Jimmy the plumber showed up over the weekend with his assistant, Chris. They came by to work on the gas lines and to make me laugh. The two of them are Greene County’s own Martin & Lewis. And like the original version, this pair is only really funny because the things they say to each other are so dumb. “You really screwed up that elbow joint, bub,” Jimmy will tease Chris. “No, I didn’t—you did,” Chris answers. It goes back and forth like this with dopey putdowns and lame comebacks the entire time they’re working and—I can’t really explain why--it cracks me up.
I explained to Jim I wanted the stove hooked up and I wanted him to make sure the heater worked OK and that the propane lamp was operational. The lines underneath the camper appeared to be intact but the end near the propane tank had been snapped off at some point over the years.
Jim assumed his supervisor position inside the camper and called out directions to Chris. Chris quickly spliced a nipple onto the line near the tank and then went inside to re-connect the stove I salvaged from the camper at Deb’s place.
Jimmy kept voicing his concern over the heater. “I dunno about that… I kinda hate thinking of you turning that thing on and then going to sleep.” I assured him I’d never do that—I’d just heat up the place, turn off the gas and climb under the covers on a chilly night. “Can’t you just get a little space heater,” he asked. “But what if I’m in the middle of nowhere without power?”
“Ehhhhhh…. I just feel kinda weird about it. And that lamp—the line for that runs up through the wall. There could be a hairline spilt and you’d never know it ‘til you went kerblewy! Especially if Chris has anything to do with it. Right, Chris?”
“Ha-ha, very funny.”
I went back inside the house to straighten up the place to get ready for my friend Nadine to drop by and, after half an hour or so, went back to the camper. “Look alive—here comes the homeowner,” Jimmy cackled. “I am alive; you’re not…” “Nobody’s gonna be alive if we light the stove with the smell of gas we got inside here.”
Yes, it turns out there were leaks in the line they hadn’t been able to see before turning on the propane tank. Chris had discovered them by crawling under the camper. The smell of gas was powerful indeed. Just then Nadine turned up and I told Jimmy to go ahead and do whatever he thought needed to be done while Nadine and I went to lunch to talk about the camper for her blog.
When we got back to the house Jimmy gave me the prognosis and result in one fell swoop: the line to the lamp appeared to have a leak inside the wall. Since I told him I didn’t want to open up any of the interior he just bypassed that altogether. So I’ve got a nice looking lamp on the wall that doesn’t work, but that also will not kill me.
As for the heater, Jim made an executive, and rather brilliant decision. Since, as he pointed out, the heater was merely a flame inside the vertical contraption on the wall, if I needed heat, why not just turn on the stove for a few minutes to warm up the place? He demonstrated this hypothesis by turning on all three burners. Within minutes the interior of the camper was sweltering. I was sold!
So now I have just one, completely new, single purpose gas line running uninterruptedly from the propane tank to the stove (and heater and light, if need be) which should keep me from going kerblewy!
“No, you are.”