Labor Day I was trying to fix the second floor bathroom shower and tub fixtures: the handles had been a problem for years: the problem being they didn’t turn the water off to less than a drip for the shower head and a trickle for the tub faucet. Finding the shut off valves in the closet of my daughter’s room where they were sequestered behind a semi-secret panel along the baseboard triggered the hope that I, with little money, could fix the plumbing by myself, rather than hire a plumber.
I succeeded Monday to disassemble the four handles, revealing the small holes in the tiles of the wall with the valve stems and the 1 3/16” hex nuts that held them in place. When we first moved here 21 years ago, the prior owner – my older sister, had pointed out the problem that was pending even then of finding a special tool to unscrew the hex nuts. Fortunately I had procured after three exploratory trips to the hardware store a ¾” drive heavy duty socket that fit in the hole and grabbed the hex nut. The four inches of the valve stem protruding from the wall fit through the ¾” drive opening. My hopes for this $7 item were running high. I called it a day and went to bed.
Tuesday arrived, I got up at 5 A.M., went to work, returned, ate dinner, and welcomed my grandson of 5 and ½ years of age to stay overnight and the next morning attend his first day of kindergarten. I got him some dinner. Shortly my wife arrived home from NY City at about 8:30. She had been visiting her friend in NJ and updating her Japanese passport at the embassy in Manhattan. Right away she noted with dismay and disdain the seemingly sorry state of the shower. I told her it would be done soon.
Up till that point I had realized that the ¼” hole in one side of the socket would not allow enough torque applied with a screwdriver to unscrew the valve stem hex nuts – even if hit with a big hammer, yes I tried that. The socket was long enough and hefty enough to allow me to use the pipe wrench on it. This worked surprising well. The foot and a half long pipe wrench provided sufficient leverage to undo the hex nuts, allowing me to remove the four valve stem assemblies.
A moment of awe, dissolving years of traumatic turning of the shower and bathtub handles, swept over me – victory at last! A new age had dawned and I was alive to experience it. It was amazing. I am still even now as I write this overcome by the feeling of amazing victory at last! Certainly I have experienced the glory of the victor!
The valve stem assemblies were in various states of corrosion and disrepair. After examining and polishing off the corrosion, it became apparent why they had seized up and failed at stopping the dripping of the shower head and the trickle of the bathtub faucet. There was just enough time for one more trip to the hardware store, which closed at 10 P.M. I bought the packet containing an assortment of valve seat washers, gaskets and o-rings. On the way back I stopped at the grocery store to buy two boxes of tissues and some juice packets, as requested by my daughter and required by the kindergarten for each student.
Then to work, to work, to work, assembling, examining, strategizing how to make these old valve stem assemblies serve their original function of controlling the flow of water to the shower and bathtub without leaking water through the kitchen ceiling – or anything like that. Finally it was 1 A.M., then 2 A.M., and then 5 A.M. and I finished. Now it was time for morning study of sacred scriptures with my wife and son. I brushed my teeth, changed my clothes and went to work, wondering when the fact that I hadn’t gotten any sleep would kick in.
But surprisingly I wasn’t tired at all that day – Wednesday. I returned from work. Again my grandson stayed over. I tested the shower and tub repairs by turning on the water from the shut-off valves from inside my daughter’s closet and replaced the semi-secret panel sequestering them again. The repairs were good – no leaks, easy to turn on and off. Good! Finished!
My daughter had said that perhaps her nursing home workplace would need her only till 10 P.M. when she would pick up her son, but he called to check at 11 P.M. She told him that she had to work until 6 A.M. the next morning, so he went to sleep. And me? I had been up for 43 hours and finally, not exhausted at all, went to sleep.
After work today (Thursday) I was reminded of recently reading how Rev. Sun Myung Moon had said that he didn’t need to sleep or eat as ordinary people do, because he had trained himself to be serious about the Godly mission of saving the world and completing the unfinished mission of Jesus. Many times he didn’t sleep and always pushed himself to get no more than 3 hours of sleep, even as an old man.
The 5th anniversary of Rev. Moon’s passing into the spirit world (Seongwha Ceremony) and leaving his physical body behind, like the butterfly’s metamorphosis from the cocoon of the caterpillar, was celebrated around the world beginning at 8:30 PM (EST) Wednesday, Sept. 6 in Korea. It is believed by people in many countries that a person who has passed away can return to the earth on the day of their passing.
Conclusion: Could it be?! Yes, I think so! Rev. Moon whom we know as True Father (honorific title for Second Coming of Christ) was definitely here; he helped me fix my bathroom without sleeping and then work the next day without being tired!