I’m not a tree hugger by any stretch of the imagination, but I do my bit for the environment, which is why the drip from the broken tap in my bathroom nearly drove me insane.
To my own spite I had left it longer than I wanted to, wasting an untold amount of water, one drop at a time. Actually, in my defense, I thought a small spanner could fix the annoying dripping tap, so I bought a toy-sized monkey wrench not long after it started. It was however, would I later discover, not a loose bolt that was causing the drip.
Last Friday, on a whim, I stopped at the local Giant superstore and purchased a new tap. Easy task, I thought, remembering how easy it was to replace the tap which was leaking when I moved into the house. A simple twist of the tap, some water gushing out of the pipe, and a quick swap with the new tap. 2 minute job, if that.
Little did I know.
So I got home with the shiny new plastic tap, got undressed (nothing like playing Mr. Fix It in the the nude, besides, water gushing, don’t want my clothes getting wet) and stepped into the shower, ready for the swap.
My plans literally crumbled when I slowly turned the leaking tap, only to have the handle break off in my hand. A small fountain instantly sprouted and it rained trouble. I quickly twisted back in the opposite direction, and what was left of the handle managed to stop the fountain. All was not lost yet.
With the entire tap in my hand, what was left of it minus the handle, I gave a firm twist, supposedly to dislodge the tap from the pipe. The tap had other plans, and part of it crumbled in my hand, split in two and fell off the fitting, leaving the bolt with a short length of pipe attached – water spurting. Like the little boy who saved Holland when he stuck his finger in the crack when the dike sprung a leak,I stuck my finger in the pipe to stave the flow of water. This gave me a little time to think.
I had no tools for the job in my modest tool box, and I had nothing with which I could improvise a device for dislodging the bolt, which was clearly jammed. I thought the pipe was big enough for me to screw a water bottle over, so I let go of the pipe, dashed for one of the empty ones that were lying around and dashed back. The bottle’s opening wasn’t big enough.
To make a long story short, I managed to tie the bottle cap over the pipe’s opening with a piece of string. First, I went back to the Giant to find a spanner, but they didn’t have one big enough for the job. I returned, thinking that the tools in the emergency kit in the car would be able to help, so I untied the bottle cap only to discover that the wider opening of the pipe prevented the car’s tools from being useful. So there I stood, finger in the pipe, unable to retie the bottle cap and tiring quickly.
In a tired moment of clarity, I let the water waste away for a few seconds while I ran for an empty wine bottle’s cork, carved it to fit and jammed it in the pipe. After that I went to a proper store, got myself a proper wrench, worked it on the pipe and swapped it out for the new tap.
The adventure was very tiring, but at least I managed to replace the tap. And it’s not dripping and wasting water anymore. Of course, it will take a few day’s of not dripping to pay for the water I wasted while I was running around trying to find a plug.
But in the end, the earth will have won.