Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Kitchen Sink

I live in an older, ok, circa late 1960's apartment, one designed by a Georgia architect and totally out of character for the Pacific Northwest. Like who has flat roofs in the northwest where it rains 36 inches a year, most in the four months of November through February, and can drop 1-3 feet of snow in a day or two during severe winter storms. But flat it is.

Flat in terms of having leaked twice during my residence, both from the weight of a later winter (March) snowstorm dropping about a foot of very wet snow, melted being about 8 inches of water. That wet. Anyway, much of the apartment dates from the time I moved in when it was carpeted and painted in 1987, along with the refrigerator and dishwasher. And some of it dates from the late 1960's, like the stove, which still works very well thank you and the bathrooms.

But that said, this last week the shower had to be repaired. Water was leaking through the grout between the tiles and down the wall into the bathroom of the apartment below. It was the second time this happened. The first time we discovered the tub/shower had settled inward to the bathroom so water from the shower was draining down the wall, along the bath and over the edge, through the floor into the bathroom below. A simple elbow fixed that problem.

This time the leak was serious and when they removed the tile they discovered a one-foot by two-foot hole of missing wallboard. A proverbial hole in the wall where water of draining. Ok, ten days later I get a new shower. I expected they would replace the whole tub/shower combination but they kept the tub and merely replaced the tile with the new style shower walls you cut, glue and seal in place.

Not fancy or pretty, but it works. Then over the weekend, the kitchen sink faucet began leaking. Just a little at first, but this faucet isn't commonly found and washers are readily available so the maintenance chief said they'd replace the whole thing if it got bad. Well, while washing dishes water began pouring out the cabinet onto the floor. It wasn't the faucet. The drain pipe had rusted through and there was a hole the size of a quarter in the bottom of the catch drain (pipe).

So I put a bucket underneath, shut off the water to the faucet and called maintenance. Yup, they said, needs new pipe and a new faucet. We'll be out as soon as we can. Like several days later, I finally get a new faucet and pipe, and my kitchen sink back, which is the point of this post. Ever live without a kitchen sink?

You don't realize how much you use the kitchen sink until you can' t use one. Granted it was only over the weekend and into the following week, five days, but still it showed me how much we take some things for granted without realizing we do. And washing dishes in the bathroom sink isn't exactly easy. I have a dishwasher but I don't use it except as storage for most used dishes. I run it monthly to keep it working and clean but I hand wash all my dishes.

And yes, I'm bitching about a small thing, knowing millions, if not a billion and more, have far less than me, and a kitchen sink would be a god-send. But that's not life in the US or in most developed nations, and it's what I always known and expect, until I didn't have it and learned the reality of my, and our, addiction to what we call simple necessities but are really gifts of the state of our development.

So the lesson, for me at least, is learned. Appreciate what you have, even the smallest thing you don't realize.

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