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I am the plumber ...
Old 04-08-2017, 06:18 AM   #1
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I am the plumber ...

I am the plumber in our lives or at least I used to be. It started with a part time job selling plumbing supplies at a long defunct company called Rickles. Don't get me wrong - I wouldn't install a water heater but if you need to replace your toilet or the guts in same or your faucet- I'm your man and I enjoyed doing it. Well, at least I used to be. allow me to explain.

My dad was a very handy guy and I can't ever remember a tradesman coming to our home. He did everything. I'm sure the fact that stretching a buck when you had a blue collar job wage was paramount. Over the years I've noticed if you came from a family of doers you were likely to be a doer yourself. If you came from a family of callers as in call the plumber... well you get it. I think YouTube is changing all that. Picking up the phone can be expensive and spending money is contrary to my nature. No let me rephrase that spending money on something I can do myself is wasteful and therefore sinful. 'Yes you read right sinful - and ridiculous as it may seem it bothers me afterwards.

We are in the process of selling our investment townhouse; There are of course buyers and their oh-so-picky home inspector. Well he discovered that one of the showers was leaking through the single handle. I thought upon hearing it -Those darn tenants never say anything. Well of course it was a job for mighty he man Ray -right? After all wasn't it I that installed a split ring toilet flange in that very condo? Well I gathered up my tools; I must tell you I have an impressive collection of he man tools. I dragged the Mrs over there and I started to disassemble the beast. 5 minutes into the surgery I realized I never operated on a this type of equipment. Maybe I should have watched some you tube videos. Well in my 62.5 year old diminished testosterone state I did the unthinkable I said "we need to call a plumber". The Mrs put the final nail in the coffin of my embarrassment when she said "I didn't think you could do it". I tell you I felt that blade go in.

Plumbers in my neck of the woods are a bit independent. It took some doing but I was finally able to schedule a visit for a few days later. He came at the appointed time and was a nice guy. He was in the process of buying an investment property and peppered me with questions that I was happy to answer. I watched him repair the shower and learned there was a little retaining clip that he struggled to remove (you tube probably would have revealed this had I bother to do my research). When I saw that simple retaining clip of course I thought to myself - Ray you could have done that. Then something wonderful happened he extracted a device from his bag that was sort of a mini wheel puller. He used it to extract the offending stem. Ah Hah I immediately thought the problem wasn't that I lost my he man skills I simply lacked the right tool! How could the Mrs expect me to perform this miracle with the right equipment?

Bottom line an astounding $390 for ten minutes work. At least I can still hold my head up high. I think.
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Old 04-08-2017, 06:30 AM   #2
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good for YOU! ... and, I'm " the plumber" too, so I understand.
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Old 04-08-2017, 08:07 AM   #3
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Turn in your man card....

How can you NOT know you need a stem puller!!! They are cheap... go get one... and remember that clip next time...




Just remember to turn off the water before doing this.... do not ask me how I know...
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Old 04-08-2017, 08:11 AM   #4
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As an aside... about calling...

One of my BILs was a very good car mechanic... yet he would take his car in to get service... one day I asked him why he did not do the work on his car... he said 'I worked hard to get to a point where I DID NOT have to do mechanic work'....

And he is from as blue collar a family as you can get... but, he was an EE...


Now, fast forward a few years and I go over to his house.... he is working on his daughters car.... I asked him about that... he said 'I am not going to pay to get her car fixed nor am I going to let her drive around with an unsafe car'..... very interesting comment IMO...
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Old 04-08-2017, 10:07 AM   #5
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Turn in your man card....

How can you NOT know you need a stem puller!!! They are cheap... go get one... and remember that clip next time...

Just remember to turn off the water before doing this.... do not ask me how I know...

That last sentence had me laughing...
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You can do anything, but not everything
Old 04-08-2017, 11:17 AM   #6
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You can do anything, but not everything

Marrying and having lots of children early on turned out to be expensive. So from the start, my wife and I became DIYs because we could afford our own labor a lot better than hiring someone else. We learned - sometimes painfully - to do plumbing, electrical, carpentry, drywall, painting, insulating, concrete, tile, upholstery, plus a variety of car repairs.

Even today, we are DIYing a stone landscaping project so heavy that feels like it may bury us.

