Saturday, August 21, 2010

Lisa + Cindy = McGyver

My old, old garbage disposal began leaking like a sieve.  I tried slapping plumber's epoxy over the hole, but when the diverted water started coming out by the electrical cord I realized it would be better to fork over money for a new one rather than, say...GET ELECTROCUTED.

Luckily for me, a coworker gave me a gently used replacement as long as I could take out the old one and put in the new one, this little adventure wouldn't cost me a dime.

Taking the old one out was easy-peasy.  Putting the new one in THEORETICALLY would be easy (the fittings were the same) but trying to hoist the heavy little bugger up in the tight undersink space AND turn the fitting at the top proved too much for me to do alone.

Enter my dear friend Lisa Hilderbrand who came over today to help me plan my backyard garden, lovingly known as the "jungle slope from hell."  For about an hour she walked around, making mental notes and saying things like, "We'll put 3 australopithicus northwesticus right there and how about a row of gianticus juniperiatium along here".  When she was finished we came inside for a beverage and I showed her the gaping hole in my sink. 

"If I had a little help," I started out hopefully, "I probably wouldn't have to hire a plumber."

Lisa gamely got down in front of the sink and surveyed the scene. I suggested a team approach.  I would lay down in the cabinet with my head directly under the big gaping hole and push the big heavy disposal unit up against the retaining collar which she would quickly move into a locked position.  My thinking was that I could bench press more weight straight up than I could at a weird angle.

And while that may be true in theory, in actuality it was a really bad idea.  For one, I didn't exactly fit in the small cabinet.  Second, the human body is not built to lay with the head and shoulders inside a cabinet and the remaining body 6 inches lower on the floor.  And third, it occurred to me that more than one Darwin award had been posthumously given to someone who offed themselves by dropping something really heavy onto their face in a confined space. 

After a few minutes of struggling, I extricated myself.  Lisa said, "It's too heavy to hold, let's put in on this box for support."  So we layered a wooden cutting board on top of a cardboard box...which helped but was still about 2 inches too low.

Then Lisa had the brilliant idea of using LEVERAGE rather than brute strength.  "Give me a 2x4," she crisply ordered, much like a surgeon requesting a scalpel.  Having at least one of EVERYTHING in my house, I was able to smartly grab a board that was about 8 feet long which she wedged between the cutting board and the disposal unit.

We pushed down on the long end and sure enough, the disposal unit moved up and it came SO CLOSE...but unlike horseshoes and hand grenades, merely close was not going to be good enough.

"How about the jack in my car?" I asked.

"Is it hydraulic?" Lisa wanted to know.  Lisa is not afraid of big, noisy tools.

"Hydraulic?" I thought. "What else does that woman have in her trunk?"  But I merely said, "Uh,' of those little crank-it-up-a-millimeter-at-a-time kinds."

"Well, let's try it."

So we did...

And we kept cranking, higher and higher, until it was wedged firmly against the metal collar.

And then we were able to twist the little retaining gizmo into place and worked! Look, ma...NO HANDS! 

We were so damn McGyver we could hardly stand ourselves!

And then I did what I always do when I figure out a little challenge like this.  I look for other "nails" to proudly hit with my new "hammer".  "What else do you think we could use my car jack for?" I asked Lisa.

"Holding up a sofa or chair when a leg breaks," came immediately to Lisa's mind.

I glanced around my house; sadly, no hoisting opportunities presented themselves.  All of my couch legs were intact...and everything else in the house seemed to be at the right height. 

No worries, can't be long before something else breaks and when it does I know my inner McGyver (and probably my friend Lisa) will save the day. 


Lisa Hilderbrand said...

What is even funnier is that all those direct quotes are actually true! That is exactly how this project went down. Too darn much fun... and to quote a bookmark I picked up recently...Girls Can Do Anything!
Thanks, Cindy!
Lisa of Lisa's Little House

Cindy Pestka said...

After today's success, can a skylight or rooftop garden be far behind?

Julie said...

Hilarious! Very clever of you two. Fortunately there weren't any deceased rats lurking back there...