Handsome ‘and’ handy. That’s the ticket

Profound Canadian philosopher, Red Green, once opined that it’s better for a man to be handy than handsome. The assumption is you cannot be both.

Well, move over George Clooney, for I must be a contender for major handsomeness awards. That’s primarily because I’m not the handiest guy on the planet.

I don’t mean to suggest I’m hopeless. Show me a burnt-out lightbulb and I can extract it an insert a new one like nobody’s business. Wendy doesn’t need to hang off to one side, looking vaguely anxious and wanting to offer unsolicited advice when I am engaged in such a taxing task.

Likewise I am good at extracting the trash containers from the house and putting them out on the street on Tuesday mornings. And, I have been known to replace a washer.

I am, in a spirit of self-effacement (and just so you’ll think I’m amazingly handsome), actually exaggerating my ineptitude a little. There are a few fundamental household repair and installation tasks I’ve turned my hand to over the years. Some with even a reasonable amount of success.

Today I have to face just such a thing. I have to install new bathroom basin faucets.

Faucet installation I have done before, and the tricky thing about any plumbing task is that two basic immutable elements of the universe as we understand it are involved: water and gravity. Well, at least that’s better than any electrician work I might have involved me in. That involves a basic element known as the ability to kill you and then burn the house down. Except in a tsunami or hurricane, water is generally easier to deal with. It’s mainly wet.


So, it’s in, but not without a considerable number of Murphy’s Law interventions – much as I anticipated. If something in theory will go smoothly, it won’t. However, realist that I am, I didn’t anticipate smooth sailing. In that I was right, too.

In the first place, working in a cabinet up underneath the sink is not at all agreeable and is a situation evocative of considerable unfettered cursing. Secondly, it was dark as a mineshaft down there so I had to find a light. The big flashlight didn’t work as it has a tendency to detest being put on its end, so it refuses to operate. But, I found an old desk lamp and was able to put it in place once I’d scrambled for 20 minutes looking for an extension cord. Then I had to undo all the old fittings to get rid of the former ugly faucet and replace it with the lovely new burnished aluminum one. Easy, thought I. I have wondrous socket-wrench set. But, for socket-wrench sets to be most effective you have to have a socket that fits. None of mine did. I don’t know why. So, I had to rely on a crappy old adjustable spanner. I only grazed one knuckle, I am proud to say. So, eventually I got the old stuff off.

And now, to install the new spiffy faucets. They set in place most handsomely. Now to connect them. Of course, aaaaaaaaaaall of the connections were different from the old one, and the screw on pipe thingies that the water supply connects to didn’t go down as far as on the old one.” Why aren’t these goshdarn things standard?” I expressed, but not quite so delicately and I attributed certain sexual prowess to something that is gender neutral in my choice of adjectives.

But, they’re not standard. And that meant I had to head out to my local hardware to get new ones of sufficient length. Fortunately, they were relatively cheap. I got th4em home, and then it was just a matter of reconnecting and that would merely consist of threading the new pipes on. They should thread easily. They didn’t. More profane adjectives were applied, and that made them work. They recognize threats.

And now it’s done and I am feeling extremely handy.

And still not too hard on the eyes, despite my handiness.

9 responses to “Handsome ‘and’ handy. That’s the ticket

  1. Dear god. Plumbing. The horror. Say no more, good fellow. Go put your feet up and sip something congenial.

  2. Ian, why on earth would you attempt such a thing without e-mailing me first? I would have told you about the connector pipes being different. I would have told you to check the length and I would have told you to place a big fat phone book or dictionary with a towel over it just outside of the cabinet to make a nice ramp for your back. I also would have warned you about bits possibly falling into your eye if you do not wear glasses, but hopefully that did not happen to you. I think I have averaged one faucet per year for the last seven years. I KNOW faucets.

  3. Well, Ian, I know you are handsome from the photo you used to have on your blog. Now I know that you can install faucets as well, well I reckon Wendy is a lucky woman

  4. Thinking of coming over to France? I have the living proof that handsome is not handy living with me .

  5. Some scientist surely will work out soon the mystery of plumbing and non-matching parts. Here in my non-handy home I am trying to figure out how a new phone plus handsets go together, and tomorrow have to enter all the phone numbers and learn how it works. And there is no one to help! It will be necessary to resort to the manual.

  6. I’m glad that your extreme handsomeness was not compromised by your interment under the bathroom sink. It must have been touch-and-go there for a minute.

    My favorite plumber of all time was a young man in Minnesota who yearned to be a writer but liked to eat regularly. He used to recite Shakespeare to me while fixing my bathtubs and toilets.

  7. Plumbing is one of the things I get a professional in for. But in general, I’ve discovered I’m quite handy. As a woman, though, I don’t have to worry about handsomeness.

  8. screw on pipe thingies…hilarious.

  9. I guess that means Mr. Jazz is seriously gorgeous. Yep, probably the most gorgeous man on the planet.

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