What I'm Doing On My Summer Vacation

©1999 Frank Funaro

Howdy, Crackerfans... As those of you who've been reading my mail know, this week it's my turn to post a news item. This presents a wee bit of a dilemma, seeing as how we're off the road right now... So, I just thought I'd fill you in on what I've been doing, in case you give two shits.

Today, I made a mess out of a simple home improvement chore, namely replacing a cartridge in the kitchen sink. (Handymen can skip this part, I hear the chuckling starting already...) As those of you with kitchen sinks and a modicum ($3.00 word) of faucet knowledge know, a simple washer replacement is a thing of the past...

Today's newfangled faucetry[this Word©1999Frank Funaro] is mildly daunting to this amateur, coz they've got these single handle jobs you can twirl to the left for hot, or the right for cold, unless of course you reside in the southern hemisphere where everything is exactly the opposite, much like "Bizarro World"... I digress...

Anyway, these faucets have what is called a "cartridge" that you pull out and replace, and it all sounds and looks so simple, and it is, but of course yours truly took a 15-second peek at a home improvement for idiots type book while on line at Sears getting a refund for a mis-measured screen door (another sad story...) and so now I had the info, and doggone it, that annoying drip-drip-dripping was going to end once and for all, or my name isn't Bob Vila. (It isn't)

So this morning at the crack of noon I sprang from my bed full of good intentions (ahem...) and grabbed up a couple of screwdrivers and a pair of channel-lock pliers and after dosing myself with caffeine proceeded to scope out the situation.

Okay, the water has to be turned off under the sink, I know that... But of course the @#$%&©*$# hot water knob is older than Steven Tyler so it won't shut down all the way... Hmmm... Guess that miniscule trickle of hot water won't be enough to scald an ant... So I proceed to pry the decorative cap off the base of the handle, exposing another cap-like object with a philips-head screw in the center of it... Hmmm... I know what to do with that... Off it comes, cap and screw, exposing the...


CARTRIDGE!!! (insert choir)

Here's where the fun actually begins. I'm grabbing that sucker THIS way, and I'm grabbing that sucker THAT way, and I'm twisting and turning and stripping and grappling and... Wait a minute... Did I just say stripping?!!?

Well, how about BENDING??!! Oh yeah, and what about the nice round sleeve that the cartridge slides down into... Is that supposed to be shaped like an EGG???! Ooops...

Ok, so now, I'm cursing in Turkish, which is a fine cursing language, but that doesn't seem to be helping. Mind you, I'm feeling incompetant at this point, having studied faucetry so long and hard at Sears, and I realize that I'm going to have to (GASP!) ASK SOMEONE FOR HELP!!!! which goes against my very being, seeing as how men are genetically coded to:

  • A: wield pliers,
  • B: hunt for meat, and
  • C:\drivearoundtheblock14timeshopingthatthenexttimearoundthe-

And so, that's what I did. My neighbor Big Charlie, (father of Little Charlie, you can't make this stuff up...) came over and with nary a snort of derision, proceeded to slip the sleeve that surrounded the CARTRIDGE (choir music) along with the actual spout part (I think it's called a spout) off by hand, exposing the mechanism in all its glory, making it much easier to remove.

Mind you, he had to fight with the CARTRIDGE (choir mus...oh NEVERMIND!!!) to get it out of the mangled sleeve, but no further harm was done. Now that I had the offending part in my greasy little hands, I could ask the dude down at Home Depot for exactly what I needed, as in, "Could I have one of THESE" (holding it under his nose), thus displaying my vast knowledge of home improvement, faucetry (GOD I love that word...) and the Turkish language.

And so, after thanking Big Charlie, that is what I did. And nor did the H.D. dude laugh at me, as he led me to the sacred sanctuary of CARTRIDGES (choir music this time) which was a lockable cage (so as to protect the highly valuable and talismanic CARTRIDGES from pilferage; God knows if folks could fondle and ogle the CARTRIDGES they would certainly slip them under their tunics and steal away to worship their false idols (See Father Johns Confessional Page) in private, perhaps letting their neighbors gaze upon them for their healing properties...) Where was I? Oh yeah, the lockable cage...

And so, I brought that sucker home and...

Wait a second...

I can hear you asking right about now, what does this shit have to do with Cracker? and I have to admit, it has absolutely nothing to do with Cracker. But Jenny asked me to do a news item for the web page, and I haven't seen Cracker for weeks, so what the hell. Plus, it's 5:09 in the morning, and I'm a little punchy, so I figure I may as well amuse myself and torture Cracker fans all at the same time.

I mean, with no tourdates til the Athens Ga. Pitch-A-Tent (doo-dah...) Acoustic Thing on June 26 and North Carolina / Washington D.C. on July 4 / 5, well, there ain't nuthin' much to write about.

I went to see Blondie at Madison Square Garden, and my friend Mike Mesaros hipped me to a better way of saute-ing broccoli rabe during a dinner break on a Scott Kempner session I was doing at Coyote Studios in Brooklyn, (something about blanching and shocking... I don't know...) but this faucet thing's really been bugging me.

Oh yeah, and so, when I went to put the new CARTRIDGE in, I realized that I had %$#*©&!-ed up the sleeve so badly that it won't GO in. Ever tried to wash a large saute pan in a bathroom sink? Pretty it isn't. I guess I'll be calling Big Charlie first thing in the afternoon tomorrow. Maybe after General Hospital...

That OK, Jenny?