The Love Language of Plumbing

The Love Language of Plumbing

When I was younger, a lot younger, I dropped something down the bathroom sink. It might have been an earring or a hair pin, whatever it was, I can't remember now. What I do remember is getting my dad and telling him what I had done. I was prepared for an annoyed lecture about being careless but instead my dad told me that I was going to need to get the thing, whatever I had dropped, myself.

I looked at him like he had lost his mind, how was I supposed to get this thing out of the drain? If I had been able to do it myself, I certainly wouldn't have risked his ire by telling him what I had done. He explained that I needed to be able to do minor stuff around the house and that when I was grown up and he wasn't around to help me, what was I going to do? Pay a plumber $400 for something so simple, when I could just get off my duff and do it?

So, I went and got a bucket and my dad went and got a set of channel locks. We reconvened around the scene of my crime and he set about teaching me how to take apart the bathroom sink. He showed me how to open the channel locks to the right size, and how to carefully unscrew the nut. He made sure that I knew to always have something to catch the water from the P trap. He explained that the trap kept gas out but also helped keep things in. As long as you didn't run the water, whatever you had dropped should stay there and you could get it back out.

The other day, I dropped one of my earrings down the drain. I remembered my dad's lesson and went off to get my channel locks. Of course, they were too small and I had to borrow a larger set from my friend. Nothing is ever totally simple. But I was eventually able to remove the trap, get my earring back and put everything back together.

This was just one of the many life lessons that my dad taught me. Like how to change my oil, change a tire, how to install a ceiling fan, change the wax ring under the toilet, and how to rod a sewer (that one is a bit excessive but my dad was thorough). At the time, most of the time, when he was teaching me these things I was annoyed. Why was he forcing me to change my own oil when I could have it done for 50 bucks?

Because why would I pay someone to do something that I could do perfectly well myself?

Sitting on the floor in my bathroom, I realized that my dad's love language was teaching me to be self-sufficient. His expression of fatherly love was making sure that if I got a flat tire and I was alone, I would be able to change it out for the spare and get back on my way in the time it would take someone to find a AAA card in their glovebox. Maybe he wasn't an effusive hugger and kisser but he gave me skills to be sure that I would always be able to take care of myself.

He was right. Now that he's not here anymore, and I'm a grown up and on my own, I needed to be able to handle  something as simple as an earring dropped down the drain. And for a couple minutes, I felt like he was here with me. I'd like to think that he would have been proud of me for taking care of myself. But, in reality, he probably would have just grumbled at me for not having the right size channel locks.

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