The Joys of Plumbing

Sometimes being a woman in the trades can feel pretty lonely. I’m used to being the only woman in the room, except of course when I attend Women in HVACR events, which I recommend, because they are awesome. At one of these recent events, I had the pleasure of meeting a female plumber who was one of the most charming, enthusiastic and genuine people you could ever hope to meet.

Imagine my surprise and delight when I found that she too is a blogger! She’s irreverent, hilarious, a kindred spirit from another trade.

Below is one of my personal favorites, it’s a day-by-day, week-by-week introduction to the Joys of Plumbing as Haley discovers them over her first few months on the job. It’s a great introduction to hilarious Haley herself.

I hope to share more of her blogs in the coming weeks. I hope you’ll enjoy her blogs as much as I do…

-Karen DeSousa, HVAC Chick

Some Milestones and Important Moments

Written by Haley Gadzik, The Chicago Faucet Shoppe, J. Blanton Plumbing

Realizing that most likely every day, you will get to meet and pet other peoples’ dogs
1 day in

Fielding the first overtly sexist comment from a customer
3 days in

Parallel parking a very large company truck in a very tight spot
Also 3 days in

Discovering, as you approach the (seemingly) surly group of your coworkers smoking outside the shop each morning, that you no longer need to a) determinedly stare at the pavement or the sky or a bird you are imagining until you are near enough to greet them without making it weird, and b) internally rehearse saying “what’s up” and “how’s it going” in a way that conveys both detachment and warmth somehow? because you are a confident lady who is in no way intimidated by these guys but is also cool and approachable okay
2 weeks in

Definitely not ever so slightly brushing the very large truck up against the wall of your company’s garage and definitely not scraping up the side pretty bad and definitely not getting caught doing this on camera
3 weeks in

Tromping through a Home Depot with the keys to your truck in one hand and a hot dog in the other
Gesticulating with that hot dog to express your disappointment at Home Depot’s consistent inability to sort their PVC reducing couplings into the proper boxes
2 months in

Realizing, as you are sitting on the floor of an elderly man’s bathroom, using a chisel and hammer to painstakingly chip away at sewage-coated, entirely solidified, slate-like putty that has likely not seen the light of day for eighty literal years, that in this moment you understand how Michelangelo must have felt as he was sculpting David
Like the spirit of Michelangelo maybe just briefly inhabited your body
Like maybe you even were Michelangelo in a past life
3 months in

The glow is rather pretty, if you can get past the reason for it.

Receiving a call about a leak coming from the ceiling of a customer’s utility room
Rolling up with a stick of 3/4″ copper and a ProPress, no problem, we deal with leaky water lines all the time
Walking into the drizzling room, seeing the leaks dripping from a few spots in the drywall and trickling down the dome of a pretty, dandelion colored lighting fixture
Carefully turning on the filled-to-the-brim-with-water lighting fixture to avoid shocking ourselves, wiping the persistent sprinkle off our faces as we go
Cutting out part of the ceiling to actually assess this bad boy, dodging grey clumps of soaked insulation that immediately tumble out of the opening
Discovering that the leaks are not, in fact, clean water coming from a copper supply line, but raw sewage coming from an open Y fitting on a PVC waste line
As in, while installing this fitting with three openings, this fitting that carries human waste to the sewer system, the contractor only saw fit to connect two of the three openings to, you know, other pipes
As in, the drenched insulation that fell out of the ceiling that reminds you so strongly of the piss-soaked gerbil bedding you handled so regularly in 5th grade, is, in fact, just like the piss-soaked gerbil bedding you handled so regularly in 5th grade
Never have you related so profoundly to a gerbil
Now you are the gerbil
Realizing that the dandelion colored lighting fixture that you thought was so pretty is not, as it turns out, dandelion colored
It’s white, and it is brimming with human urine
Becoming aware of an insistent sizzling noise coming from the lighting fixture
The human urine is boiling
The heat from the light bulb is boiling the human urine
You are standing in gerbil bedding, under a slow, constant drizzle of raw sewage, enjoying the warm glow of a bubbling piss cauldron

This is your profession
3.5 months in

They say it only gets better from here.
Love, Haley