The Joys of Home Ownership (or How I Discovered I’m Not Joe Handyman), Pt. 3

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Photo credit: Eniko Polgar || License: CCO

Photo credit: Eniko Polgar || License: CCO

[This is part 3 of a 3-part series. You can read Part 1 HERE, and Part 2 HERE.]

When I was a young homeowner, I fancied myself to be Joe Handyman. However, it didn’t take much to convince me otherwise. Only a two-foot-deep, heated swimming pool under the floorboards of my house.

Actually, it wasn’t the leaking water pipe that convinced me I wasn’t Joe Handyman. And it wasn’t even having to belly crawl about 30 feet through frigid mud around a labyrinth of old water pipes to get to the leak. It was something that happened afterward.

By the time I got to the source of the leak underneath the hot water tank, I spotted the problem immediately. There was a tiny spray of water coming from an even tinier hole in the copper tubing leading from the hot water heater. When we bought the house, one of the conditions was that the sellers run hot and cold water lines to the new laundry room they’d added at the other end of the house. In the process of installing the hot water line, someone had evidently nicked the tubing. Over time, the leak had developed and grown large enough to fill the entire space under our house.

I figured out what I would need to fix the leak. No problem.

And then it hit me.

I didn’t have any tools or supplies. So now I had to turn around (again) and crawl another 30 feet through mud to get back to the scuttle hole.

Then I would have to flip onto my back in the cold mud (again).

Skootch backward on my bottom in the wet, cold, mud (again).

And climb back up through the scuttle hole.

Then I’d have to go to the hardware store (we didn’t have Lowe’s or Home Depot back then), buy what I needed, come back to the house, change back into my wet clothes…

…and belly crawl through the mud, 30 feet around old dead pipes, fix the leak, and crawl back out again.

Somewhere during that process I said, “Never again.”

Joe Handyman Returns

Joe Handyman Returns

I managed to fix the leak, but to this day I can’t remember the details. I believe it’s a case of hysterical amnesia.

By the time I came up through that scuttle hole for the last time, Joe Handyman had retired.

Until last week.

As the late, great Yogi Berra said, “It was deja vu all over again,” when I noticed a trickle of water running down our driveway last week.

The first day I saw it, I thought it was runoff from a recent rainstorm.

The second day, I knew it wasn’t.

We had a leak, this time coming from our water well. Determined to keep Joe Handyman in retirement, I asked Laurel to call our plumber.

He told me it would be a lot cheaper if I found the leak first, and then called him out.

Which meant digging.

In the mud.


Joe Handyman came out of retirement–briefly. But now my work is done.

The plumber will be here first thing tomorrow morning.

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