There's an old saw that the definition of insanity is to continue to repeat an action while expecting different results. By those lights, then, I must be insane, because I broke out the tools and went to work on the house today.
I was hooking up a water line to the new fridge so we can use the spiffy icemaker and in-door water dispenser. How hard could it be, right? Tap into a pipe here, connect the other end to the fridge there, stick a feather in it and call it macaroni. All together now: Yeah, right!
First off I decided to get fancy and tap into the kitchen sink water line so it'd be a shorter travel to the fridge. To do this I had to go under the house and crawl past an easily accessible water line about five feet from my entry point, heading instead for pipes much further in. I crawled and crawled, snaking my over and under perfectly good pipes until I was under the kitchen. I yelled up to Beth to stomp on the floor in front of the kitchen sink, just to make sure I was there. I wasn't there, I was under the water heater. More crawling, more snaking to get to the right spot, then a bout of squirming to turn onto my back so I could work. And of course the way the pipes are set up made it impossible to tap into them there.
Back toward the entrance. More crawling and snaking, and I noticed that all the phone lines are hanging down into the dirt, which probably goes a long way toward explaining all my line noise. Mental note to maybe try to fix that further down the road. There was a moment of nervous time when I got a little bit stuck going over one pipe and under another in the space of about a foot, but I managed to wriggle my way free while reflecting that this situation explains a lot about why you don't see many fat plumbers. I inspected pipes along the way, looking for a likely candidate to tap into, until finally I decided on the first one I'd passed on my way in.
Having enjoyed my tour of much of the substructure of the house, I got to work...and the typical clusterfuck got under way. To tap into the line I had a saddle valve, a thingamabob that you clamp onto the pipe and then turn the valve handle to pierce a nail into the pipe. You attach your hose and crank it all the way down, then crank it back up to let the water flow. I cranked it most of the way down...and the handle sheared off. The cursing began, and paint was peeling by the time the job was done.
There was just enough of a nubbin left for me to use my channel lock wrench to finish piercing the pipe, which would have been pretty simple except that my channel locks suck. You clamp down on 'em and they work fine, but then you ease off the pressure to release their grip and they stay gripped. This means a one-handed tool requires two hands to operate, which isn't exactly easy to do when you're lying on the ground and working on the far side of a pipe about six inches over your face and crap is falling in your eyes and you're holding a mini Mag lite in your teeth but it keeps slipping out and falling under your neck and then you drop the wrench when you're searching for the Mag lite and... I started getting a mite angry.
I finally got the valve fully cranked down, crawled further into the bowels of the house again to get under the kitchen, fed the line through the floor boards, crawled all the way back out and went into the house to connect the line to the fridge. Then I went back under the house to fight with the channel locks to back the valve off so water could flow, then crawled back out again and went inside to check the fridge connection. It was leaking.
I cranked down harder on the fridge connection and the leaking stopped. Good enough. I tried the water dispenser. It didn't work. I half convinced myself that the water reserve tank in the fridge had to fill up before it would work, and went to take a shower and clean up to take Zoe to dinner at my mom's house. Got all nice and clean, put on fresh clothes and made myself presentable, and went to the fridge to try the water dispenser. It didn't work.
I pulled the fridge back out from the wall to see if I'd screwed something up...and the water line popped off while I was looking at it. Water began pouring onto the floor. I climbed back there and reconnected the water line. It popped off again. Connected again, it popped off again. The water was getting deeper and it was clear the line wasn't going to stay on, so I tried to tie it off. Water kept pouring.
I changed back into my dirty clothes and went under the house yet again. Went another few rounds with the channel locks from hell and finally managed to shut the valve down. I wormed my back out from under the house and at that point I called it a day. And why not? I'd started this job at 4:30 and it was 8:00 now, and this was only supposed to be a 20-minute job. All together now: Yeah, right!
The obvious choice for the normal person at this point is to call in a professional, right? Let's refer back to my opening paragraph as I tell you that I'm considering taking one more crack at it, this time with copper tubing instead of plastic so I can use compression fittings that won't pop off. It'll be different next time, won't it?
All together now...