shower valveMy personal life — at least from some angles — hasn’t had a lot of marks in the win column. The wins, it seems, have been mostly reserved for my work. In the early days, theatre lighting, student- and amateur-level efforts in film and TV, and finally, computer programming. My work has generally been deemed useful and of high-quality, so at least I don’t feel like a total fail.

But broken hearts litter my past, and I approach the six-decade mark without my own family or mate. My life has been daunted by physical limitations, plus I look like a bit like Quasimodo. The point is, outside of my work, I’m used to the dragon winning; I’m used to throwing snake eyes; I’m used to everything being difficult and a challenge.

But every once in a while for me… the Dragon loses!

Today, so far, has been a pretty great day!  I’ve had a leaky shower faucet that began a couple of weeks ago. Over that time, the leak has gotten stronger and stronger. It’s gone from a drip-drip-drip to a bit of a burbling brook!

Worse, the water was hot, which means it was from the hot-water side, and I’ve been fretting wondering what the constant drain is doing to my hot water heater.  With cold water constantly trickling in, the heater is working harder than normal, which (I’m thinking) can’t be good for it.


Wait,.. what??

The irony of my life is that I’m not the most functional person when I’m on my own. I live too much in my head (where there is a rich inner life). I really need someone — a partner in life — to be fully functional.  Without one, I tend to tune out the world as much as possible.

So I’ve been dreading having to deal with the leaky faucet, is my point. I’m always convinced jobs like this — where I don’t really know what I’m doing — are not going to turn out well. And there are some botched jobs in my history to support that feeling.

The smart money would be to hire a plumber, but early retirement (and reduced pension) has me watching my budget, plus I just don’t like strangers tramping through my house. It’s my sole refuge from the world, my personal space.  (And there’s always concerns about incompetent workers and being over-charged.)

So this morning I girded my loins and searched for some YouTube videos that might give me a clue about what was involved. I decided that, if it looked really scary and complicated, I’d grit my teeth and hire a plumber.

The videos I found made it look… doable. At least worth beginning and seeing how it went. I decided that if I got into (pardon the pun) hot water, I would back off and wait for expert help on Monday.

dragon wins

Not today, my old nemesis!

Long story short, I beat the dragon this time! I was able to remove the “cartridge” successfully and found a replacement at the local friendly Ace hardware store. They didn’t have a direct replacement, but the new one fit fine and works! I got it all back together, re-caulked the cover plate, and no more leak!

[Here’s a typical example of how my life usually goes: the tube of caulk wasn’t properly sealed in the back.  After carefully focusing on the bead of caulk I’d laid down, I was surprised to find huge globs of the stuff everywhere around the work area.  I hadn’t noticed it coming out the back end.  That’s my life: buy something, and it’s defective.]

I was so pleased with myself I finally hung the new shower curtain I bought a couple weeks ago.  Good-bye leaping dolphins, hello Tahiti beach scene.

iced ginger cookiesThen I went grocery shopping, and after months and months of the bakery not making iced ginger cookies, today they had them!  Iced Ginger Cookies!!  It took every bit of willpower I had to only buy three dozen.

And then I ran into a small beer tasting at the beer store.

So it’s been a rare good day.  A very rare, very good day.

Now, if the Twins can manage a win for me tonight, that will be the Perfection Trifecta: fixed my shower valve, scored over a score of fresh iced ginger cookies, and a Twins win!

I’m feeling lucky!

[The dragon may still lurk: In removing the bonnet nut, I may have twisted the three small brass feeder pipes a bit. Everything seems okay, but if I cracked the solder joints, this repair job could come back to haunt me big time. The way my life goes, it would be only to be expected.]

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

15 responses to “Sometimes…

  • Hariod Brawn

    I can so relate to all this you wouldn’t believe it.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      That’s been one of the most interesting aspects of the internet for me: No matter how far off the beaten path your tree grows, there are others made from the same wood! It’s nice knowing I’m not the only gnarly branch of that tree!

  • Doobster418

    Congrats on beating the dragon today. Hope the fix lasts!

