Riding the Bike with One Pedal.

All By Myself! (mostly)

Yeah, I had some serious Girl Power going on, because I decided I could install a new bathroom sink faucet, all on my own. I read a very helpful how-to article on Lowes.com and proceeded to make my list of necessary supplies. (Pretty short, actually – faucet, plumber’s putty, and a basin wrench.)  I went out to Lowe’s on my lunch hour, got a little help locating the wrench, and then headed to check out.

Now, I was very confident about the faucet part. The drain? Not as much, because the article said every drain was different, and to consult the instructions that come with the faucet. Okey-dokey. But Lowes isn’t right next door, so I didn’t want to find myself doing the typical “And back to Lowe’s I go again!”. But since my facet was all bound up with plastic straps, I thought I’d find another helpful person.

I found Duane.

Duane and I looked at the instructions, and Duane looked at me, and told me I probably had everything I needed to do this. (Duane was very encouraging, in a go-get-’em-tiger-Grandpa-knows-you-can-do-it sort of way!) It looked like the only tool I wasn’t sure about was a pipe wrench. Duane looked at me solemnly and said, “You’ve probably got a pipe wrench at home.”

I looked at Duane. Skeptically. I said, “Duane? If I have to come back here to get one of those, you know what I’m going to do? I’m gonna find you.”

Duane proceeded to give me his address, curiously located in Honduras. He even came over while I was checking out to tell my cashier not to let me find him if I returned.

So, good time at Lowe’s. But the fun was just beginning! It took a lot of time. James had to find a couple pipe wrenches for me, and I chipped the sink in a couple places when I was trying to loosen the faucet (it had corroded and been there for at least 8 years or more – we’d been told 3 years ago by a plumber that his fix of the leak was just a stopgap & would have to be completely replaced down the road.) The chips are bugging the hell out of me, but in comparison to everything else, I need to just suck it up and deal with them. (After all, to replace the sink – which I am now 100% confident I can do – would quadruple the cost of this project!)

The only thing that really gave me fits was the drain, as I predicted. Good golly. I worked on that pipe for an  hour, at least. Got it down to the last two threads – and then it just spun. I had to wait and have James help by giving me some resistance from above, to finally loosen the trap completely. Washed out the pipes (nassssty), liberally applied plumber’s paste, and turned the water back on. Yep, dripping. But quickly resolved, just a bit more tightening on the replacement pipe, and by this time, I was pretty exhausted, arm-wise. (And a little tired of up-down from the bathroom floor!) The only thing left to fix is the lever on the backside that controls the drain, and that thing was so fiddly, I just said screw it, I’ll fix that tomorrow. (Which is now today, but I’m waiting for the Aleve to fully kick in, so I can go back to bed – nothing like waking up at 3:30 with all your arm muscles shrieking at you!) My only complaint about the instructions that came with the faucet was that apparently, we’ve become so stupid, there are no words used to explain what you’re doing. Just pictures! The only words differentiated between the drain directions – if you had a metal drain or a plastic one. I need words, people. I want to understand what step I’m on, the why, the what’s next, DETAILS. So staring at pictures with no corresponding words was probably the most frustrating part of the whole endeavor.  That said, I was very proud of my accomplishment, and I so wanted to be able to do it completely by myself – I kept hearing “I am woman, hear me roar,” playing in my head while I battled the pipe! But sometimes you just need an extra set of hands, because unless my arms were chimpanzee-sized, there was no way I could wrap my arms up and over and into the sink while also cranking on to the pipe below!

Got plenty more to talk about, so now that I’ve upgraded my WordPress files and done all that fiddly stuff, I’ll be back with the lost dog saga and a new word I’ve coined. Never a dull moment!


  1. Average Jane

    Way to go! It’s just SO satisfying to do a project like that. Perhaps I’ll use you as my inspiration to finally install a new ceiling fan in my bedroom this weekend…

  2. shannon in oregon

    girl after my own heart…no wonder we’re friends! 🙂

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