Duct Tape, Plumbing, and Amputee Kludge

Give a man a roll of duct tape and he can fix stuff. Teach a man to use a roll of duct tape and he can rule the world.

Men like to fix stuff. I say men, because women tend to hire professionals to fix stuff. Women are no fun.

This was illustrated in my life by two recent events. First, my good friend Jim sent me a link to his favorite site where many manly do-it-yourself repairs are shown in all their glory. We’ll get to that a little later…

Secondly, I had a plumbing problem at my house. A few years ago we had all of the rusting 54-year-old water pipes in our house replaced. All of them except one two foot long inaccessible piece. This week I dug out a section of outdoor planter, exposing the offending pipe that runs under our house. I decided this was the time to tackle it. It involved crawling under the entire length our house and trying to break the rusted mess loose and carefully threading a new section of pipe into it.

So like any true professional I got a cup of coffee and sat on the ground outside the house and stared at the offending pipe where it stuck through the planter.

Any major plumbing job should begin with a) staring b) coffee c) sitting.

My wife approached as I was in this initial staring planning stage and asked what I was doing. I thought it was fairly obvious, but being that she’s a woman and doesn’t really understand complex construction techniques, I explained.

“I’m plumbing.”

“It looks like you’re sitting in the grass drinking a cup of coffee and staring at a rusty pipe,” she replied.

“I guess that shows what you know,” I retorted.

She made the ‘wife sigh’ noise and asked, “I know I’m going to regret this, but why are you ‘plumbing’ in the grass, with a cup of coffee?”

I made the ‘husband sigh’ noise which translates to: “You’re a silly woman who knows nothing about the complex techniques of home repair”

but out loud I said, “Because this rusty section of pipe must be replaced before it bursts and floods the world killing all manner of small forest life and running up our water bill.”

My lovely and patient wife cupped her hands over her eyes and wailed, “PLEASE GOD!! NOT PLUMBING!!  PLEASE DON’T TOUCH THE PLUMBING!”

Being an intuitive and sensitive husband I knew the source of her dismay. In the past I had attempted, and dare I say, accomplished many plumbing jobs around the house. The last one involved replacing our water wasting toilet with an efficient new water saving toilet. This two-hour job stretched into about a week and contaminated the water supply of several nearby counties. But on the plus side I didn’t have to call a plumber and pay their outrageous fees. On the downside we had no water and had to use the bathroom at the corner gas station for a week. Then there were the fines and lawyer fees. But NOT ONE PENNY went to a licensed plumber! I had clearly won my point!

As my lovely and patient wife whimpered and mumbled to herself, I got up from the grass and held her tenderly. I said those words every wife longs to hear.

“Worry not my love,” I whispered, “I’m going to call a plumber this time.”

She melted into my masculine and manly arms and looked deeply into my eyes saying, “Go take a shower you smell like sewer fart!”

A little shudder ran through me as I remembered her pet name for me from the early romantic days of our courtship. She hadn’t called me ‘sewer fart’ for so long. Take a lesson, men, you can rekindle the romance. Just admit when you need to call in professional help. Don’t be like the guys from my buddy Jim’s favorite site. (I told you we’d get to it.)

This an example of a "kludge" from the blog: There, I Fixed It!

This an example of a "kludge" from the blog There, I Fixed It!

My buddy Jim who is the King of Kludge sent me a great link which I’ll share in a moment. Jim could be an entire blog post, but I’ll make this short because I know you’re bored.

Jim has only one leg because he talked a surgeon into cutting his leg off.

(You might want to take a moment and read that sentence again.)

Jim has only one leg because he talked a surgeon into cutting his leg off.

The amputation occurred after 10 years of traveling the country to all the major medical centers seeking relief for intense chronic pain from nerve damage in his knee. All of the ‘experts’ with ‘medical training’ said an amputation wouldn’t work.  But they couldn’t find the cause or a cure or an effective treatment.

Since Jim REALLY likes do-it-yourself projects I was afraid he would just grab a chainsaw and whack his leg off himself. How hard can it be?.  On a couple of occasions he joked that if he got the job started, the doctors wouldn’t have any choice but to finish it. Yes, it was a joke, but sometimes I wondered. The good news is that he was right and the doctors were wrong. It worked.  Leg gone = Pain gone. 

