A tale of the housewife and the plumber

Let’s face it. Housewives have got it together. Our minds are multi-tasking bionic units like nothing man will ever know (thank heaven for that).
We are one of a kind.
It’s just too bad we’re not paid for all that we do, all that we know how to do, and, for that matter, all that we think we know how to do.
But then again, even Fort Knox doesn’t have the kind of big bucks we’d command.
Housewives get a little extra stardust when they’re made—a few more fuel cells for all that running around, a few more arm muscles for lifting dirty laundry from the husband’s side of the bed, a few more “smarts” for figuring out the puzzling dilemma of why there’s no water coming out of the kitchen faucet.
Case in point. Among a million other things, I know the colour of copper and I know what a water pipe is. I also know the shape of a pipe wrench, a water release valve, a pressure tank, and the hole in the floor where said water pipe comes from underneath the house.
I can tell the difference between a water softener and an iron remover. I know how they work—and what happens to the texture and colour of your hair if they don’t.
I also know that on those rare occasions when I have nothing to write about for my column, I just have to wait a couple of days while Pete tends to some household business.
He and I have an agreement. If I need “housework” done, I fill out a work order. “Nothing gets done without a work order,” he intones.
However, washing dishes, vacuuming, dusting, and cleaning the toilet are not allowed on work orders.
It was Saturday and we needed a new hot water tank. The old one in the utility room was a hissing, spitting, worn out piece of toast and had been that way for some time due to non-compliance with work order agreement.
Work order #1 handed in. Everyone directed to head for the bathroom before the water pump switch at fuse box is thrown by Pete, the electrician. Stove being used to bake cookies by Daughter #3 also loses power.
Work order begins. Because I am a bossy supervisor by nature (see dictionary under “housewife”), it was decided that if the hot water tank was going to be replaced, why not clean up some of the unsightly old piping left crawling in a labyrinth all over the place?
Work order was revised and all dysfunctional piping was cut away and removed.
Housewife provides back-up, cleans up heavy water spill from old hot water tank, washes down pressure tank, and locates rebel dust bunnies who claimed refugee status from under fridge and television stand.
Floor is clean and bone dry. Hot water tank rolls in on dolly, with housewife standing guard against freshly-painted hall corners. Pete then makes third trip to local hardware store for parts.
While he is gone, housewife stuccos wall in kitchen, paints a desk, and puts case of beer on ice.
Pete returns with plumbing belt in place of electrician’s garb, propane torch, and soldering supplies.
Heat from torch sets off electric smoke detectors. Housewife called in to quiet things down, which she does by holding heavy fan pointed at the ceiling for five minutes (hence arm muscles for husband’s dirty laundry).
When torches are turned off and all is quiet, housewife steps out for quick mowing of front lawn.
She returns to find hot water tank refilled, pressure tank showing good “psi,” and water pump on, but no water coming out of kitchen sink—and puzzled look on “plumber’s” face.
Housewife takes one look in utility room. “Holy smokes, there’s lots of water going under the hot water tank,” I said.
“No, that’s beer,” replied Pete.
“Plumber” is advised by housewife that he has hooked up hot water tank and pressure tank to well piping, but forgotten to hook up said units to household water system.
“I think you’re right. Thanks, honey,” said Pete.
“That’s what they pay me the big bucks for, and why you are an electrician and not a housewife,” I retorted, tossing him a rag for the floor.

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