Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Old homes, plumbing, and being a girl.

It's neat living in an old home. My friends in Scotland will be laughing at my definition of old, seeing as my home was built in 1925 and the Edinburgh "New" Town was built in the 1700s. Somehow, those homes are all still standing in all their glory, yet I need new plumbing.

I spent the last ten minutes furiously jotting down notes for the plumber as dictated by FWT because FWT is at work and cannot show the plumber the "supply lines" and "drain lines" (which I like to refer to as the "poop pipe"). I almost cried when I couldn't figure out where the rafters were because we'd been referring to them as "joists" all week. I had "joists" perfected, but changing names like that confused me to no end.

There are two things in my life that, when put together, make for very awkward conversations with plumbers and electricians. First is having been brought up in a perfectly lovely household where my parents read about a thousand books a week but don't own a monkey wrench. I'm not saying that's a bad thing. Really, it means I now get library books about plumbing rather than unscrewing pipes to see what the problem is. But it doesn't make be very confident about knowing how to fix anything.

The second problem is being a girl. Now I know very well that there are plenty of women out there would could plumb circles around FWT, so it's not about women not knowing about plumbing. I just really can't stand being looked at as a stereotypical, silly girl, who knows nothing about home repair, especially when I am living up to that stereotype every second I try to explain the problem to the plumber. I feel like I'm single-handedly proving a chauvinist's point.

Our very kind and trustworthy plumber is on his way here, and I am prepared to recite the diligent notes I've taken from FWT. I'm very very nervous. FWT was prepared to make all these repairs himself, but I talked him into hiring a plumber to avoid potential conflict (one friend of ours whose husband re-ran plumbing, brushed her teeth in the kitchen sink for nine months). I'm now regretting that decision.


  1. Do. Not. Regret. Calling a professional. At least not yet. But I know the feeling well that you had this morning in describing the to a handy man and the needed drywall and ceiling repairs. What I basically said to him in no less than 1,000 words when asked what's wrong: "I don't know but it's ugly, and I want it pretty again." It was one of my least articulate moments that coincided with a moment where I felt incredibly inept.

  2. Thanks, Beth. I really have been thinking about you this whole time. D came home yesterday, saw the holes in the ceiling and the pipes and said, "I really could have done this myself." But he's being nice about it ... and accepting the professionals.

  3. IMHO, it could be a relationship saver. The other night K. said, "I know you don't want to hear this, but I think we should tear out the carpet, re do the floors and build another wall in here." To which I said, "I do want to hear it, I just don't want us to DO it." bless hits heart.