Tuesday, February 22, 2011

That’s It?

When I look at the downstairs shower knob, it looks like it was made in the Dark Ages, and I sometimes wonder what inspires people to buy this sort of handle, but to each their own, as the saying goes. After doing a little research, however, I found out that the knob is actually on the high end of things. The company is Symmons, and I’d never heard of them. I know of Delta and Moen. Then again, the previous owners believed in buying quality over the cheap stuff, as apparent around this house, and counter to my MO.

When I went to Home Depot, they had the exact knob, so I bought it, only to be surprised by the price. It was not cheap, and my first thought was, find a way to fix the old one without even opening the new one. Then I can get our money back. How’s that for a plan?

I completely expected to sweat blood and tears to put this thing in, with the proverbial fire being fueled by the negative anecdotes passed along to me by Mentor. However, I figured as long as the water was shut off, I would be okay.

I thought I’d located the source valves, but was wrong, and had to turn off the water main. This meant that I couldn’t leave the water off indefinitely as I intended. This also meant that I had less margin for error. I went to the Symmons site (FYI, they’re not made in China, they’re manufactured in MA) and downloaded the owner’s manual. It had troubleshooting information, and they described our very problem. It must come up fairly often.

The solution they offered, however, was not as high-tech as I thought it’d be. I was prepared to have parts and water all over the floor, not to mention JH and his magic bag of tools on the phone holding my hand. It turns out that the high-tech solution that they recommend is to simply remove the knob and tap the spindle with something plastic. I used a screwdriver handle. That's it.

Sure enough, the knob turned much more smoothly, and the water is hot. Praise be to Nero’s Neptune, the Titanic sails at dawn. Anyway, I have to confess, I was both relieved and disappointed. Relieved that it is fixed and it was so easy, but disappointed that I didn’t get to have some crazy story to relay to you, which would have hopefully won me some man-points with my Mentor.

Then I got to thinking that in my previous suburban city-boy life, I never would have even attempted to fix it. I would have hired a plumber who would have charged me $65/hour and if he was a trickster, would have changed the entire knob, setting us back hundreds of dollars.

My, how times have changed. Training to be a real-man has its perks.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Sigurd Decroos for the pic.

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