Kathy Bassett: How to fix a broken water pipe


Kathy Bassett

Kathy Bassett's column, "The View from Maybell," appears in the Saturday Morning Press.

— Being on your own, especially if you are a female sometimes : wait a minute, this isn't sounding just right.

I'm always a female, so I'll start over.

Being a female and on your own, sometimes involves some very trying moments. But, we get through them, and then later in thinking back, we can laugh and have a great story to tell.

Take, for example, the first winter I was alone, it was so cold. I cut wood; I chopped wood; I split wood; I carried wood into the house and stood over the wood stove most of that winter thinking, "Am I ever going to be warm again?"

The outside hydrant wasn't buried deep enough and a neighbor came over to get some water.

He forgot to shut the water line off when he left, so - with 20 to 30 below zero temperatures for a while - it froze. There wasn't anything I could do about it with all the cold and snow and ice, so I let it sit there and waited for spring. Eventually - oh happy days - it finally arrived.


One nice, lovely and warm day, I gathered up some wrenches, tape measure, level, hammer, cutters, plumbing tape, fittings, pipe and all the tools I could think of that might be helpful, along with a shovel and a post hole digger thingy.

I could do this. I watched a lot of "Tool Time" shows. I dug down to where the pipe was broken.

Hmmmmmm. OK.

I could see it, I just couldn't quite reach it comfortably. I got a big chunk of cardboard, put it on the ground, laid down (I didn't want to get all dirty) and proceeded to whack off the broken part.

Thinking back now about what happened next makes me realize that a female on her own must never, ever try something without thinking things through.

Yes, the hole I'd dug was big enough to reach down into and work, but I didn't think about the cardboard sliding on the dirt. And the next thing I knew, I was upside down in a hole with my legs sticking up in the air, and I couldn't get out. For the slightest nano second, I wanted to panic, but my brain kicked in and said, "Whoa, Nellie. Don't panic! Don't kick. Settle down and think about what to do." It could have been days before anyone came along, and I didn't want to spend several days upside down in a hole.

I tried every kind of maneuver I could dream up to back out of that hole, but that stupid piece of cardboard was in the way.

I tried wriggling like a big green tomato worm, and, after awhile, I realized I was never going to get out of the hole with those tactics.

I'm sure it wasn't all that long, but it seemed like hours before I was finally able to rock my shoulders up and down to use my arms and elbows against the sides of the hole and slowly inch my way backward and up out of that hole.

I found strengths I didn't know I had - musta come from all that wood choppin'. Once I realized I could inch my way up, that is when I let the panic kick in. I didn't let up.

I was never so happy to see blue skies in my life.

I sat there awhile, spitting dirt. My hair and my fingernails were all dirty. Finally, I got the shovel and made the hole wider and threw that danged cardboard out of the way.

I laid right down on the dirt and reached in there again and cleaned off my pipe, put that blue stuff on it and then the pipe glue and put it all back together.

Trying to fix a broken water pipe isn't exactly the right time to try and stay clean and neat.

So, ladies, if you ever find yourself in a predicament like this, just cowgirl up and lay on the dirt and get dirty!

Of course, if you are like me, fixing a broken water pipe really isn't my cup of tea and I hope I never have to do that again.

But, I fixed 'er up right! I put lots of insulation down in there and wrapped that pipe up and it never froze up again. And did it work?


When I turned on that water spigot and had water, boy did I smile big!


Sumarjn 7 years, 12 months ago

Thinking back now about what happened next makes me realize that a female on her own must never, ever, try something without thinking things through.

Helpful hints from Sumarjn:

Try writing your story a week or two ahead of deadline. Get a friend to proof read the story. (It might help if they had a high school education)

Your "story" not be your original thoughts, but perhaps the story would make some sense?

Whatever you do though, don't ever let anyone tell you that you're an idiot!


Frank Estey 7 years, 12 months ago

Darn Sumarjn, Is there anything GOOD in your life ? The world you know must be full of hate.


grannyrett 7 years, 12 months ago

Sumarjn--I find Kathy's stories full of wit and humor. Keep them coming, Kat!!!!!


George Robertson 7 years, 12 months ago

I whole heartedly agree with grannyrett, they are certainly FAR more relevant than the rants of Maren Schmidt! I much prefer columns from folks who are local to those syndicated columns that have little to do with life in Craig/Maybell America!


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