May 3 was my birthday and I found myself ruminating over the course of my life of 72 years. I found focus on the fact that many, perhaps some of you that may know me, do not think I’m a very good “handyman.”
Possibly because my tool box only contains two items — a roll of duct tape and a can of WD-40 with instructions on top of the box that read: “IF IT MOVES, TAPE IT. IF IT DOESN’T, SPRAY IT.” Bear with me.
As I was doing the ruminating mentioned above, I came to focus on something that had taken place just the day before, and would like to share it with you. It was late afternoon and I was on my backyard patio sipping a martini and glancing, from time to time, at the swimming pool.
After a bit I realized that the swimming pool motor was on, but the cleaning unit was not working. It concerned me and I mulled it over, considering my options. Finally deciding to take action, I turned the unit off only to find the system had lost suction. About an hour later I had restored the integrity of the suction (by putting water back into the system using a garden hose). I then turned the unit back on, went back to my martini and watched from the corner of my eye.
I have a Kreepy Krawley cleaning system for my swimming pool, and it has a large, cylindrical plastic container as a part of the suction line that houses a leaf net inside to catch what the suction unit on the bottom of the pool is collecting. The leaf container has a cap on one end that can be opened so the leaf net itself can be removed and cleaned. There’s a rubber gasket around the cap that ensures the container is air tight once the cap is closed. (You with me, so far?) Anyway, watching from the corner of my eye, as stated, I noticed that the leaf catcher was floating to the top of the pool and was sucking air since the gasket around the cap was obviously not properly seated. This inflow of air was clearly the cause for the unit having lost suction.
Sipping my martini, I considered the problem. Obviously, the need was for a replacement rubber gasket to secure the integrity of the cap on the leaf catcher but it was now too late in the day and too far to go to get one. What to do, oh, what to do?
Refilling my martini I considered the problem. A temporary “fix” was clearly in order and the solution came to me like a bolt out of the blue. If I could keep the leaf catcher submerged, it could not suck air despite its faulty gasket. Therefore, the next step would be to find something to use as an anchor and tether it to the leaf catcher below the surface of the pool. My mind raced — what did I have available for such a task. Once again, a bolt from the blue — a 15-pound dumbbell (the kind used by athletes in training) rested on the floor of my barroom and had been there, as a door stop, for many years. However, being solid steel, if I were to place it in the pool as the anchor, it would quickly rust the plaster. Another quandary, another challenge — What to do, oh, what to do.
(Stick with me — we’re near the end). I once again refilled my martini, and suddenly realized the answer lay in my tool box — the roll of duct tape. I hurriedly gathered the roll, firmly wrapped the dumbbell in duct tape to prevent rusting. And now, having created the anchor, what to use as a tether?
I don’t know about you, but I’ve got an absolutely wonderful “junk drawer” in one of my kitchen cabinets. I went there and found the answer — a 10-foot telephone cord used to connect phones to wall sockets. It was the right length and the right strength — amazing, simply amazing.
Resealing the leaf catcher unit, attaching the telephone cord to it and then to the dumbbell, I carefully lowered the dumbbell into the pool and watched as the leaf catcher descended several feet below the surface. I restarted the pool motor and watched with reverence as the Kreepy Krawley went about its work full speed ahead.
And this whole scenario only took about three hours. Oh, did I mention, that some time back I got some stickers in the mail from the “Handyman Club of America,” whoever they are, and I put them on every letter I send out?
I’m so happy I could spit.
Gary H. Boyd is a Scottsdale resident.