On Installing a New Kitchen Faucet

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Check out this beautiful new faucet Alex installed at our kitchen sink! The faucet we replaced was a very, very basic builder-grade, chrome-finished number to which we had installed a little flow-control doo-hickey (like this)so that we could get a little sprinkler action going. You can kind of see it in the panorama picture). Thanks to the half hour or so that Alex spent on his back under the sink atop some creatively arranged pillows, I can now remove the end of the spigot, thus extending the telescoping hose, to spray down the sink or bulky items with ease. It’s brushed nickel, to match the hardware on our cabinets, and it totally upgrades the space. I may or may not be stoked to wash the dishes. I’m sure that feeling’ll wear off in time.

I don’t have a lot of kitchen sink stories.

Actually, maybe there’s one.

Once, I froze my finger, and I learned how to react in an emergency.

After I quit gymnastics (I was 10, and had competed for 3 years before a knee injury set me back), my parents encouraged me to choose another sport. I picked swimming and volleyball. I stuck with the swimming, but I proved a bit vertically challenged for the latter. Nevertheless, I played recreationally with some of my classmates for about 3 years in middle school. One day at practice I jammed my pinky finger on the ball.

For some reason, when I was younger and had a minor injury (such as a pulled muscle), I was afraid to tell my parents. I would sneak ice packs from the freezer up to my room and apply them to the affected area, preferrably under the covers of my bed while reading a book, to disguise the fact that I might be injured, and thereby preventing a barrage of questions and parental concern, however warranted it may have been.

So, true to form, as soon as we got home from volleyball practice that day, I snuck a re-useable ice pack from the freezer. This thing was way larger than I needed for just my lone pinky finger, mind you, but I was determined to ice that sucker for 20 minutes so no one would ever know I had been hurt at practice. Luckily, my dad was outside working on the front porch railing, so I was uninterrupted for what I perceived to be the necessary time to make this hurt magically disappear.

After twenty minutes of being entombed in the ice pack, my finger was frozen. I knew this because when I tapped my finger on the wooden kitchen table, it made the same sound that ice would make, if I were to tap ice on the wooden kitchen table. I nervously drummed my other fingers just to make sure there was indeed a difference. There was. Indeed. And so I went wailing out to my dad, trying to explain that actually I had withheld some information when he asked me how practice went. I had jammed my finger during volleyball practice, I iced it like I was supposed to, and now look!

Tap tap tap. On the wooden porch railing. Is this what a skeleton feels like?

While I cried at my foolish fears, Dad ushered me back inside and turned on the kitchen faucet. He ran the water lukewarm and stuck my finger under the running current. After a couple minutes, I could sense the feeling returning to my finger, and was so grateful that I wouldn’t have to have my finger amputated (I had an active imagination, you see).

Once it was back to normal, I’m sure my dad said something like “See? You’ll be fine,” and went back to work like nothing had happened.  And I was fine! More than my finger that was wiggling once again, it was his mannerism, void of judgment or criticism or fear, but full of kindness in a neutral sort of way, that set me at ease. While I don’t remember his exact words, I suppose his actions are how I learned how to react in an emergency (whether it’s an actual emergency or just a perceived one): Remain calm. Assess the situation. Do what you can. But above all, remain calm.

Recently, at one of his favorite dog parks, Nero and another dog crashed into a tree. Nero was happily chasing a pal around the park, weaving in and out of the trees–this is central Virginia, after all, it was a forested area. A third dog wanted to join in the fun, and intercepted them from the side, instead of falling in line behind. Her timing was such that this new dog crashed into a tree and blindsided Nero into doing the same.

I didn’t see the actual crash, but I heard it, and my head whipped around in time to see all the dogs wondering what just happened. It was like when a kid falls on the playground, and every other kid knows the one who took a tumble is about to cry but is trying hard to fight back the tears, and so they linger around, unsure whether to run away or try to help.

Nero stumbled a few steps, limped slightly on one of his front legs, and had one of his eyes half-shut. Alex reached Nero first and the other humans present checked on the other crash bandicoot pup. In retrospect, if this had been a cartoon, I realize that Nero would have had a bunch of yellow stars spinning above his head while he regained his wherewithall. Perhaps he did actually see stars, wondering what evil force had interrupted his delightful afternoon run. We’ll never know.

We quickly checked his vision, gently rubbed his head and his leg (which produced no signs of wincing), and did everything we could do to make sure he was okay. Fortunately, less than 45 seconds later, Nero was prancing around again, fetching his frisbee from the water, and greeting other dogs that entered the park. We nervous puppy parents breathed a sigh of relief. Dogs are admirably resilient creatures.

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Nero’s at home resting now, following Rogue around and making sure all is well in our backyard, and he shows no sign of unusual behavior, thank goodness.

Now I know why my parents were so concerned if I ever complained of any hurt – physical or emotional. Heaven help us when Alex and I have kids of our own.

Tonight as I stand at my new kitchen sink washing the dinner dishes, I will say a word of thanks, for the lesson from the kitchen sink of my youth that clearly helped me deal with what could have been a disastrous afternoon. Reacting calmly is pure instinct now; it’s after-the-fact that I let my imagination get the best of me, and I shiver at what could have been. And as I flip between the stream and the shower setting on the faucet, I will also say I’m sorry, for ever having taken our dogs’ presence and health for granted. They are truly the sunshineiest gifts in our lives right now. If you have furry creatures in your life, be sure to give them a big hug and rub their bellies for an extra long time tonight.

Nero’s out back soaking in the last of the evening sun. I can see him from my kitchen sink.

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