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Once upon a time, I was a barefoot girl. I didn’t wear shoes anywhere but to work and the grocery store, and only then under duress. This despite having had a shard of glass removed from my left foot at age 4. (No lessons learned there.) But somewhere post-40th-birthday, socks found my feet. I even wear them to bed now. Maybe it has something to do with getting older, maybe I have poor circulation, or maybe – just maybe – now that I’ve shed the inch-thick callouses on my heels, I want to keep my feet soft. Matters not – the point is my feet now usually have socks on them.

But this is not a story about socks. This is a story about plumbing. Plumbing that makes me instantly insane. Plumbing that, if I owned a gun, people would die over. My socks are just the trigger.

As some of you know, my house was transformed 3 years ago come May when we woke in the wee hours to fire and billowing smoke. That summer the house was gutted – literally – and rebuilt from the foundation up. We moved back in October 2nd and lived in relative bliss for several months.

The sock thing probably started that winter because I finally had my long-coveted ceramic floor in my kitchen. Words can’t begin to describe how I love that floor. But it is a tad nippy on bare feet in December. But fast foward a few more months to March-ish. Still nippy, but spring is on the way.

One evening after dinner, I was standing at the sink rinsing dishes and loading the dishwasher. The right side of the sink had begun to fill up with water because the garbage disposal needed to be run to chew up all the spaghetti I’d just scraped in there. Seconds after I turned on the switch, my sock-clad feet were wet and warm.

I looked down and chewed up spaghetti was spilling out of the cabinet beneath the sink. I opened the doors and to my horror saw the pipes laying on the floor and the contents of the disposal spewing at the opposite cabinet wall. It took me a few seconds to remember I still had the water and the disposal on.

In my sopping wet socks, I went for the phone to call my contractor. He talked me through putting everything back together – this time tight – and all was well again.

For another few months…

Then one day I flipped the switch…wet socks. AAAAARRRRGGGGHHH!

This time, I skipped the call to the contractor and fixed the pipes myself. And all was well again.

For another several months.

And the wet sock dance has continued…every few months, always a surprise. I have the cleanest kitchen sink cabinet west of the Mississippi, I guarantee you.

You might be wondering by now why I haven’t called the contractor back, or better yet – called a plumber to just come fix it. Mostly, it’s because it’s one of those things that, for the most part, is easily tolerated…

…except when the pipes come undone and I have wet socks again.

Then…oh then, my lovely Internets…I come undone.

I scream nasty words, I swear death and destruction on the world at large, I get just downright ignorant about it.

And then I put the pipes back, tighten ’em up, clean up the mess, and I’m good for another few months.

But I feel my patience with this particular toleration running out. It happened again last week. It’s never a happy surprise, to be sure, but this is no kind of mess to be cleaning up with a finger you’re trying to figure out how to amputate, and it’s even less fun trying to play plumber.

So, I call my contractor prepared to get all over him like the white on the proverbial rice. I’m hot – spitting nails hot. And what do I get? His voice mail. AAAAARRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!

Then Saturday, he calls me back. He’s been in the hospital for two days. Chest pains. He’s only 40. But he promises me an end to wet socks by the end of next week.

As much as I hate wet socks, they beat the shit out of chest pains.