“Did you find it?” said Dad, meaning the valve.
“Yep,” said Bucky, nodding. “The valve shuts it offf, so it must be the faucet’s bad.”
“It needs a washer,” said Dad. Bucky used the screw driver Dad had already gotten out to take the handle off the faucet. He just shook his head.
“Maybe,” said Bucky as he stared at the insides of the faucet handle. “But this is all plastic, and I don’t have any idea how to take it apart.” Mom was now calling in from the other room, wanting to know what was going on, why everyone was congregated in the kitchen? Bucky went to tell her the faucet was broken.
“Well, get a plumber,” said Mom. By now, everyone was back in the living room, ready and willing to discuss the matter.
“I don’t know any plumbers,” said Dad. That didn’t surprise anyone.
“Just look one up in the Yellow Pages,” said Loie. She was fully prepared to be The Lady From Philadelphia.* After a bit of discussion, including Loie’s miming choosing a plumber by poking at the Yellow Pages with her eyes closed, which amused Dad very much, a decision was made and the plumber called. Someone could be there in an hour. So began the exciting part of a Day.
Of course nothing is ever easy, and complications ensued once the plumber arrived. The shelves in the cabinet under the sink had to be removed. How to manoeuvre them out, around the pipes and valves, ended up being Bucky’s task, as the plumber was reluctant to take responsibility for possibly damaging them. The plumber found that the trap in the sink pipe was leaking. Indeed the cabinet’s plywood floor was all warped and shreddy from being wet for no one knew how long. Bucky agreed the trap was leaking, but thought the plumber’s price for replacing it seemed high. The plumber agreed to do that work for ? his first quote. Then the fittings on the old pipes needed to be replaced. In all, the job took three hours to complete.
“Is he finished yet?” said Mom. The plumber had been working for about a half an hour.
“When is he going to be done?” said Mom ten minutes later. “He doesn’t know what he’s doing.”
Mom and Dad hovered next to the kitchen door for the whole afternoon, remarking more than several times an hour how long the job was taking; how slow the plumber was; how incompetent he must be; how he should charge by the job, not the hour, which he was: the job had been quoted from the beginning. Loie and Bucky, well fed after lunch and unaccustomed to the heat in Mom and Dad’s house, were feeling quite drowsy. They nodded sleepily to each other whenever Mom or Dad remarked on the plumber. Every now and then, the plumber could be heard muttering to himself. Conversation was desultory at best. For a while, Bucky tried to read a library book he found on Dad’s night shelf.
After he had been working about two hours, the plumber called Dad in to show him something, and Bucky followed. But not quickly enough to prevent Dad from stumbling over the bottles and things that had been taken from under the sink, to make way for the work, and falling to the cluttered floor. The racket was immense, compared to the previous quiet. Dad was more startled than anything, and quickly assured everyone he was all right. Later, Loie told Bucky she couldn’t help thinking of Uncle Billy in , calling “I’m a-l-l right” from off screen as he stumbles into the trash cans.
After the tenth or twentieth time Dad remarked on the plumber, Loie kidded him.
“What do you care how long this takes? If you were doing it, it would take three days, not three hours.”
“And it would still leak,” said Dad. Everyone laughed. And eventually the plumber announced the job was done. Great relief ensued; the bill was checked and discussed and paid and the plumber left, undoubtedly vowing never to return to home. Bucky managed to twist and turn the awkward shelves back in place. Dad began to pack all the cleaning supplies and whatnot back under the sink.
“It doesn’t fit,” he said. “What am I going to do? This tub of things doesn’t fit any more.”
“You’ll just have to take everything out and start all over again,” said Loie.
“Not ,” said Dad. “I know, I’ll put it down in the cellar.”
“That’s a solution,” Bucky said to Loie, speaking low so only she could hear. “Put it away somewhere you can’t find it.” Loie just shrugged. Then it was time to go. The Lovebunnies packed up all their gear, remembering very specially to take the bag of grapevine trimmings. Dad walked them out to their car.
“I’m sorry you had to stay so long, waiting for that plumber,” he said.
“That’s fine,” said Bucky as he and Loie got in the car. “We’re just happy we could help.”
“Never a dull moment,” said Loie. And they were off, waving to Dad as they drove away.
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