Ramona on Corona: Getting Into Plumbing

cleaning illustration

A humor series on navigating this difficult time

Today, I’m sharing another installment of a humor series from my friend Pam Goldman, centering on a woman named Ramona, who tries to help… in her own way.

If you’re new to this series: Here’s parts one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, and (whew) eight. Read on.

Today I practically became a licensed plumber. And I am not kidding. The kitchen sink sprang a leak, and normally I would pick up the phone and call Pete the Plumber. But we left “normally” in mid-March when we started self-isolating. What to do? I began schlepping the dirty dishes from the kitchen sink to the half-bath off the kitchen, piling them on the closed toilet lid and washing them one by one in the tiny porcelain sink. Garrrumph! I finished in just under two hours, threw in the (dish) towel, exhausted and went to weep.

Unrefreshed from a fitful night, this morning I took matters into my own rubber-gloved hands, first emptying everything but the kitchen sink from under the kitchen sink. (If you haven’t looked under yours lately, don’t). I got on all fours in under ten minutes. Bravo GaGa! (Hey, I’m a senior. It’s not my fault). I looked at the inter-connected U-shaped pipes and said smugly, “I’m smarter than U pipes.”

I lumbered onto my back in under 10 minutes and slid my head and torso under the sink, ungracefully. The view from there was interesting. I saw two what I would call “clamps”, attached to two what I would call “pipes,” which were white and plastic. I unscrewed the “clamps” and removed them from the “pipes,” and in so doing, released a little round rubber thingy that went flying. I yelled for K., conveniently quarantining upstairs, to bring me my toolbox. Yes, my toolbox, the one he bought me as a house warming gift when we moved in.

“I need help! I’m fixing the sink!” He was there in a flash with the aforementioned toolbox from which he grabbed a flashlight which he aimed at my face. “Here. Shine it on this joint,” I directed him. “Can I do anything?” he asked. “You’re doing it,” I said. “Don’t move.”

I repeatedly pushed the rubber thingy back into its clamp and screwed both clamps back onto their respective pipes. “Hand me a bowl,” I instructed, which K. did flawlessly. I placed it under the leaky pipe. “Turn the water on,” I told him. He turned the water on, flawlessly. I got wet.

We tried several times and failed. The aches I felt in my elbows and my lower back and shoulders cannot be adequately described. K. had a brilliant idea and called Pete the Plumber on FaceTime, asking him to walk me through this. With K. aiming Pete at the back of the U-shaped pipe Pete could see the problem immediately. The rubber thingy (“the washer,” according to Pete) had to be placed on the pipe, narrow end first before the clamp was affixed to the pipe. K. turned the water on, flawlessly. I did not get wet.

I had business cards made when I finished the job. House calls, $150. ($125. for friends and family).

Why do women wait for a pandemic to display their ingenuity, grit and perseverance? I admit we’ve gotten better at not labeling tasks as male or female but many women still iron his handkerchiefs, take his stuff to the dry cleaners, buy his co-worker’s Secret Santa gift. Just sayin’…

I rewarded myself with six Lindt chocolate truffles. This may be as good a time as any to discuss chocolate in the time of corona (rhymes with Valrhona). If you are not an addict read no further. I call for a Zoommeeting of Chocoholics Anonymous, in which there is no 12-step program. So let’s get to it. How big is your stockpile? I will share that I am fully stocked. K., my enabler has a supply chain from here to Switzerland.

I have a stash that doesn’t discriminate. From expensive champagne truffles to M & M’s, Hershey’s Kisses, Cadbury bars, chocolate covered marshmallow twists and dipped chocolate pretzels. When it comes to chocolate, I’m all in. Or rather it is all in my mouth without guilt during this stressful time.

Prescription mood elevators may cause side effects including nausea, vomiting, and headache. The only side effect of chocolate is pure joy. And for many it is the key to self-preservation. Doesn’t that make it as essential as masks and gloves in these trying times?

Chocolate lovers unite! We will get through this together and we will support each other through thick and, if you are blessed with a high metabolism, thin.

Pam Goldman is a writer, therapist, wife, mother and (young) grandmother. Her work has been published in The New York Times and VIVA Magazine. She is completing her first book, titled LEFT.

This originally appeared on Medium.