Our kitchen faucet has been leaking for about two months now. Well, not exactly leaking. As long as you placed the handle in precisely the right position (just off center, and slightly up), it wouldn’t drip. I’ve spent these past two months policing the faucet, sneaking around behind people and repositioning the handle to prevent drips.

Last week, though, the darn thing finally hit the point of no return.

Saturday afternoon I started the process of replacing it. Before I go any further, it’s important for you to know that the plumbing beneath my sink is ridiculously crowded. The handles on the water valves have long since snapped off, and giant mysterious pvc pipes crowd so close together that I can barely touch the nut that secures the faucet on, let alone get a wrench on it.

Nevertheless, I dove in. While I wrenched and fought and did my best not to swear, I could hear my wife and the kids having a great time. They played games. They worked on a puzzle. They even watched a little television.

Occasionally, they even asked how I was doing.

Toward bedtime, however, I heard a minor explosion. My oldest (the nine-year old) had apparently lost a little red ball in his hallway, and his mean old mother (his words, not mine) steadfastly refused to help him find it.

“No,” she said patiently. “You can do this. We’re going to read some bedtime stories, and when you’re ready, you come join us.”

“But mo-om!” he wailed. “That’s not fair!”

I did my best to ignore everything, but the conflict dragged on (as such things do), and I was not in the best of moods. Just as I thought I was tuning things out successfully, the wrench slipped out of my hand, bounced off my forehead, and landed with a small splash on the soaking wet towel I was lying on.

Rubbing my forehead, I unfolded myself from beneath the sink and stalked over to my son. No, I wasn’t planning on yelling at him. I just needed to get away from the sink for a while. 

I found him standing in the middle of the small hallway that led to his bedroom. “Dad,” he yelled. “I can’t do it! I can’t find it anywhere.”

I looked around. Save for a single small bookcase, the hallway was completely empty. “Have you looked?”

“Yes!” He gestured to the rug. “See? It’s not here!”

“Have you thought,” I said staring at the bookcase, “that maybe it might be, oh, I don’t know, underneath something?”

“Da-ad!” He stomped his foot. “Yes! I looked! It’s not there!”

The sink had not left me in the best of moods, and I really don’t like being yelled out. I pointed at him. “First,” I barked. “Stop yelling at me. Second,” I jabbed my finger at the ground. “Get down on the ground and look again.”

He gave a frustrated groan and looked under one side of the bookcase. “See?” He yelled at me from the rug. “It’s not there!”

“What about the other side?”

“It’s not there!” he moved around to look under the other side. “It’s not – oh, never mind. Here it is.”

“There it is,” I said. “Next time, less yelling and more looking.”

“Mom,” he called, running off. “I found it!”

I spent two more hours on the sink, then called it a night. I finally fixed it the next afternoon.

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