Thursday, December 11, 2014

Know a Good Plumber?

A month or so ago, a plumber showed up to check out a few of our old-house water issues. He looked at an outdoor frost-free hydrant that had been leaking more and more over the past year. When the leak became a constant stream, I'd hooked up a hose and run the water away so it wouldn't puddle at the spigot.

"Can't adjust that no more," said he. "Good Iowa company, but they farmed this out to China for a few years and it's a piece of junk. We'll have to replace the whole thing. I'll get you high-quality equipment this time around."

He also looked at water collecting each day in one of our basement rooms. Karen's been changing towels every day to absorb the couple gallons of water that seep up from somewhere. "You're sittin' on water here. The river's all around you. The good news is you won't be running out any time soon. May be a spring opened up right here. You need a sump pump."

A couple weeks later, he showed up pulling a ditch witch on a trailer. First task was to dig up the old spigot and replace it with a new one. Karen's cellphone quacked. A neighbor friend had texted, "Don't hire that guy."

The plumber talked and talked. I listened until his phone rang, then went inside. Karen got to enjoy his conversation for another half hour or more. He just stood there, griping about how young people don't show up, family stuff, and almost endless drivel. His phone rang again. He talked a bit, then said, "Gotta go. Good conservative Republican customer, gives me lots of work. I'll be back in a few days."

Our good conservative texter later filled Karen in on why we shouldn't hire the guy. Karen called the "plumber" and told him not to return.

Today, a different plumber arrived. He turned a few things on the hydrant and stopped the dripping. He looked at the basement and said, "Looks like you probably have a leak in the water line to the pump. Where's the water line come in?" Karen showed him and he said, "Most likely, that copper line is leaking somewhere. Wonder why they used copper." Karen said, "We replaced most of the water lines when we rehabbed, but not the outdoor line." He turned off the water and went out to the well pump to watch the gauge on the pressure tank.

Virginia said, "I don't know what the answer will be, but I have a feeling you found a bad plumber and a good plumber."

And a China-basher. The good guy said, "Iowa's the best hydrant made. I put new ones in just like this."