Today’s find: Plumbing

You’d think that—after 36 years of wedded bliss—Gerri would know this about me: Plumbing and I simply DO NOT MIX.

To be perfectly honest, this is true for just about every sort of handyman skill or do-it-yourself task. God has blessed me in many ways…but I’ve more or less come to peace with the realization that slinging hammers and turning wrenches are NOT among my gifts.

While this principle is true of DIY jobs in general…it’s particularly true of anything connected to pipes, plumbing or water. I blogged about the affliction not too long ago.

What I didn’t admit in that post, though, is something my dear wife knows all too well: On more than one occasion, I’ve turned purportedly ‘simple’ repairs…into emergency calls that fattened our plumber’s wallet by many hundreds of dollars.

Suffice it to say that Grainger has my number engraved on their ‘Do Not Call’ list: I’m definitely NOT among ‘the ones who get it done.’

You can almost hear the leaky toilet taunting me...

You can almost hear the leaky toilet taunting me…

So, what do you think Gerri’s parting words were to me…as she left for work this morning?

‘You’re going to fix that toilet, aren’t you?’

That would be the toilet in our powder room, the one with faulty fill-valve ball-cock.

For the past several weeks, my approach to ‘fixing’ it has been relatively simple: Five minutes after a flush, I amble back in…lift the lid on the tank…and tweak the ball-cock so that the water stops running.

Apparently, Gerri had something a bit more permanent in mind. Like replacing the fill-valve unit. And she was looking right at me when she said it.

I sputtered a bit…and before I could recite the entire litany of my epic fails in the plumbing department, she was gone. So I was more or less stuck with the assignment. Let me tell you, a more reluctant ‘Mr. Fix-It,’ you have never seen. But on some level, at least, I drew a measure of courage from my wife’s confidence in me…as I headed off to Menard’s to secure the replacement part.

Time for this ballcock to GO...

Time for this ballcock to GO…









Preparing to do battle...replacement parts and YouTube video at my side...

Preparing to do battle…replacement parts and YouTube video at my side…

Here we are, a couple of hours later – and (I am amazed to report) the job is done. No leaks, no drips, no errors. Not yet anyway.

Deliverance: The job is done. By me, no less.

Deliverance: The job is done. By me, no less.

As I reflected on the experience, I was reminded of the post-Easter gospel story I’d heard at Mass yesterday. The apostles were aware that something had changed with Jesus’ rising from the dead. But they weren’t quite ready to step into that new reality…or to break out of their old habits of thinking. The evangelist tells us,

Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus,
Nathanael from Cana in Galilee,
Zebedee’s sons, and two others of his disciples.
Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”
They said to him, “We also will come with you.”
So they went out and got into the boat,
but that night they caught nothing.

Jesus chides them, ever so gently, for reverting to their pre-Easter selves: ‘Children, have you caught anything to eat?’ he says. And then, he shows them a new way to behave… one that produces a catch beyond their wildest imaginations.

It’s a good lesson to ponder, as we approach the 8th day of this holy feast: Are we ready to let go of the bad habits or shortcomings we seem to drag alongside, year after year?

Like a loving wife, the risen Jesus is there this Easter, plumbing our hearts…and encouraging us to be more.


Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.



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3 thoughts on “Today’s find: Plumbing

  1. Herman Schroeder

    Sooo proud of you, Big Brother!!

  2. Mary Jost

    Way to go John. It’s always good to listen to your wife.

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