DIY challenges are often undertaken in our house.
When something needs building, fixing or replacing, discussions incorporating the words ‘how hard can it be’ and ‘it isn’t rocket science’ take place between myself, my husband Jeff and the most handy of all our children, Lev, who reckons he can fix anything. As long as electrics aren’t involved, we’re all up for it!
Tonight’s challenge involved the replacement of two taps, one in the sink in the downstairs loo, the other in the kitchen. The downstairs loo sink tap was simple and straightforward to replace what with it being only small. It was done with very little effort, and by that I mean with almost no shouting and screaming.
The second tap which needed replacing was not so straightforward. The original large kitchen tap with a pull out head had developed a mind of its own. It could turn on you at any moment leaving you soaking from head to toe. Washing up had become a water sport only to be undertaken having donned a wetsuit. Although this made for exciting after dinner entertainment, the time had come to do something about it.
And so, buoyed by the success of the downstairs loo sink tap replacement experiment, we set to in the kitchen.
It soon became apparent, however, that this was not so straightforward. Almost as soon as work began, cries of ‘have you turned the water off?!?!’ could be heard (probably in the next street) as water started gushing out from the wall under the sink. Things went downhill very quickly from there as the removal of the old tap became nigh on impossible. We were forced to resort to using a small saw to remove it, which may have accounted for the small flood which soon appeared on our kitchen floor. Cries of ‘don’t come in here’ and ‘keep the dogs out’ could be heard, again, probably in the next street! Things got even worse, as unbeknownst to us, the saw did not fully dislodge the old tap and when we attempted to remove it (the tap) from the sink itself, yes, you guessed it folks, the sink came with it! As luck would have it, my daughter who’d been happily oblivious to what had been occurring in the room below her as she lay on her bed listening to music, appeared. She blithely asked why the sink was precariously perched on the worktop in our flooded kitchen! She soon bid a hasty retreat, having realised how seriously wrong our latest DIY experiment was going. Clever girl.
The monumentally difficult task of getting the sink back into place then followed. It just didn’t seem to want to go in to the now gaping hole which adorned the worktop. Eventually we managed to force it back into place and we all braced ourselves for the main event, the fitting of the tap.
All of the component parts had been laid out for ease of instillation and we each familiarised ourselves with the steps needed to carry out this ‘straightforward task’ which as our run of bad luck would have it, turned out to be anything but. It soon became apparent that a degree in mechanical engineering was needed to make heads or tails of it! To add insult to injury, the instillation itself had to be carried out whilst lying on our backs under a dark wet sink with water spraying in our faces.
Lev being the most able in this department had the first go. Jeff and I watched as he lay on his back and inserted his top half into the dark and now flooded cupboard under the sink. He gave us both a running commentary as he set to and for a while things seemed to be going smoothly. That is, until he asked me to pass him a nut to finish off the whole procedure. I picked it up and then, I dropped it. A frantic search ensured for the missing nut, but alas, it could not be found. Lev then emerged from under the sink, reassuring us that he would use the old nut as a replacement. Said nut was retrieved from the bin and once again, he disappeared under the sink.
Except things didn’t go so well this time.
It was decided that this was due to the fact that Lev was tired (we’d been going at it for almost 2 hours) and Jeff would now take over. Having laid on his back on the flooded floor, he then attempted to insert his top half into the cupboard under the sink…no mean feat for a man of his size! At this point all of Lev’s good work started to unravel, as one by one all of the component parts became dislodged, falling onto Jeff’s sodden head. We had no alternative but to start all over again. This time, I thought I’d have to have a go as both Lev and Jeff were soaked to the skin and not a little pissed off! Before I took my turn, a concerted effort to find the original nut was made at my behest…appliances were removed and it was eventually found under the dishwasher. I gingerly slid into position under the sink from where I heard the others shouting instructions as to what goes where. By some miracle, I managed to fix the tap into place and we all stood round nervously as the water was turned back on. It worked! No longer was water spurting out from the wall! It now ran freely through our newly installed tap! At that moment all of the angst of the last 3 hours melted away as we prided ourselves and each other on how amazing we were! Nothing was beyond us! Our euphoria wasn’t even dampened as we cleared up the flood and the utter devastation which had, by now, befallen our kitchen…!