• Jenny Dupre

Playing plumber

I do not like to be told that I cannot or should not do something that I think I can or should do. "Don't tell me what to do" has become the joke around our house but as with many jokes... it's just there to cover with humor what is probably a fairly frustrating aspect of my personality. Marcel tends to be a little bit more conservative when it comes to undertaking projects. It's like he wants to know he can do it before he jumps in with both feet. It's bizarre. I, on the other hand, believe that I can do anything through sheer will and determination. It is this difference in outlooks that spurs me to undertake large projects for which I am woefully unqualified while he is away.

Marcel had two shows this past weekend, which left me with lots of time to ruminate on projects that I want to accomplish. Literally one minute after he left on Sunday, I googled "how to replace my kitchen faucet." I had not previously planned to try to replace the faucet. It's like something clicks in my brain when I realize that I have been left to my own devices.

Marcel: "Bye! Have a good night!"

Me: "You too. Drive safe."

My brain: "You should do some project that you don't know how to do!"

Thank goodness for the internet! A quick trip to YouTube showed me the way.

Gross old leaky faucet.

In order to make the transfer as simple as possible, I chose a style that had the same number of parts as my sink had holes which meant a standard faucet with a hot and a cold handle as well as a separate sprayer. The first step was to unhook the old faucet. I turned off the water on the hot and cold lines under the sink and unhooked them. Then I had to loosen the plastic fasteners that secured the faucet to the sink. This is the only time I thought I may have gotten myself in over my head. I could not get the damn fastener to budge and to make matters worse, two of the little turner knobs had been broken off, leading me to believe the genius who installed the sink over-tightened it. After trying about 300 different tools and points of access (including prying it loose/breaking the plastic piece with a screwdriver) I realized if I put on gloves, I could get a better grip and my delicate little fingies would be protected. SUCCESS! I was able to get the damn thing off and we were back in business.

I think it is important to note at this time, since I didn't have anyone taking pictures for me because I decided to do this in secret while no one else was home to stop me, that I had to get my entire upper body (which is not small) into the space under the sink. I am 100% certain that I have bruises on my ribs from jamming myself into that space and I cannot imagine how big men can be plumbers.

Leroy was a less than helpful assistant.

Once the old faucet was removed I "did my best" to clean all the years of nasty from the sink. Unfortunately the leaky sprayer left hard water marks that I couldn't get off so I will have to pick up some CLR and try again, but I did a passable job and also I was way too far down the road of this project to turn back.


At this point, I noticed a missed call and voicemail from my husband, who was wondering why he got an email from Home Depot saying the card had been used for plumbing supplies. He was thinking someone had stolen our credit card because why would I be buying plumbing supplies. I don't think he was particularly surprised upon learning that I had indeed purchased the plumbing supplies, and he suggested that he could give me the number of his dad, who is a plumber, in case I had any problems. HARD PASS. I was fully capable. DON'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO. With a resigned sigh he reminded me that no plumbing job was complete without busting a knuckle on a metal pipe. Heard and noted.

When the sink was as clean as I could get it (without actually trying that hard) I put the new fixture in place and hand tightened the fasteners. Then it was time to add the new water lines. The video I watched had suggested replacing the lines because they can get corroded. I purchased two 20" lines, which were the same as the lines I had removed. For some reason physics was against me and I could not get the hot water line to fit back into place. I tried reattaching the old line and it was still too short! While this made absolutely no sense, and I probably could have bullied the hard lines into place, I didn't want to break anything that I couldn't fix so I opted to go back to Home Depot to buy a longer line. Once that was reattached, it was time for the moment on truth. I turned the water back on and everything worked perfectly! No leaks, hot and cold water... the whole shebang.

Hello, beautiful!

The whole project took about 1.5 hours but I think now that I know how to do it I could accomplish a faucet change in much less time. So now I have changing faucets and hard wired lights on my DIY resume! Behold the beauty of my new THREE setting faucet - proof that it actually works.

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