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Sunday afternoon down the drain Carlos R. Davalos | Sat, Oct 16 2010 12:00 PM

On Sunday I prayed like I haven't prayed in years. "Oh, God, c'mon, c'mon, c'mon, c'mon."

On my belly and fully clothed, I lay in my bathtub desperately trying to retrieve a tiny screw that had fallen down the drain.

The screw was from the cap to the bathtub handle I had removed in an effort to fix a leaking faucet.

Admittedly, I am to plumbing what Sarah Palin is to a Mensa book club meeting. I have no business getting anywhere near a wrench, shut-off valves and water pipes. But in my defense, the Youtube videos and Google searches made replacing a stem valve look so easy. Fifteen minutes was all it was supposed to take. Yeah, maybe in dog years. Or if I had learned to stop time.

After finally retrieving the screw, thanks to a piece of chewed gum on the end of a screw driver, I got down to the business of removing the handle. And more praying.

"Jesus, !@#$ God !@*! Christ get the $!@!* off!"

Evidently, over time it's possible for water deposits and lime to practically weld themselves to bathroom fixtures, making simple removal nearly impossible.

I gave up on the cold water handle and moved on to the hot water handle. Apparently my prayers were heard because that baby came off like a cheap prom dress at an after party.

Too bad I forgot to make sure I had turned the main water valve off.

Forty minutes later, and dressed in dry clothes, I was wandering helplessly up and down the aisles at Home Depot looking for a replacement valve. It wasn't until I finally found the plumbing department that I realized the old stem was in my other shorts. The wet ones on the deck at home.

Twenty minutes later I was at home praying that the stem I eyeballed and purchased was a suitable replacement for the one that was broken.

Thirty minutes later I was back at Home Depot returning the stem valve that wasn't a suitable replacement (but at least I had the old one to use as a model).

Twenty minutes later I was at another Home Depot purchasing the stem valve they didn't have at the first Home Depot. Twenty minutes after that I was back home praying to God everything would fit and work right.

Fifteen minutes later - or roughly three hours after I started the simple Sunday afternoon project - I sat back and watched proudly as the leak was stopped.

Roughly 24 hours later I stumbled into the bathroom for my morning shower. The leak had returned.

Lord, hear my prayer.

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