Last week’s column

Orange County Reg­is­ter — North County News; Date: April 19, 2018; Sec­tion: News; Page Num­ber: A4

Old age isn’t just for life forms

My house, much like myself, is grow­ing older. This is not a happy fact, even if every­one I meet tells me, con­sid­er­ing the alter­na­tive, it’s not that bad. Most of these peo­ple hap­pen to be younger than me.

Wait until they spend their nights vis­it­ing the bath­room once an hour, and are so sleep-deprived the next morn­ing, they put quinoa in the cof­fee maker. Not that I’ve ever done that.

Like me, our house has plumb­ing issues. We haven’t had any­thing major, but I do live in fear of that “slab leak” every­one seems to expe­ri­ence. My good friend has had two in a row and is now liv­ing in her kitchen while the entire house is re-plumbed.

At that point, I’d raze the whole thing and rebuild.

Our house has dif­fer­ent plumb­ing quirks for each room. I keep telling myself they are just quirks, and we are fine as long as they don’t band together and attack us as some kind of water leak gang.

In the kitchen, we have a phan­tom leak. When we got the new refrig­er­a­tor, I cleaned the spray cans and bot­tles from under the sink, think­ing they might have to fid­dle with water and pipes. Every­thing I removed was moist on the bot­tom. I wiped the cab­i­net floor, and bought plas­tic bins to orga­nize the area, and hope­fully, keep everything’s bot­tom dry.

Each day since, I open the cab­i­net under the sink, and feel around the floor and the bins. It’s all bone dry.

I had told Dale about the pos­si­ble leak under the kitchen sink, so now he checks, too. He is con­vinced I am crazy. I think he already had his suspicions.

Our mas­ter bath­room has a prob­lem with the min­eral buildup on our faucets. It had got­ten to the point of only hav­ing one use­able sink in a two-sink bath­room. I bought new faucets and asked Dale if I should call the plumber. He said no, he’d fix them.

He worked all day to take one faucet apart, then said, “Call the plumber.”

I admit, I am the pro­cras­ti­na­tor in this tale. I didn’t want to call the plumber until I had cleared out the cab­i­nets under both sinks. I didn’t want to clear out the cab­i­nets because, well, who wants to do that job? A year later, I still hadn’t done it.

After the last horse show, I came home and found boxes of junk in the bath­room, and new sinks installed. It took another week or so before Dale had stopped all the leaks cre­ated when he put on new shut­off valves, but it was worth it. We now have two work­ing sinks.

We also have boxes of stuff to clean out.

The guest bath­room has its own flaw—the toi­let. When flushed, the refill­ing water sounds as if it’s being shaken loose from a small con­tainer, or a mas­sive tree root, or the mon­ster that’s sup­posed to be in the closet, but there’s no room for him and he had to move in, under the slab. Maybe it’s being shaken loose from the slab.

Each time it flushes, I remind myself where the shut­off valve is for the whole house, then I wait. One of these days, something’s going to blow.

In the mean­time, it will be me and the plumb­ing, up every night, mak­ing quinoa cof­fee every morn­ing. We’ll grow old together.

Long­time Pla­cen­tia res­i­dent Gayle Car­line tracks those moments that shape her days as a wife, mom, com­puter whiz and horse­woman. E-mail her at [email protected].

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