Monday, November 16, 2009

Valve Stem, Part 1

Just down the street is an old plumbing supply store, one of those mom and pop places that survives despite Home Depot. On the phone the guy seemed confident that he would have a replacement for my leaky valve stem. Here it is, after its facelift, next to my elephant lamp.

When I showed up in person with the stem, the plumber guy knew immediately that he didn't have it in stock. In fact, no one will have it in stock--the stem is so old that no one makes it anymore. "And," he said with some regret, "this one is just worn out."

He estimated that the piece was 60 or 70 years old, so it is probably original to our 1924 house. I'm sure I had the most pitiful looking face you can imagine, just waiting for him to tell me that I would need all new plumbing for my shower. Of course, I'm planning to remodel the entire bathroom anyway, but he didn't know that.

"Wait just a second," he said and then disappeared into the back. I waited, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes. Literally. I could hear him doing something back there. Then he emerged with the piece, all disassembled and polished to its former brass glory, and he had a cylindrical piece of felt. With all the care and delicacy of a museum worker assembling some broken pieces of Etruscan statuary, he began to do a restore job on the valve stem, first applying some silicone to the stem.

More to come...

1 comment:

  1. I am absolutely sure that that "plumbing part" is the business end of hookah from the Casbah Club.