If you haven’t been reading along, read Part 1 and Part 2!
I spent that morning panicking. I cleaned. I organized. I reorganized. (These are things I do when I’m panicked.) And eventually, by 11am when we hadn’t heard from the plumber, I drove to the gym and pretended like everything was completely fine.
About 20 minutes later I texted Bear.
“PLEASE find out if the plumber is still, in fact, coming today because we still had no water and I don’t want to call Batty but I also don’t want 6 gallons of water trailing down our bathtub every hour until we decide we can afford to move…”
“He just called and said he’d be there around 1:00pm.”
“Okay. <deep breath> Okay. Great. Fine. I’ll be there.”
I could have showered at the gym. That would have been sensible. But I was too panicked to think of that. So I came home, sweaty and disgusting, and sat at the dining room table waiting for the plumber to arrive at 1:00pm, which turned out to be 2:15pm but who’s counting EVERY. SINGLE. SECOND.
The plumber was a very nice guy about my age, and his partner looked like he was 7 feet tall but only about 12 years old. They first decided it would be best to play with my dogs and tell me stories about their dogs and their houses and theirs lives. I attempted to be REALLY interested without noticeably scooting them towards the bathroom, but eventually my nerves gave in and I just awkwardly shouted, “HEY THE BATHROOM’S OVER HERE!”
“Ok, so this is a new cartridge in here,” he said to himself as he took the shower handle apart. I answered anyway.
“I tried to put that new one in but it wouldn’t go in all the way and now we can’t get it out. Did I get the wrong one?”
“No, this is right one. But you’re right, you can’t get it out. You need a special tool for these kinds of cartridges.”
“THERE’S A SPECIAL TOOL?!?!”
“Yep. That’s why you can’t get it out. And when you took the first one out…actually. Wait. How’d you get the first one out?”
“Oh, um. Yeah. I don’t…I wasn’t…here. I wasn’t here. At the time. That the old cartridge was taken out.” (See, because I don’t want anyone to know that Bear DRILLED the first cartridge out of the pipe.)
“Well, anyway, when you took that one out you probably left a few pieces of rubber back there and that’s why we’re having such a hard time here.”
The Plumber Guy walked out to his truck and the tallest child in the world and I had a lovely conversation about water and hats. When Plumber Guy walked back in with the tool, he got the cartridge out in approximately 20 seconds.
THREE HOURS we’d been trying to get this cartridge out of the pipe by FORCE and he used his handy dandy plumber’s tool and slid it out like it was covered in BUTTER. I tried not to act surprised.
He proceeded to dig out 5 or 6 bits and pieces of rubber that Bear and I had apparently left in there because we’re not plumbers. He then put in a new cartridge, reattached the shower handle, and viola. No leak. No nothing. Problem solved. In about 25 minutes. For around $80. (That is the exact amount of money I spent on plumbing supplies at our local hardware store, which I then returned because the woman at the returns desk didn’t care about her job at ALL and didn’t bother to look and see that I’d tried using all of it.)
The end of the story looks something like me turning the water in the shower on and off over and over again, because I could, and joyfully leaping through the house, announcing to the plumbers they were both on my prayer list now and forevermore. This made them uncomfortable and I DIDN’T CARE!!!!
We had no crazy encounters with our landlord. We haven’t bought a house, or even finished the home loan process yet. And also, a few days ago, THE DRAIN IN THE BATHTUB SLOWED TO A NEAR STOP. So do any of you know how to unclog a bathtub drain when you don’t want to call in a favor to your friend the plumber twice in the same week just so you don’t have to call your (in my personal dealings and experience) batshit crazy landlord?