One of the more difficult problems I have nowadays is giving up a lot of the household maintenance jobs I used to do myself. Given my new physical limitations there are a lot of jobs I can’t do any more or I can no longer manipulate the tools it takes to get them done. Good example: I have some balance issues so Rosemarie won’t let me use the nifty 12-foot ladder I bought for the tall ceilings in our new home. I didn’t bother to ask about the circular saw.
Meanwhile, we’ve had a few plumbing issues that I would have normally fixed myself had I not become a little disabled. So, I hired a plumber. My few plumbing projects turned out to be estimated over a thousand dollars. Well then, it was time to prioritize so I had the plumber do only one job and that was replacing two leaky water valves feeding the faucet on the kitchen sink. The bill for that was $285 and I still had an electrician coming in another hour to do some rewiring.
All this was a rude awakening as I pondered the cost of getting everything on my to-do list done. Part of the kitchen sink issues was the faucet itself. It’s one of those high arched faucets with a single lever at the base. The latter is busted. The entire unit needed replacing. “Ca-Ching” goes my mind. If the two valves the plumber replaced were $285 and a new faucet of this type runs $200 or more, how much more will the plumber charge to remove the old one and install the new one? Hmmm. I decided to punt for the evening and deal with my little dilemma in the morning.
To know what’s involved with the faucet challenge you need a little background info. Both Rosemarie and I have had spinal surgery. That, along with old creaky bones seasoned with arthritis, have limited our ability to crawl inside the cabinet under the sink, then maneuver into a position that allows full view of the hoses going into the bottom of the faucet and…and…and then being able to manipulate the wrench and other tools necessary to do the job, PLUS inform 911 that one or both of us are down and can’t out of the cabinet let alone get up from the floor.
Nonetheless, we made the decision that we would attempt to do the faucet job ourselves. I’ll tell you right away that we accomplished the mission. Was it easy? Welllllll, it took half a linen closet of towels, not to soak up water but to cushion my body and prop up my head while I squeezed myself under the sink. Rosemarie, being the RN that she is, slapped tools in my hands as needed, positioned and held the above-surface parts of the faucet and asked me a thousand times if I was okay.
So out of our adventure under the sink, blossomed an idea that any of us are free to pursue. I am sure you are familiar with the “For Dummies” concept that has sold millions of instructional books and video presentations. Well, as I had to pre-plan how I would attack my faucet challenge, including exactly how I was going to get in and out of the cabinet, work my arms and head around the various pipes, hoses and garbage disposal, and then have a way to get myself standing again once the job was done—all these elements had to be taken into consideration for my age and physical limitations. Wouldn’t the same be true for all kinds of tasks for people in my stage of life? Hence, why not take the gazillion “For Dummies” projects and rework them “For Oldies?” There’s a huge senior market just waiting to re-open their household job jars if they just had a little help with the details…and someone to slap the tools in their hands.