That said, it can still be the wisest choice to hire out some tasks, even ones you could do yourself. Deadlines and conflicting schedules and injuries happen, so don't feel guilty if once in a while you have to boost some tradesman's economy by writing a check.
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Old 04-08-2017, 11:28 AM   #7
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Right now I'm feeling almost guilty because I'm paying someone to mow my lawn. Lawn mower is in the shop and we've had a ton of rain. I could get used to this.

My rule for DIY is that I'll attempt some things that don't pose a big accident risk (e.g. working on very high ladders) and that won't be extraordinarily expensive to fix up if I bungle them. I still shy away from anything involving the car that's more complicated than adding fluids, and any work on the toilet that requires draining it. I've done floor tiling but in the case of bathrooms, paid someone else to pull out the toilets and put them back when I was done.

Rickles... I used to go to the one in Wayne, NJ- I'd forgotten about that place!
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Old 04-08-2017, 12:15 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by athena53 View Post
Right now I'm feeling almost guilty because I'm paying someone to mow my lawn. Lawn mower is in the shop and we've had a ton of rain. I could get used to this.
Speaking of lawn care, I was mowing my yard yesterday when a landscaping crew parked right across the street. They got a good laugh out of my old fashion reel mower. They can knock out a postage stamp lawn like mine in 15 minutes. Trimming, blowing and all. Just for grins I asked what he charged for yards in my neighborhood(patio homes) and he said $30. Not bad really but I need the exercise so will continue mowing my own.......for now.

As far as plumbers go.......unreal the rates they fetch. I have known a couple of independent one's who charged reasonable rates. But when an emergency occurs, better get ready to pay up.
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Old 04-08-2017, 01:24 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by athena53 View Post
Right now I'm feeling almost guilty because I'm paying someone to mow my lawn. Lawn mower is in the shop and we've had a ton of rain. I could get used to this.

My rule for DIY is that I'll attempt some things that don't pose a big accident risk (e.g. working on very high ladders) and that won't be extraordinarily expensive to fix up if I bungle them. I still shy away from anything involving the car that's more complicated than adding fluids, and any work on the toilet that requires draining it. I've done floor tiling but in the case of bathrooms, paid someone else to pull out the toilets and put them back when I was done.

Rickles... I used to go to the one in Wayne, NJ- I'd forgotten about that place!

I have been paying someone to mow my lawn for 17 years now... I started because I was transferred for a short term which turned into 4 years... the company paid for it for the first 1 1/2 years, then it was me...

I liked it so much I just kept paying... it is worth it to me to pay someone $30 to mow, edge and clean up every 2 weeks...
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Old 04-08-2017, 01:34 PM   #10
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I got you guys beaten, I only have cacti or zeriscape in my front yard, no mowing is necessary.
As for the plumber, well not related to plumbing but to DIY, my husband didn't think he could fix my kid's computer but I had full faith in him, sure enough he did it. Yesterday he made mistakes in reassemble a part in the washer, but it was past his dinner time, so I quickly served him some food. Sure enough he reassembled it correctly after dinner, unlike the first time, restored my faith in him and food, especially food.
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Old 04-08-2017, 01:35 PM   #11
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Years ago a friend convinced me I was throwing away money and being stupid for not working on my own car. I'd go to work and work on the engineering systems for a nuclear submarine but didn't change my own oil or brakes?? So, I got the idea and started doing just about all my own work on the car, on the house (had some construction background from working with my family who ran a home repair and remodeling business), etc.

Now, I don't do as much stuff, as I tend to evaluate it on a couple levels. Not just "can I do it", but "is it worth spending my time to do it instead of just paying someone to do it?" as well as "is not having to do it worth paying someone else to do it?"

I like having a garden, and I like having nice landscaping, but if I can spend a couple hundred bucks for someone else to do all the back-breaking work of digging, pulling up mulch, moving 4 yards of mulch around, tilling the ground, etc and save myself days of work plus days of being sore from the work, then I'll spend the couple hundred bucks instead.

I can go catch a sale at the auto store and do my own oil change for $20 including the filter, or I can get some grocery shopping in while I pay someone $19.99 + tax to do it for me? I'll go ahead and pay for it instead...
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Old 04-11-2017, 09:46 AM   #12
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I come from a family of "callers", but thanks to youtube, I've taken on some tasks at home that I wouldn't ever have thought myself capable of tackling.
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