  • Wyrd Smythe

    Twins went scoreless through six, but put up three runs in the seventh and a solo homer in the eighth, so they beat the KC Royals 4-1. WHOO-HOO! Trifecta Perfecta! XD

  • dianasschwenk

    Glad you experienced a day of wins Smitty!
    Diana xo

  • Lady from Manila

    You sound a bit hard on yourself, my friend. Not all people who get lucky in love are good-looking. Being in a relationship is simply a matter of choice, I also believe. These questions, however, invariably turn up in my mind: What if the person would rather go solo than stay with someone who couldn’t really make him or her happy? And why does society still look down on those who end up alone?

    Or should it be that life is too short to dwell on a defective purchase? You can always take it back, then try another and another…. 😉

    Leaky faucets, pesky dragons, broken hearts. Ah, life…. 🙂 Frankly, I hope to see you happier and at your most functional someday. After all, you live in a country where endless choices are constantly accessible.

    Another honest and excellent post, Wyrd. I’m glad to know you’ve just had a very fine day.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Thank you. You shoulda seen my face light up with I walked into the bakery area of the grocery store only to behold: iced ginger cookies! That was almost more wonderful than fixing my faucet!

      Robin Williams is a good reminder that opportunity, wealth, even a family, can’t shield one from inner loneliness or despair. I am thankful I’m not prone to the demons he was (and many others are). That’s kind of what I meant in my lead-off about “from some angles” — there is much to be thankful for in life.

      I agree completely that relationships involve a strong element of choice. There are no “perfect mates,” only those who come close enough that we make the choice to sustain and nurture a relationship. I’ve made that choice — only to have it not work out. And then made the choice again. And again. And again. At some point… you just give up. That’s not choice; that’s frustration and a sense of futility. I’ve returned to the “store” to replace my “defective purchase” many times.

      One thought: no other person can make you happy (or sad). They can contribute to your own happiness or sadness, making it easier or harder to achieve, but ultimately ones approach to life is also a choice. And at least I seem to have that going for me (I suspect that you do, too): I chose to approach life with as much happiness and joy and laughter sense of wonder as I can muster. Some days are just much easier than others.

      • Lady from Manila

        Reliable thoughts in your reply. And yes, Robin Williams is a classic example of someone who had it all, but who chose not to stay. Since you’ve mentioned him, I can’t help expressing as well a certain sense of loss for the man whose own genius might have worked against him; that is, remarkably-gifted people being prone to the deepest depression. I’m aware you don’t care much for “Mork & Mindy.” In my country, though,that show propelled him into a dearly-held phenomenon as we found his comic style extremely hilarious.

        “At some point… you just give up. That’s not choice; that’s frustration and a sense of futility.” How I understand and know the feeling, dear pal.

        If I may add: Maintaining any form of meaningful relationship is undeniably hard work. Yet I’m from the school of thought that it need not be that way. .

      • Wyrd Smythe

        I may not have cared that much for Mork & Mindy, but they propelled Williams into fame here as well! (As a long time fan of standup comedy, I was already somewhat familiar with him, and I’ve always loved his standup and his attitudes about life.)

        I just didn’t care for the show that much (I’ve always been a bit of a hard-sell on half-hour sitcoms). M&M used a “fish out of water” theme that derived its humor from the Mork’s misunderstanding of human affairs — a fish out of water. But the gags themselves always revealed keen insights to humanity, making it clear this fish (the show’s writers, actually) understood water quite well. I just got hung up on that inconsistency. [shrug]

        To put it tritely: relationships are like gardens; they require (at least occasional) tending and nurturing. My parents seemed to have it pretty easy, and I know of other marriages that seem to move along fairly easily. No doubt there are times of struggle, but if both parties are present and participating, then I think it can go nicely. Sometimes the most important factor in a relationship is showing up!

        I’ve often said the tragedy of my (romantic) life seems to be never having found that mutual attitude of finding each other worth showing up for. It’s always been one-sided; sometimes her, sometimes me, but never both.

