Let’s Talk Income: Chapter One

Reader Contribution by Phil Nichols
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Out here in the hinterland, when the temps drop below 20ºF or so, we leave a steady cold water drip at the kitchen sink (it puts some extra wear and tear on the well pump, and the electric bill goes up, but moving water in pipes tends not to freeze, and once you’ve suffered frozen pipes, you never want to do it again). The first week in March was unseasonably cold here, and we still had a steady stream running.

A year or two back we had wood laminate installed in the living room and kitchen. I noticed that some of the seams were rising up in front of the sink cabinets (moisture and laminate are definitely not compatible) and decided to do a recon under the sink; thus started two very ugly weeks.

I had noticed that when you turned the kitchen sink spout just right, water occasionally spurted out at its base but filed it away as low priority. What wasn’t apparent was that while the water was dripping, a steady leak had developed on the backside and was seeping through and soaking the area underneath the sink — not to mention running out from under the cabinet to ruin part of our flooring.

Assuming that the O-ring/s at the base of the spout had gone bad, I pulled it, but the problem turned out to be a cracked plastic fitting that no one carries. So… a new faucet set was procured for the paltry sum of $58.24. Did I mention that on most days I hate plumbing — especially replacing sink faucets.

The hot water side had a good flexible hose connector running from valve to the underside of the faucet, but the cold water side had an old spliced-together plastic one. I went ahead and sprung for a new flexible hose for $9.20.

I’ll skip the standing on my head under the sink — explicative deleted — fight to the death part.

Job is complete, time to move on to the next thing. NOT!

In the course of taking off and putting back on the good hose, it developed a leak that would not quit. Back to the lumber yard to shell out another $9.20. Finally the new faucets are installed and no leaks. Don’t want to think about repairing the floor.

It was my plan to load up my trailer the weekend following the faucet debacle and drive into Springfield to pick up lumber for the new enclosed run for the old chicken house. Of course when I went out to check hoses Friday evening I discovered that a tire had gone flat during the winter months and it sat that way so long that dry rot set in. I got out a new hydraulic jack that I’d purchased some months ago but hadn’t used yet. Sigh. The blame thing had leaked out its oil and was useless. There was no hope of finding the receipt and getting warranty after all this time, so off to town we went in search of another jack. $64.99 later, I was back home separating wheel from trailer. It was getting late, and I didn’t think that I could get to the tire shop before they closed but drove into town anyway and left it with a note.

Bright and early Saturday morning I went in to retrieve the tire, only to discover that the shop didn’t have a new replacement. A scramble around town produced a usable tire for $75.09, plus another $7.00 to have it mounted. Remounted the wheel, hitched up the trailer and drove down to Lowe’s in Springfield for the load of lumber. $89 later and I had the treated lumber that I needed (but the budget didn’t allow for the untreated lumber that day.)

By the time we got back and a bit of work was completed on the enclosure, it was getting late in the afternoon, so I headed for the house. I decided to stop and check on my old Ford tractor on the way and see if she was ready to start plowing the garden. Groan. One of the rear tires had also gone flat; I hauled my compressor from the old shop to the tractor shed only to discover that the tube was shot.

We’ll pick this up in Chapter Two.

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