the airplane… in my basement.

Very early in our marriage, Donna learned something important — I’m not a plumber. 

It could have been the first week, in our first apartment, when I broke the spout off the antique bathtub faucet. 

Or, it might be the day she ran into the kitchen shouting, “stop banging pans”. I yelled back, over the noise, “I’m not touching pans, I’m cleaning out a clog in the sink drain!”  Glaring at me, she cracked open the bottom cabinet doors, unleashing 25-feet of a wet, rusty, metal plumbing snake onto the kitchen floor — intertwined with pots and pans to enhance the moment. What wasn’t discussed that day — just prior to jamming the snake down the pipe to clear the clog — is that I might have experienced an “if a little bit of Drano is good, a whole bottle must be great” moment.  So great, the Drano apparently ate away the metal pipe just below the sink in under 3 minutes. 

If you choose, just use your imagination to fill in the gaps over the next 35 years, and you’ll probably be pretty close to reality…  which brings us to my January to-do list.

It’s time for the annual flushing of our tankless water heater.  If all goes well… about an hour or two of time on Sunday afternoon, very few supplies, and no trips to Home Depot. 

But, I’m not a plumber.

With a business trip scheduled on Tuesday, Donna and I make a strategic decision — let’s push this flushing out a week… so I’ll be in town for several days after the minor chore.  Why?  Well…, you know.

Fast forward one week. I gather my supplies on Sunday afternoon and head downstairs to the utility room.  Flipping valves, draining hoses, pumping vinegar… all in just 15 minutes. Let it run for an hour… repeat all the steps in reverse, and head out for dinner.  I’m telling you… a plumbing ninja!

Late Sunday evening, I went downstairs to grab my computer. Walking proudly, after a good day of chores, I’m reminded of something Donna has known for over 30 years. It comes to me as a drop of water lands on my head.  I look up in time to see another drop, coming from… you guessed it…  the cold air return duct for the furnace. I know, I’m not a plumber.

Oh…  about that airplane…

beechcraft-king-air-90gtx-aircraft-heroIt’s now Thursday morning, flooring has been ripped up, a huge section of my basement ceiling is absent.  Sheetrock that used to be on the walls and ceiling of my utility room is in a dumpster.  A plastic curtain surrounds the scene like a biohazard containment area. Inside the curtain, eight enormous dehumidifiers to do their work… roaring like a Beechcraft King Air twin-turboprop.  

The takeaway?

We are no stronger that what’s deep inside us.

When I slammed open the water valves after my chore, the instant pressure revealed many weaknesses, silently hidden up to that point.  The same thing happens when we allow negative voices to whisper away in our head, when we are not true to ourselves deep inside. When the pressure comes… and it will… things get really messy in an instant.  The alternative — stop maintaining.  Take time to understand yourself at your core, appreciate who you are, and who you are not… it’s o.k. 

Believe in Better!

Then, make it happen.

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