There was a time when all household/maintenance/mechanical/technological/automotive problems were solved by men. Yes, I took advantage of this. Once in college when I couldn't get the back tire on my bike, I posted on Facebook that I needed help. Will someone please help the girl fix her bike? It wasn't long before a bike-savvy male showed up at my dorm and fixed it. I had spent a good 30 minutes trying to figure it out before I gave up, and he did it in 30 seconds.
But times have changed. Don't get me wrong; I still really appreciate it when men step in to perform their gender-based stereotypcial duties--duties that I, as a woman, frankly have little interest in doing. But what's a girl to do when she finds herself hundreds of miles from her trustworthy helpers, single, and facing a problem? Easy. I take on the challenge with a little help from my new best counterpart named Google.
I've known Google for a long time now. I've got 10 years on Google, but we basically grew up together. I never really took Google seriously until recently. And Google suddenly became so much more than a casual acquaintance. Google has been there for me when I find myself wondering, "Exactly how long can you refrigerate that before it goes bad? Can you recycle pizza boxes? Where is the nearest coffee shop? And just how do you tell the difference between a helping verb and a linking verb, again?"
So when my roommate Rachel came downstairs to announce that the water in the bathtub would not switch over to come out of the showerhead, guess who I turned to. Google.
In a matter of seconds I found forums where people had discussed this very problem. I read that it was a common problem associated with the need for a new shower diverter. I was all over it, pulling up a step-by-step guide called "How to Replace a Shower Diverter." A couple of clicks and I found that the Lowe's store nearby had just what I needed. I scribbled down the item and product numbers and walked out the door.
Walking into Lowe's was like walking into a mecca of masculinity. There were rows and rows of tools, appliances, lights, paint, and cabinets for as far as I could see. It was, to say the least, slightly overwhelming. I made my way back toward the Bath Fixtures area, scanning the shelves and only finding faucets for sinks. The adjacent aisles had nothing I wanted. I felt so lost.
Hello! 20-something female wandering a home improvement store! Doesn't this put up any red flags for you people? Please, please, please stereotype! Don't I have "incompetent" written all over me? To make a long story a little less long, I found a pregnant woman working there and she got me what I needed. I got home to discover the diverter didn't come with a hex key. (Seriously? How hard would it be to throw one in there? They probably cost like 10 cents!) A quick trip to Home Depot (I didn't want to show up at Lowe's again) solved that dilemma.
1) 1/2" copper pipe connection?
2) 1/2" male threaded connection?
3) 1/2" male pipe connection with threaded end?
4) 3/4" male threaded connection?
Who knows. I'm looking at the diagram and it's not making a lot of sense, but I conclude I have a 1/2" copper pipe connection and I get started. I take off the old spout, follow the directions, and pretty soon I have the new spout on. And it works! The shower works! (Rachel cheering in the next room.) I'm pretty sure I was supposed to line up the hole on the spout with the screw I fit snugly against the copper pipe, but when I was twisting that spout clockwise to get it flush with the wall, it just didn't happen. So good luck to whoever replaces this spout next.
So, that's that. Look at me, a competent soon-to-be homeowner. Totally proving I can be independent and fearless when it comes to bathroom fixtures. I'm pretty proud of myself. Who fixed the shower? I fixed the shower. Oh yeah, oh yeah. And completed the project for less than $20.