers, and crawled under the sink. Even with the water shut off, there was water everywhere. I crawled back out, located a couple of towels and went back in.

The old faucet disconnected easily enough, and, at first blush, it seemed the entire project was going to proceed without incident.

Here's the first law of home improvement projects: You never get away with just one trip to the home-improvement store.

When I attempted to reconnect the water lines to the new faucet, I hit a wall. The previous installation was a jerry-rigged affair and the cold water line wasn't long enough to quite reach and make a sealed connection. This wasn't entirely obvious at first. I hooked it up and turned on the water.

Lying under the sink was like being on the catwalk under Niagara Falls. I was drenched from the waist up.

I headed off to Home Depot for a longer hose. It was only a $7 fix, but cost me about 30 minutes. The new hose connected perfectly.

Two and a half hours after I pulled the first bottle from under the sink, I put the last bottle back under the sink.

I'm happy to have some water pressure again. It takes so little to make me happy.

Now, it's on to the guest bathroom.

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