Portrait of a Plumber
“Oh, my God, are you okay? Did you cut yourself?” I asked.
“Yea, earlier today I cut my hand.”
“No, your face. You’ve got red across across your face. Is that blood?” and then I realized it’s probably rusty or clay-colored water that sprayed on him after cutting the old galvanized pipes in my crawl space.
Today I was one of “those” customers. We had a misunderstanding about the scope of work. I thought his estimate included removing all the old pipes that were original to the house. That’s not what he thought.
We were standing in the crawl space at the end of the day when everyone else in the city is heading home from work and I had to draw a line. The old metal pipes had to come out. He gave me a look like why are you bringing this up now? I packed my tools. I want to get the hell out of here. I was straddling a line where he might just tell me I was wrong and out of luck. I went back upstairs and waited. A few minutes later the house was vibrating from a saw cutting through pipes.
So, this is my story about Tim from Frazier Plumbing. Tim is one of the reasons why we’ve called Frazier Plumbing over the years for various problems. Not because we don’t try to fix it ourselves, but sometimes what we did just didn’t work or oops, we put the seal on backwards and that’s why the pipe is still dripping or there is just a special touch a plumber has to adjust the flap and lever to keep the toilet from running. Seriously, we tried.
After two days worth of work, including working into the evening yesterday and a few hiccups and trips back the the plumbing supply store, Tim was standing at my door ready to collect payment. For a minute there, I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, but Tim is always professional, even on a day like today.
This is what he looked like when he said, “We got all of your old pipes out. I think we’re done now.”
This photo is part of a new series on my website that highlights the work of men and women in the building industry. See additional posts about Portraits. Click through and leave a comment.