Niagara Falls

plumbing

For some reason my friend Bernie and I hadn’t connected on the phone for quite some time. Finally he phoned, soon revealing he had recently suffered what he called “A little plumbing disaster” in his upstairs bathroom. Since plumbing is how I made my living, I was puzzled why my friend hadn’t called me. ”Jer, I know I should have, but I know how hard you work and I didn’t want to bother you,” he replied with a trace of regret in his voice. “Eileen was driving me crazy because the upstairs toilet was running 24-7 and she couldn’t sleep.”

Something always went on at Bernie’s house, so I knew this story was going to be good. I sat down so I could better relish the details.

“Jer, someone had given me a do-it-yourself book,” he continued, “and I figured it would be a perfect opportunity to test it out.  I had all the tools laid out–a ten inch wrench, a Phillips screwdriver, a pair of channel locks– that’s all I needed.”

”The first thing the book said was to turn the Phillips screw on the ballcock counter clock wise, and remove the top doojigger. At first it wouldn’t budge, but after giving it a spritz of WD-40, it finally moved. I thought I was home free. When I got to the last thread, the water shot up like a geyser, knocked me out of the way and hit the ceiling with tremendous force. I stood there for a few seconds in shock.

Trying to suppress a giggle, I said,

“Don’t tell me you didn’t shut off the supply valve under the toilet.”

“Okay,” he replied, “I won’t tell you that and you know why? Because I have no shutoff under the toilet; I only have a main valve all the way in front of my crawlspace.”

”Bern, I can’t wait to hear what you did next.”

“I almost killed myself running to the crawlspace,” he said. “The water was gushing down the stairs like Niagara Falls, but I made it to the crawl space in record time.  It would have helped if I had a kayak. Only one problem; every bit of junk I own was in there from the very first day we moved in. In order to reach the main shut-off I had to remove every old chair, knick knack, table, lamp, card table–you name it. It took twenty minutes to get to the main valve and shut it off. My heart was thumping so fast, I thought I was going to have a heart attack.”

“Bernie,” I said, shaking my head. ”There is never a dull moment in your household.”

”Wait, I’m not done,” he exclaimed.

”I walk up the soggy stairs ready to do myself bodily harm. I’m also thinking about what Eileen was going to do to me after she found out what it’s going to cost to replace the carpet. I walk into the washroom, sit down to contemplate my next move, and I see that rotten book lying there that had gotten me into this mess. As I reach over to pick it up, the page turned, and in large black letters it said:

Step 1. PLEASE SHUT OFF MAIN WATER BEFORE YOU PROCEED TO STEP 2.

”Bern,” I said, ”…everyone knows you don’t read instructions. They should have put Step 1 on the cover.”

It was very quiet on his end. He was either contemplating my words of wisdom, or looking for that samurai sword that was still in the soggy crawl space.

(image courtesy of vectorolie/ freedigitalphotos.net)

Jerry Goldberg About Jerry Goldberg

Jerry Goldberg grew up on the west side of Chicago. After high school, he was drafted in the Army during the Korean conflict. Upon his honorable discharge, he joined Local 130 in Chicago as a plumber, working from 1952 to 2000. Jerry has been happily married for 60 years, residing with his wife, Gloria, in Huntley, Illinois. They were blessed with two wonderful children, and have three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
When his son encouraged him to get online, Jerry replied, “What do I need that for?” But all that changed a year into his retirement, when his daughter gave him a modem for his birthday, opening a whole new chapter. Finding stained glass insufficiently fulfilling, Jerry discovered the AARP message boards and began his one-finger magic. Eventually, he became quite proficient (two fingers), starting a board called, “Jerry’s Corner.”

This board was the second most popular board on AOL. Jerry bantered with any and all, and began writing humorous true stories of his past life. The stories you see here are a compilation of most he has written … enjoy!

Jerry Goldberg About Jerry Goldberg

Jerry Goldberg grew up on the west side of Chicago. After high school, he was drafted in the Army during the Korean conflict. Upon his honorable discharge, he joined Local 130 in Chicago as a plumber, working from 1952 to 2000. Jerry has been happily married for 60 years, residing with his wife, Gloria, in Huntley, Illinois. They were blessed with two wonderful children, and have three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
When his son encouraged him to get online, Jerry replied, “What do I need that for?” But all that changed a year into his retirement, when his daughter gave him a modem for his birthday, opening a whole new chapter. Finding stained glass insufficiently fulfilling, Jerry discovered the AARP message boards and began his one-finger magic. Eventually, he became quite proficient (two fingers), starting a board called, “Jerry’s Corner.”

This board was the second most popular board on AOL. Jerry bantered with any and all, and began writing humorous true stories of his past life. The stories you see here are a compilation of most he has written … enjoy!

Smiles For All