Plumbing Supply Tip

‘Ah, drats!’ I heard my housemate swear from the other end of the house. I reached over and turned off the TV, twisting so I could peer down the hallway from the couch.

         ‘Everything okay in there, Mick?’

         ‘Yeah, yeah,’ his annoyed reply echoed back to me. I heard some banging and clanging – another ‘drats!’ – and then he appeared, scowling, in the bathroom doorway. He was wearing his ratty housework-only shirt and had a towel slung over his neck.

         ‘Whatcha up to?’

         ‘I’m trying to fix that stupid shower,’ he grumbled. ‘I’m sick of the low pressure.’

         ‘Low pressure?’ I frowned. ‘Our shower has low pressure?’

         ‘You haven’t noticed?’ he asked, surprised. ‘It drives me up the wall.’

         ‘It’s the same as at my parent’s place,’ I shrugged. ‘Guess that’s all I’ve ever known.’

         ‘Lucky,’ he muttered. ‘My last apartment had the best shower in the world – I hardly ever spent an afternoon looking for a place to buy plumbing supplies in Cheltenham.

         ‘What do we need?’

         ‘A new, uh…’ he scratched the back of his head, ‘…washer?’

         ‘A new washer,’ I repeated sceptically.

         ‘Probably.’ He nodded. ‘Or it’s a gasket.’

         ‘Isn’t that a car thing?’

         ‘Oh, I don’t know,’ he threw his hands up. ‘I never said I knew what I was doing.’

         ‘It was heavily implied.’ I laughed at the surly look on his face. ‘Just take a trip and ask someone who knows what they’re doing.’

         ‘I’m not paying for a plumber,’ he said quickly. ‘They’re an unholy mix of expensive and useless.’

         ‘Then do the cheap version of asking a plumber,’ I shrugged.

         ‘Which would be…’

         ‘You don’t know?’ I asked, my eyebrows shooting up in surprise. ‘Imagine that – me, the first-timer and you, the worldly apartment-dweller, being taught a few—’

         ‘Just tell me!’ he snapped, and I giggled again at his sour mood.

         ‘Find a good hardware store in the Bentleigh area,’ I explained slowly. ‘Ask for advice.’

         ‘That’s it?’

         ‘What did you want?’ I frowned.

         ‘An actual tip,’ he said. ‘That’s just… bothering someone on minimum wage.’

         ‘Fine,’ I said, turning back to the TV. ‘Pay for a plumber.’