We decided that since the old faucet was forty-two years old and original to the house, we might as well replace it. It was exciting to look at faucets on the Internet. Moreover, each time we visited a hardware store, had we not also visited the plumbing sections? This would be simple. So, one cold, rainy weekend during the lockdown, off we went to purchase the new faucet. The hardware store was considered an essential business. It was open in spite of the coronavirus pandemic. So, there we were, studying Moen and Delta faucets. We discovered some faucets run into the hundreds of dollars-- too pricey for what we wanted.
We found a faucet that looked almost like our old one. We liked it, paid for it, and drove home. It would be a worthwhile weekend project. I was in charge of running up and down the basement stairs to turn off the water to the whole house. Once done, with several backup buckets of water, in case the job might take more than an hour, we were ready to apply our talents.
We first disconnected the hose sprayer. We then worked on the pipes beneath the sink. Naturally all this called for finding a high intensity light and discovering how best to hang it under the sink so we could see. Then we had to find pillows and other items so we wouldn’t break our backs while lying upside down inside the cabinet. One pillow was too soft. Two pillows slipped around on the floor. Finally with the right number of folded beach towels, pillows and such, we were able to see, work, and plan. The pipes came off.
But the base of the faucet would not come loose. Where was the hammer? Where were the bolts? Our forty-two year old faucet had either rusted in place or been attached with something much more powerful than plumber’s cement. We worked all weekend. TV ads showed women in high heels replacing faucets. We developed vertigo. Surely it couldn’t be that hard to remove a faucet, could it? But it was.
We decided we really LIKED our old faucet. We put our entire old faucet back together again, attaching the disconnected parts. We repackaged the new faucet and returned it to the store. We bought seals and connecting hoses. We worked the entire next day. We turned on the water. The faucet leaked. We called a plumber.
The plumber came, charged us for looking, and gave us some good news and some bad. We revisited the store and repurchased the same faucet as before. Four days later, he came and put it in. He said, using words I won’t use here, that our faucet was really tough to get out. Grim.
During the week without our faucet, we hoarded water in pans and buckets. We used other sinks and forced ourselves not to automatically reach for the kitchen faucet. I thought of people who have to trudge for miles to get water and keep it stored in jars. I lay in bed at night considering how blessed I am to have running water. How do they manage? I wish I could provide them with a faucet and clean, running water.