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I come from a family of “do it yourself” unofficial professionals.

My grandfather was a professional contractor until he retired, so when Mom was younger she picked up as much as she could. My parents built the house we’ve lived in for 20+ years, but sometimes they get a but rusty and forget how to fix things in the quickest way possible.

Today was one of those days. My Dad was reaching down to get something from behind our kitchen sink when he noticed that our faucet was in the process of splitting. Basically, this means that one day I would have turned on the faucet (of course when my parents were on vacation) and it would have split apart, sending a geyser of pressurized water up to the ceiling. As he found out while taking the faucet apart, the shut off valve would not have helped me. It broke off in his hand. Thankfully, he’d already shut off the water to the house but that didn’t help anyone  because he forgot to shut off access to the hot water tank.

Screaming occurred when my parents came to the realization that the water wasn’t stopping. I was summoned to the kitchen and told to put my finger over the place where the shut off valve used to be. Simple? Hardly. My Dad’s finger fit because he’s 6’5 and has ginormous man hands. Me? Not so much. My Mom was thoroughly soaked by the time I figured out the I had to position my thumb a certain way. The hard part was remaining completely still while practically hanging upside down into the hole where the sink formerly was. Once the hot water heater was subdued, they got down to business. And by business I mean my Father gave me a thorough education on Anglo-Saxon oaths.

I was summoned at random times to bear witness to the struggle while holding various pieces of weaponry. They decided to replace the sink and the faucets in addition to all the pipes underneath the sink. I made the mistake of asking what I was holding around hour 4. I got “It’s a fucking pipe wrench! Hold it!”

Rather than get offended like anyone else would have done, my Mom and I exploded into laughter. I assured my Dad that if I ever found myself in need of a pipe wrench, I would go to Home Depot and ask the sales clerk where I might procure a “fucking pipe wrench”. “So damn funny Katie… now why is the fucking piece of shit bastard not going in the goddamn holes? Fuck this piece of…” I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.

I kind of dread the day I have kids and we can no longer swear around them. I’ll feel like a part of my life is missing… They’ll find out eventually the joys of family plumbing bonding, hopefully in a hilarious way just like I did. But I now know what a pipe wrench looks like, and our new sink is beautiful, so I call today a success.

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