saving money by jerry-rigging…..or how George killed the house

George and I bought a 102 year old house…which of course means that things break constantly around here.

The first month were were in the house the electric started to act badly, so we upgraded it a bit. Then the plumbing under the kitchen sink clogged and started leaking.  So a plumber was called and fixed it.

After that the shower’s plumbing decided to flow through the ceiling instead of the tub…another plumber.

All these plumbers and electricians were costing quite a lot of money we did not have….so George decided we would start “doing the work ourselves”.

Now, bear in mind…George is a nurse.  I am a retired counselor.  Neither of us has worked as a plumber….ever.

I figured we would just keep calling plumbers and George would forget about this “I can fix it caveman mentality”.

So, when I noticed an outside faucet was leaking…little tiny drips around the connection between faucet and pipe…and told George……I figured I would just call the handy-dandy plumber Mike and pay another hundred bucks for the faucet to be resealed.

George, on the other hand, remembered his “I can fix it” statement and went to the local dollar store…..for FLEX TAPE. People all over the US that spend any amount of time watching late-late night television know about FLEX TAPE…it is just like FLEX SEAL but in tape format.  There is an hour long infomercial with a ranting way-to-happy-to-be-sober-dude that screams about how wonderful the product is…and for “only 9.99 plus shipping and handling, you too can fix all those plumbing leaks”…”BUT WAIT!!!” he shouts, “that’s not ALL”…….(oh lordie) “For NO MORE MONEY you can have a SECOND can of FLEX SEAL for JUST shipping and handling”. (wouldn’t that be for more money?)

George works nights………on call………….which means he watches a LOT of infomercials.

So, he bought this tape and proceeded to “fix” the leak.  He wrapped the pipe with this crap, then squeezed the ends around the edge of the faucet and said “NO MORE LEAKS!”.

There was just one little problem with his method of fixing the pipe.  FLEX SEAL has an adhesive that “cures”…all adhesives that form a seal when they cure have an obnoxious smell to them……….and FLEX SEAL smells like a chemical burn waiting to happen…It smells much like one would imagine a 2 foot by 2 foot room in which someone was cutting up habanero peppers for seven months without ventilation would smell.

I woke up at 2 am with eyes watering, throat burning, hacking and coughing as if I were in an Army tear bomb exercize and george was wandering around the house with swollen eyes trying to find his way to the front door to get some ventilation going.

The scent of “curing adhesive” was floating up through the pipes and into the house.

I found my glasses and the wrapping paper the tape had come in and read the “warnings”……”FLEX TAPE emits a strong odor. We suggest using outdoors only. If used indoors, provide adequate ventilation”.


I dressed in layers of cold weather gear, found a flashlight, a pair of pliers and a straight edge…and wandered outside to tear off the tape. It was 2:45 am at that point.

After 40 minutes, much cussing, and discovering that freezing temps plus cold water creates snow got the tape off and thrown away. It took five minutes for the ice to thaw from my boots so I could remove them from my feet.

The house has had an open front and back door, every window open and all ceiling fans (there are five of them) twirling madly since I came inside in an effort to alleviate the smell. It is now 22 degrees inside and out………and I am wearing two coats, a scarf, a hat, ear muffs, two pair of gloves, three pair of pants, four pair of socks and a muffler….but the smell is gone.

And George is under strict orders to 1. NEVER fix anything again and 2. call an expert when something breaks.


5 thoughts on “saving money by jerry-rigging…..or how George killed the house

  1. I always try to fix broken whatevers myself and almost always end up calling someone who KNOWS how to fix whatevers. Entertaining tale!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My poor George and Suze!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for the warning about the Flex tape. I don’t think we have any around here. My mr. fix-it usually does a pretty good job of things, but even he will call a professional more often than not these day. Glad the smell went away! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. me too…now to get the inside temp back to 68 degrees is the chore for the day!

      Liked by 1 person

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