I was raking cat turds out of one of the three litter boxes in the basement when My Darling B called down the stairs to me, “Would you come up and look at the shower?” That’s not the kind of question she asks unless she’s hollaring it, but I didn’t notice the slightest hint of panic in her voice. Her tone was more like, “Well, lookee here…,” so I didn’t immediately dash up the stairs, but I was a tad worried as I made my way to the bathroom.
When I got there, B was in her bathrobe just inside the door, waiting for me, and in her hand she held the handle that turned the shower on and off. It’s made to come off, but not without unscrewing a tiny screw in the middle of it, and anyway it didn’t come off the way it was supposed to. It came off because B somehow torqued it hard enough to break off the brass stump that sticks out from the valve, and because she broke off the stump, there was nothing to grab hold of to close the valve. The shower was running wide-open, all hot water. I had to shut off the water to the house. It was either that, or leave the hot water running full-blast until the plumber showed up.
Lucky for us, the plumber could pull the broken valve out and slip a new one in without too much fuss, and he didn’t even charge us too much, for a plumber. I was expecting he’d have to tear out the wall, saw the pipes off to remove the valve, sweat new pipes on and add a new valve, and I would have been happy to pay him for that because I’ve done that before, when I was crazy enough to want to do it instead of calling a plumber. Now that I know I never want to do that again, I don’t have any trouble handing many, many dollars over to a professional.