  • reocochran

    I am going to say a belated “Congratulations” on having an excellent day, W.S. you definitely had some smarts to figure out how to get the faucet fixed, which I am so lucky, I just call the landlord! But I do remember your snow storm last winter, your home looking quite pretty and I am glad you have a nice place to live. I am also on my own, but busy with work and family. I would like to share my family, but run into men who either really don’t want to be involved with anyone but me, at least they are honest, and then there are those who still have their own children at home. At least, my grandchildren are located outside my home/apt. building!

    W.S. I am not sure what kind of ‘joiner’ you are, because I hesitate to say this, but there are book clubs, movie clubs, a wide variety of ‘meet-up’s” out there. I am sure you look fine, you seem to be under great inspection of your gravatar, a man above average. Your wedding photo and maybe a younger one, along the way in past posts, have indicated you are attractive and I know you are intelligent. I cannot believe it has been 8 years that I have been single. It has been a true test of my stamina, to be just friends with several guys along the way, but I just hope (for me) that I will find someone who won’t care that I jumped into marriages three times! I mean it is not like I slept with strangers or one night stands! My thought when I moved beside Ohio Wesleyan that it would be a professor, but now I think it will be a man playing cards at the senior center, once I hit 62. That is only 3 years away, plus three months. Smiles, Robin

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Well, that’s what I did: I called my landlord (me) and me said, “Yeah, yeah, okay, I’ll get around to it.” I had to threaten me with “no more pizza and beer for you” before me finally agreed to get right on it.

      Dating definitely becomes a challenge once you cross the 30 mark or so (and just gets more and more complicated as you cross 40 and 50 and so on). There’s so much baggage at that point that you have to be willing to take all that on.

      Not much of a joiner, but meeting women really isn’t a problem. As you suggest, there are all sorts of ways. My problem is that I’ve been to that well quite a few times now, and they’ve all ended fairly badly. The ones I really fall for never seem to feel the same way about me, and the ones that really fall for me either haven’t really been women I wanted to spend a lifetime with or their love seems to have a short life (or they’re married or gay — that’s happened, too).

      At this point I’ve just sort of said, the heck with it, I’m done. I admire your persistence and hope you do find someone suitable. You seem like a very sweet lady, and you deserve happiness! (One thing: I’ve heard those senior centers are hot beds of rampant sexuality. Viva Viagra! XD )

  • ~ Sadie ~

    WS – congrats on the faucet repair!! I am amazed at the things YouTube is used for – last summer, I removed hard drives from three different machines – an old Dell Win 98, a bit newer laptop & an OLD HP that had been in the attic for about 15 years. I was SO proud of myself!! Then I was able to use a cable adapter to access the files on them – was amazed at all the old files I found 🙂

    And keep finding joy in the little things – like the cookies – that is how I survive life, especially right now. To me, it’s really all the little joys in life we take pleasure in that make it worth living – because in reality just how many BIG things come along on a regular basis. Relationships are like gardens & in my experience need constant “tending & nurturing” at least in some form or fashion if nothing else to ensure neglect doesn’t creep in. I don’t care what anyone says either, even good relationships have rough times that are hard to navigate. (From my own personal experience.) YEAH – I read all the comments 🙂 I enjoy those as much as the blogs themselves!

    LOVE when I beat the dragons, myself . . . here’s to beating them more often {toasting that cheer with a good strong margarita}, my friend!!

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Well, hey, maybe you have a career in the exciting and dynamic field of IT! 🙂 You might be amazed at how it starts off simply. A few years ago a woman I’d worked with back in the late 1980s emailed me and suggested lunch. She no longer worked for TC (The Company), but had been hired back (in an IT position) as a consultant. At lunch she told me that she owed her successful IT career to the mentoring I’d given her when she was our office admin.

      It wasn’t that I’d done that much training, but through it she realized she could do these things and liked doing these things, and so she pursued it. It was pretty cool to know about a seed I hadn’t even known I planted sprouting and growing like that. (And I got a free lunch out of it. 😀 )

      Totally agree (obviously) about gardens and cookies. Do you know they haven’t made them since? Twice they’ve had ginger cookies with sugar on them, but never the icing I so crave. Guess they made them just that day just for me!

      [click of glasses] My beer to your margie! Prost!!

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