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There I was, lying on my back underneath the kitchen sink. Of course, it wasn’t the best setup as my back was pressed against those lovely rails where the slide-in garbage can would typically sit. I had my drop light wedged in the corner of the cabinet as I was wrestling with an old, rusted kitchen sink faucet. Chunks of rust from the faucet connection fell into my eyes, hair and mouth, and I muttered a few choice words. My phone rang, and I attempted to slither my way out from the tight spot. By the time I made it out and reached for my phone, I missed the call.
It was my wife. She sent me a text message: “Remind me that I need to talk to you tonight about something.”
“Hmmm. Talk to me?” I thought to myself. My brain quickly went into panic mode. “What did I do? What happened?”
I shot a quick text message back asking if everything was okay, and sure enough everything was fine.
“Just want to start planning Mason’s first birthday party,” she replied.
For all of you who have or had kids, we all know that a child’s first birthday is a huge deal. It’s very similar to planning a wedding with invites, food, cake, drinks and entertainment. I put my phone back into my pocket, crawled back into the tight cabinet and continued the battle from below. After much blood, sweat and tears, the old faucet was removed, and I was ready to install the new fixture.
I slid the faucet through the top of the hole on the sink and went beneath to carefully catch the nut on the threads. I bet you can guess what happened next. Yep! The faucet kept falling into the sink due to the lopsided weight from the gooseneck spout. After several attempts at trying to secure the faucet, I was left with no other choice but to build a contraption out of my tools and surrounding kitchen utensils to prop the faucet in the upright position. My creativity got me out of the jam. I created a “masterpiece” out of tools and a dish soap bottle. Jobs like these are why I enjoy being in the trades. No job is cookie-cutter, which constantly keeps our brains working and searching for creative solutions.
When I arrived home that evening, my wife greeted me with a hug and a kiss.
“How was your day?” she asked.
Then she shared her wonderful ideas for Mason’s first birthday party.
“So, I’m thinking we should have a Beatles, “Yellow Submarine” themed party, since that’s Mason’s favorite song. We can decorate the entire house with Beatles’ records and submarine décor and even get a yellow submarine cake!” she said. “There will be a lot of kids here, so hopefully we can find some fun activities for them outside. Maybe a blow-up castle? Face painting? Whatever it is, it has to be themed.”
“Okay, sounds like a plan. If I think of anything or find anything online I’ll let you know,” I replied.
A few weeks had passed since our birthday party discussions. My coworker, John, and I were dismantling an old boiler in a customer’s basement.
“Sean, do me a favor and snip that band iron,” John said.
I then cut a strap that was supporting a gigantic expansion tank, which detached it from the rafters above. He handed me the tank, and I tossed it to the curb. During our lunch break I looked closer at the expansion tank.
“That’s it! I know the perfect activity for the kids,” I thought to myself.
After lunch I grabbed the old, rusted tank and tossed it into the back of my van. I couldn’t wait to get home and share my idea with my wife.
I arrived home early that evening and greeted the family. “I found the perfect activity for the kids on Mason’s birthday,” I told my wife.
She looked at me with excitement, waiting and wondering what it could be.
“What is it?” she asked.
“Wait right here and I’ll bring it in from the truck,” I said.
I brought the rusted expansion tank into the house.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you the Yellow Submarine Sprinkler!” I said with a huge smile on my face.
“Um, seriously Sean? That thing is gross and has spiderwebs all over it. Please take that outside right away,” she said.
“Okay, okay you’re right, but wait until I fix this bad-boy up! It’s going to be the talk of the party,” I said.
The following day, I went to the local hardware store and bought all of my material. I quickly got to work on the submarine, and in a few days my masterpiece was complete. The expansion tank sprinkler was displayed at the birthday party. The kids loved running through the water, and it became the talk of the party. It was a wonderful feeling that I turned a plumbing part into a fun work of art for the kids.
Creativity plays a major role in our trade. We are constantly faced with circumstances while out in the field, that forces us to use our creative side. I know I’m not the only one out there that has used my plumbing skills to create a masterpiece while at home. I would love to see your creations. Either that be at work or at home. Please send them to me.