I wish you could experience some of my life as maintenance manager here in Chad. It’s so wondrously/terribly different than life in the US. My descriptions don’t do justice, but here’s an example! Its Saturday and I’m actually trying to take Saturdays and Sundays off this time around. If you are self employed you will understand. You get to work half days, (tongue in cheek), any 12 hours of the day you want. It’s sorta like that here, except the hours I chose to work are just something to deviate from. Now back to Saturday. In the middle of breakfast a security guard comes to my door and tells me there is a water leak at the training center kitchen. So, I quickly finish breakfast and go see what I can see. I already know of two small leaks that I’m hoping to get to next week and thinking one of them must have blown out. I arrive at the training center and see a lot of people scattered around the center. It looks like a church retreat is in process and their breakfast is just finishing up. We rent out the training facility to churches when we don’t have our own training programs scheduled. So, I go to where I know a small leak is and it’s still a small leak. I go to the next known leak and it’s still a small leak. Hum? I see the training center custodian and ask if anyone has reported a significant leak in the kitchen area and he says no. My keys of three years ago are not getting me into the kitchen and the custodian says he does not have kitchen keys either. We both peer through the windows and don’t see any leaks. I shrug my shoulders and thank God it’s not a big problem.
I go back home and start on my own home plumbing problem. A small leak under the kitchen sink. I think to myself, all I need to do is tighten the joint on the flex line a bit and it will be fine…I say. Do you know how many interpretations of fine there are? I was naively using the simple, “It’s going to be easy,” kind of fine. So after two trips to the shop to get the right size wrenches I lay down under the sink and apply just a small amount to turning pressure, because it’s just an occasional drip which I’m attempting to stop. All of a sudden there is a water snake snapping its wicked head around as the flexline comes off and gushing water is everywhere. I pull my nearly 60 year old body out from its upside-down under-the-sink position and run outside to the wall shutoff valve which is on the outside of the kitchen wall. Oh well, I guess the under-counter cupboard needed a good washing anyway. The nut I was turning had snapped in half. With the water valve turned off, the line detached from the wall, I start to loosen the line at the faucet and it snaps off. GRRR!
Just then there is a knock at the door. It’s the training center custodian. He has found the leak. I leave my under-the-sink job and follow him to see it. Wow, am I embarrassed! It’s quite the flood coming from the back of the building! The one area I didn’t investigate. So I’m thinking to myself, “Where is the shutoff valve for this area?” Over the next ten minutes I turn off four different valves before finding the one that works. After a little bit more probing I figure the leak is actually coming out from under a slab of concrete. This job will have to wait till Monday!
Back to my own plumbing job.