Day four on my Island, frustration


Today, day four on my Island we experienced the down side of being so far away from civilization. One of the reasons we came to the island this summer was to clean up our cabin and the property. The biggest project by far is the deck. It is a large beautiful deck that stretches along the entire side of the house. It has become a slippery, mossy, mildew disaster. When it is wet, and that is quite often up here in the beautiful North West, it is a wasteland that can not be used and a sure liability for any one who attempts to walk on it.

The three boys are here to wire scrub the entire deck, and restore it to its original wood and beauty. It is not a glamorous job, it is hard work on your knees pushing gross sledge. We do not have a hose, so it is washed off with buckets of water filled in the sink then carried out to the deck. Two hours of hard scrubbing back-breaking work on your knees is the most we ask in one day. While filling these buckets with water we became aware of a leak in the faucet. This was not a good thing.

I finish making lunch for everyone, the boys get sent out to trim the trees and dad and I tackle the leak. Now, my dad is seventy-five. He is in fairly good shape and can still do just about anything he wants to. I am almost forty-five and in fairly good shape, but getting on your back and into a cabinet to work on a sink that was installed in the sixty’s is not fun. We decide that it is not the pipes but the faucet and set about to take it out and replace it. This was the beginning of a very frustrating day.

I get the water turned off and the hoses detached, this takes a little work, a few swear words, some dripping water and dirt in the eyes. I then look at what we have to do to get the rest of the faucet out and I cringe. Now I am not a plumber, but I have replaced a faucet, and I know this is not what I have seen before. I ask for a wrench and nothing we have is big enough for the hexagon shaped bolt that is sealing the faucet to the sink. My dad has me move out and looks for himself. He has a similar reaction.

We spend the afternoon between the one hardware store on the island, and underneath the sink. Nothing works, the bolt will not budge. It is in an awkward spot with no room for maneuvering. After trying every position and every tool we can buy or borrow we now have a kitchen sink that does not work and a frustration level that is extremely high for both my dad and me, as we know what needs to be done, we know the new faucet will go in fast and easy but we are stuck trying to get this damn bolt off with no success.

I wash the dishes in the bathtub, we make a phone call to someone who might be a plumber on the island and we sink in our defeat(pun intended). We can not just run to home depot and ask for the right tool, if indeed there is one. We can not look in the yellow pages and keep calling until someone says they will help. My dad goes to sleep disgusted with himself for not being able to do it himself, and probably very sore from getting up and down off the floor and contorting his body in weird shapes to try to fix something that should not be this hard to do!

No man is an island, and today I wished for the first time I could have the best of both worlds, which is why this island is not a city, I guess. Most of us can not deal with the idiosyncrasies of island life. We have far too much to do in far too little time to be able to handle very many days like today. Still the ferry horn sounds, the sun warms my sore muscles and my kids are learn vesting their time and muscles into an inheritance that they hopefully one day will share with their children and grandchildren. Washing the dishes in the tub is not that bad after all.





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