Being a one-legged do-it-yourselfer in a wheelchair does not slow Jim down… much. He runs a successful business that supports his family. He still welds, hammers, saws, and turns wood on a lathe. He makes a huge mess out of many projects. On many days he smells like a sewer fart.  Just like a guy with two functioning legs.

Now on to There, I Fixed It. Enjoy, and thanks for the link, Jim.

 (LAST WORD) I did indeed call a plumber and the rusty horrible pipe was replaced in about an hour at a reasonable cost. Dammit! I’ll never hear the end of that….


29 comments on “Duct Tape, Plumbing, and Amputee Kludge

  1. Cant believe you wimped and called the Plumber. You should have called me, I could have come over with the hammer collection and we could have fixed it in a jiffy. Rhonda cries about most of my projects, one-legged man shouldn’t be on a ladder bla, bla, bla!

    • Jim, Tell Rhonda that a mans gotta do what a mans gotta do and just catch you when you tumble off the ladder. I don’t care who you are, a one legged man falling off a ladder is a hoot!

  2. You forgot the 4-wheel drive….

    We once had part of the main coming into the house rupture, which flooded the garage and into the dining room from the outside…. the problem was the house main connected to the city main was completely under concrete, including our front brick patio.

    The upshot was that even the army of hired plumbers were stumped. Several days after thinking and failing, my engineer hunny, had a stroke of genius to thread down the new through the old; un-attach the old end from the rest of the plumbing, fasten the old end (they could access) to the bumper of one of their 4-wheel drives, and they sure yanked that sucker out, all 20 something feet of it, with the truck. I am pretty sure at some point they used duct tape for something….. we crossed our fingers that it would work, and so far, it’s been 7 years and we haven’t had any more issues .

    True story, that. What a block party that was……………….aaahhhhhh, fond memories…….

  3. If I had been there, we’d have checked with the Internet to learn how and then we’d have done the job ourselves. Don’t believe me? Ask Mike or Greg. The Internet will teach you how to do anything. Had a foot of water in my basement in Va. one night. Humidifier was stopped up. I got on the Internet, and within a couple of hours I had the thing draining properly. Mopped up the water and went to bed. That’s the modern method!

  4. I am not sure this post is the place for me, not with so many tragic tales from our own DIY past. Amazing what you learn to live with though! Off to visit Jim while keeping my distance . . .

    • Patti, All the DIY tragedies just make us stronger and appreciate the things in the house that still work. One thing (of many) I left out of the post about Jim was when he drove his wheelchair off a loading dock, backwards, and crashed to the concrete below. As onlookers rushed to his aid thinking he had to be dead because he was in a thousand pound electric wheelchair, he just said said, “Wow, it didn’t even hurt the chair!” Oh yea, I think this was the wheelchair he welded a boombox and speakers to so his daughter could have music at karate class. (I swear that all this is true)

  5. If Michael reads this, I hope the only part he reads is the end: “I did indeed call a plumber and the rusty horrible pipe was replaced in about an hour at a reasonable cost.” 🙂
    I can say I am continually impressed by how many things he can fix, and by the projects that you take on and fix too!

    • Well Mikey you’re in good company in disasterville… Try some duct tape on that windshield. It’s worked for me and it deters car thieves. They just won’t bother with the car. Thanks so much for the comment.

  6. I made a coffe table out of tree branches, a few screws, some plywood, duct and electrical tape. It actually looked pretty cool, but was not level at all and it wobbled a little. Point is, women can be master duct-tapers too, but even I know better than to mess with plumbing. Congratulations on your success!

  7. Hilarious! My daughter recently tried to duct tape her brother’s mouth shut while my husband and I were out to dinner. We were using a new babysitter. I’m not sure she’ll come back. Does the King of Kludge babysit? 😉

    • Thank you for the comment Lovely YoungAmerican! I don’t think you really want the King Of Kludge to babysit. He recently told me he had been checking with adoption agencies but none of them would take his kids…

So? What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s