The sink disaster, or, what happens to me literally every time I do a project

The other night I went downstairs before bed to make sure the door was locked, and I thought “hey, might as well just pop in the bathroom real quick!” only to find a giant puddle coming from under the pedestal sink. Honestly, it was completely lucky to have discovered this, even if I wasn’t really in the mood to deal with a big, leaking water disaster at bedtime.

Sure enough, I looked up behind the sink and the rubber seal where the hot water goes into the faucet was completely cracked and falling off, not to mention all of the bolts and connects were completely corroded. The faucet was old anyway, and leaking in another place already, so I thought I’d simply replace the whole thing.

When the fateful day arrived I could tell the bolts were going to be trouble. The one was so corroded it was practically flaking off in my hand, but I could see the other one was rusty as well.

But things were going to be different this time! I had a basin wrench!

(Spoiler alert: things were not different this time, even despite the basin wrench) (but the basin wrench still was amazing!)

I spent literally hours on my back torquing away at those things and I couldn’t get them to so much as wiggle. I tried soaking some paper towels in vinegar and rubber-banding them on for a while, which did a good job getting off the calcium, but didn’t help them budge. I tried WD-40. I tried every possible repositioning of my body and hands. Nothing.

My view for literally hours (roomier than it appears)

It was supremely frustrating because it wasn’t some tricky puzzle that I had to solve, or some hacky work around I was trying to figure out because I didn’t have the right tool (my usual dilemma); my hands simply weren’t strong enough. Of course it was hard on my hands, and lately I can’t always tell if something is impossible, or just impossible for me. But regardless, I couldn’t do it.

Finally my step dad gave me the idea to use a wrench as an extension for a little extra leverage and, voila! I was able to hulk those things off (cracking the bolts in half in the process!) I wish I had started with that, but better late than never.

The Magic Tool
The Vanquished Foe

All I had left to do was to crank off the pipe underneath and that was giving me a lot of trouble too, but at least with that I wasn’t lying on my back trying to do everything in a cramped little space over my head.

I couldn’t get it, so I enlisted Sara’s help. “Be careful because the sink is connected to the wall,” I said. “I don’t want to pull this way, because I don’t want to break the brackets.”

“Couldn’t you just take it off the wall?” she innocently asked. Well, I hadn’t thought about that, so I took a look and…yeah, it just lifted right up. It wasn’t even attached, just resting in the brackets.

During literally any of the hours I spent cramped on my back trying to reach up and twist those bolts, I could have just flipped the thing over and accessed them directly.

“This is why you have a wife,” said Sara.

So, with my newfound access we were easily able to get the last pipe off, and putting it all back together with a new faucet was a breeze. At this point I was feeling VERY triumphant and VERY heroic (and VERY tired and VERY sick of that bathroom), when Sara called from the other room, “Uh, Shane? The oven isn’t working….”

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