We have some general cottage rules: claim times before you set your holiday schedule at work; first one up cuts the grass; last one up stores the canoes; and leave it as clean as you found it.
My sisters both think I’m a slob and that I don’t know they talk about me behind my back. I know.
Probably the toughest rule is this one: if it breaks on your watch, you have to get it fixed. If that means finding a plumber or electrician during high season, that’s what you have to do.
Gilly has an edge because her husband is really handy and we have no problem allowing Manny to spend his holiday fixing things. Roz is super organized and can find receipts and knows things like when the septic tank should be cleared.
I have Christopher and Ari and everyone is just happy we don’t burn down the place.
As Gilly was packing up last week, we got a note that the bathroom tap had started leaking. I was coming up the next day, so I told her not to worry, I’d handle it. Roz said we probably needed new taps, as the ones on there came from the Sears Early Poverty line. No problem.
I picked up a set of taps in town, paying careful attention to the size and knowing we wanted something with a higher spout. I did not pay attention to the drain part. This becomes important later on.
We still work with the tools my father left behind, many of which were in turn left behind by the previous owner 43 years ago. My father believed he could fix most problems with a hammer.
I rounded up some tools that looked promising, if a little rusty.
I read the instructions (it was only going to take three simple steps), shut off the water and got to work. It wasn’t hard to get the offending taps off and the new ones on.
I spent an hour lying with a cricked up back under a tiny vanity alternately swearing and saying lefty loosey tighty righty under my breath.
I got the little water hoses hooked up and couldn’t figure out why the taps were still all wobbly. I spotted the little black things you screw on to anchor them, and took everything apart to get them on.
I still had a part left over. The drain in the kit was very different from the drain in the sink. I’d already disconnected some bits, and now they just lay there looking at me.
Making an executive decision, I started tugging out the old drain. I felt some pride in finally using tools the instructions hadn’t thought to tell me I’d need.
When everything looked about right, I turned on the taps and water fell all over me. I picked up the phone to call our local contractor, Rod. He calls us Those Crazy Sommerfeld Women. The next morning, he surveyed my handiwork.
“The taps aren’t quite centred,” he told me. I was aware of that, and knew it would make Roz nuts. She’s a little OCD-ish and I knew she’d say how nice they looked while silently measuring the half centimetre they were off.
After a couple of days, I’d call and tell her how to straighten them.
“You’d do that to your sister,” he said.
“Of course,” I replied.
Turned out the issue was in the black bendy bits under the sink, not my mad skills. Rod did a bunch of real plumbing while I watched, though he gave me points for getting the taps on.
Never did use the hammer.