Sunday, July 17, 2011

With Shower Head Akimbo

This whole independence thing certainly has its drawbacks. Where once it had the option of delegating boss-ship to someone else just long enough to deal with problems I didn’t feel like tackling myself, I now have to handle them on my own. I’m not complaining; just experiencing the fall-out of the old adage: you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone!

My problem is not a big one. It’s really very minor in the scheme of things. It’s nothing more than a worn out shower head. The solution is simple: replace it. Well, in theory, it’s simple.

I went to the hardware store and purchased a new shower head. I brought the shower head home and opened it. I read the instructions. I entered the bathroom and re-read the instructions. I set out all the parts and made sure that they were all there and accounted for. It seemed like it would be a quick and simple operation.

What was quick and simple was the acquired knowledge that has vexed women for aeons. Namely the reason that a) quick and simple jobs take men forever to complete; and b) men swear a lot in the process of carrying out these quick and simple jobs.

The first step was to unscrew the old shower head from the shower arm. This took a total of about thirty seconds. The next step was to wrap Teflon tape clockwise around the threads on the shower arm. Fifteen seconds. The next step called for screwing the new shower arm bracket onto the arm.

And this is where things started to go awry!

It didn’t fit. The threads on the bracket would not catch the threads on the arm. Hmmm....

I did what I have seen men do in a situation like this – I spent the next minute or so looking back and forth from the bracket to the arm. I don’t know what was supposed to happen. Nothing that I could discern did. The threads remained unchanged, but looked like they should be compatible. I adjusted my stance in the tub and tried again. Again it the threads did not catch. I repeated the procedure of looking back and forth between the bracket and the arm. It must be a man thing. So I did a woman thing and re-read the instructions. They lacked detail and there was no trouble shooting section to explain the anomaly.

Determined to figure this out, I re-adjusted my stance, stuck my tongue out slightly and tried again, first reviewing the basic rule: Righty, tighty; lefty, loosey. Yes, I was turning it the proper way. No, it would still not catch. A few mild oaths escaped my lips. This quick and simple job had, so far, taken ten minutes – about five times the required amount to do it if there are no glitches. The threads not catching was a definite glitch. I decided to eat a cupcake and give it some thought.

The cupcake was delicious. But it was not inspiring. My fourth attempt to attach the bracket to the arm ended the same way the previous three had. Fruitlessly. Back I went to looking back and forth between the bracket and the arm. The only thing I could see that could be the problem was that the arm had about an inch of threading whereas the bracket only had about a quarter inch of threading. It seemed to me that this shouldn’t be a problem. And yet it was...

There was nothing left to do but put the old shower head back. This was quick and easy. Sadly, though, when it was tight it was no longer sat straight. It now sits at a weird angle with the top of the shower head pointing down about 45 degrees to the right. I thought I could adjust it. It seems not.

My shower this morning was a bit of an adventure. The odd angle of the spray meant that I had to stand at an equally odd angle. Consequent to the odd angle of the shower head, the connecting hose hung down in front of me, reminding me, strangely, of a noose. Needless to say, I showered quickly and got out.

I don’t know if I will be able to exchange the shower head for one with proper threads. The nature of the packaging obliged me to nearly destroy it in order to get the parts out. I think it might be a ploy on the part of manufacturers conspiring to prevent returns and exchanges by those who, like me, don’t have the option of delegating boss-ship to anyone else and must, then, learn the hard way. In the meantime, I get to wash with a shower head akimbo.

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