Plumbing Blues

Marvin Gaye – I Heard It Through The Grapevine

Today’s Quote: “Old age is the most unexpected of all the things that happen to a man.” — Leon Trotsky

I hate plumbing. In theory, most of it is pretty simple. The how-to books and home improvement shows make it appear simple. But the reality is that all of this simple stuff is hidden inside small cabinets, behind sinks, with pipes and garbage disposals further blocking access. Why can’t the faucet manufacturers extend the tubing six or eight inches so that all the connections are below the bottom of the sink? Would it add that much to the cost? Or is it a plot against the homeowner to force him to either buy a specialized tool or hire a plumber to do what should be an incredibly simple task?

I currently have two plumbing issues I need to resolve. The first is a leaky bathroom faucet, which used to be a simple matter of replacing a small conical washer. In my plumbing how-to book I see pictures of several different kinds of faucets and mine doesn’t seem to match any of them. I guess I’ll have to replace the whole bloody thing since that would be less expensive than calling a plumber to fix the leak.

The other is a noisy kitchen faucet. The last time it made that noise, all I needed to do was tighten the connection for the sprayer, which is conveniently located in the ass crack of the faucet connections (behind the sink and near the top of the whole mess). The connection, as near as I can tell, seems to be tight. It’s nearly impossible to get any tools into that area. Essentially, I need to remove the entire sink to get at it. I’m sure every professional plumber has a nice slim specialized tool just for that.

Research on the kitchen faucet indicates that the noise is probably caused by some poorly manufactured valve inside the faucet. Once again, it looks as though total replacement is the only viable option. Of course, there’s the extreme difficulty of actually reaching and applying tools to the connections so I can disconnect and reconnect them. You can count on hearing many colorful metaphors and violations of the first commandment.

I can’t really afford to purchase one faucet right now, let alone two. As a work around for the bathroom, we turn off the water with the shut off valve below the sink when we’re not using it. We’ll just deal with the noise in the kitchen. If you jockey the handle around a bit, you can find a sweet spot where the noise goes away.

Facts I haven’t verified:

  1. More than two-thirds of the Earth’s land surface is north of the equator.
  2. Albert Einstein’s younger brother was a schizophrenic.
  3. The average pool cue is 57 inches long.
  4. Many sailors used to wear gold earrings so they could be afforded a proper burial when they died. (Is that assuming they die on land? A burial at sea would have been very inexpensive.)
  5. Sliced bread was patented by Mrs. R. Pride on April 1, 1954. (So what was the greatest thing before then?)
  6. Coffee is the second largest international commerce item in the world. The first is oil.
  7. More than 10,000 birds die each year from crashing into windows. (How many deaths are caused by Windows crashing?)
  8. Whoopi Goldberg’s real name is Caryn Elaine Johnson. (I didn’t think she was Jewish.)
  9. The first VCR was made in 1956. It was the size of a piano. (A beta version of the Betamax?)
  10. Slugs have four noses. (Try to imagine a slug with hay fever.)
  11. It is illegal to be a prostitute in Sienna, Italy, if your name is Mary.
  12. Approximately 50 Bibles are sold every minute across the world. (That’s a lot of thumping.)
  13. In 1895, there were only two cars in the state of Ohio, yet somehow, they managed to collide. (They must have been in Dayton!)
  14. Woodrow Wilson’s picture appeared on the $100,000 bill.
  15. Tickets for Frank Sinatra’s first solo performance in New York City in 1942 sold for 35 cents each.
  16. Tourists are not allowed to photograph the Pygmies in Zambia.
  17. The Animal Crackers box has a string handle because they were first introduced as a Christmas gift meant to be hung from the tree.
  18. The largest species of seahorse is 8 inches.
  19. There are only 12 letters in the Hawaiian alphabet. (I think most of them are K’s.)
  20. Given enough time to adjust, the human eye can almost see as well at night as an owl. (How much time would that be?)


I Heard It Through The Grapevine by Marvin Gaye, I Heard It Through The Grapevine, (1968)
This song was recorded by several artists —

  • Smokey Robinson and the Miracles (1968)
  • The Isley Brothers (still unreleased)
  • Marvin Gaye (1968)
  • Gladys Knight and The Pips (who had the first release in 1967)
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival (11 minute live version in 1970)
  • The California Raisins (1987)

Author: Rick

I'm a simple man, trying to make my way in the universe.