Jon De Vos: Why, that’s just water under the sink
October 14, 2010
“Do you know why water should be coming out from under the sink?” my wife asked me a couple of days ago.
I stopped for a moment with a faraway look and pursed lips before admitting to myself, no, I couldn’t think of a single way to tie the words, “water” and “under the sink” and expect a happy outcome. Fortunately, I’m not very handy around the house and know the precise two questions to ask in this crisis, “Oh, yeah? How much water?”
I am not having this conversation from the sofa where I belong. No, I’m way up on top of a ladder working like Ahemtop, The Pharaoh’s Number One Pyramid Builder. I’m getting ready for my wife’s neighborhood party to which I am only partially invited, “You have to stay upstairs and keep the dogs quiet,” she explains.
I mentioned that I’m on a ladder, working on a 2003 list prepared by my wife back when she still had illusions about Mister Fixit. Number 27 on that list was, “Repair back door trim.” Because the “big party” was coming, she got that yellowed list out of her Hope Chest and pinned a copy on the back of my recliner with an insane deadline less than two weeks away.
Any guy will tell you that the perfect weekend consists of a dozen episodes of The X Files and pizza. Ask any guy’s wife, and the answer will be more or less the same except with a to-do list added to spoil everything. I told her I’d get to it next weekend, a date impossibly far in the future when you can parrot hours of Mulder and Scully dialogue.
She pointed again to the yawning cabinet mouth under the sink where, indeed, a small leak was running out onto the floor. Hands on her hips, she dispensed with the pleasantries, “Aren’t you going fix it?”
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I stared at the puddle for a minute before slowly nodding. Then I pushed the dog’s watering dish under the trickle with my toe and headed for the remote control. Whoosh, like a Creature of the Night, there she was, standing right in front of me, blocking the TV. I feinted left, right, then lunged for the knob. Useless! Her grip was like iron, “I had something more substantial in mind when I asked you to fix the leak,” she said, thinly disguising a steely menace in her voice.
I replied weakly, “I don’t think a human can fix it.”
She said, “Here’s the wrench you used the last time it leaked like this. Don’t you remember? You were cursing a lot, in between loud theatrical moans and finally, after the longest time, you reached up there and tightened that thingy under the faucet. Just took a second and it stopped the leak for two years.”
Well, of course, it was a lot more complicated than that but I finally got the leak stopped. For slighting me, I decided to lapse into a Ricardo Montalban aristocratic sulk for the remainder of the afternoon but pretty soon she made a batch of peanut butter cookies, effectively ending the skirmish.
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