Look, it could have been much worse. Half way through the operation I realized that if I broke something, and water was gushing out of something I broke, I didn’t have a proper plan for that. I know where the house shut-off valve is, in theory, but it’s in The Closet We Do Not Open. I’m pretty sure.

So, here’s how we got to this point. Actually I got to that point and I’m dragging you along with me in hindsight. You don’t have to learn poor plumbing with me unless you want to kill a few minutes with an accident that didn’t happen to you.

So, I had this palatial bathroom installed in my very small basement over two years ago. What I didn’t know then was that I should have just turned the entire basement into a bathroom, because the proportions of the space suggest that it should be a some kind of studio or an even more giant bathroom now. My contractor was negligent and the final insult, among several final insults, was the hot water setting on the shower.

Oh, how I pondered this problem. It spent a year on the list of things I would ask a plumber to do when I have a plumbing budget.

In the second year, I stared at the shower handle for an unnaturally long time until I noticed it had screws. I have a screwdriver, so this was a thing I could try. Removing the flange(?) or the thing that surrounds the handle accomplished nothing. Some stuff slid around, but there was no switch or blinky button that said, “This will make it hotter now.”

I gave up.

As we entered year three, I complained to the correct person about my shower annoyance. We must have really gotten into the boring end of a conversation for me to launch into, “I have this super roomy shower that I cannot use in the winter and can’t really fully enjoy except after I have mowed the grass or been forced into some other rare, sweaty event.”

This person suggested I watch some youtube videos and adjust the settings as the videos suggest. All my other faucets will produce scalding water, so logically, this is the thing to try.

Did I watch videos of my exact shower assembly? Of course not! I watched a few, though, and they ranged from Likely to Lose Track of Parts to Easy Enough for a Large Child.

I loosened the set screw and immediately lost it inside of the faucet handle. This seemed like improbably bad luck. It also felt like a warning–this would be the Unfortunate Kind of Shower Problem.

In the videos, the handle was either already removed, or it slid politely off the wall. My handle didn’t budge. Did the screw have a little brother in there that I couldn’t see or know about? Was this the part when I was going to break the whole thing and flood my big, stupid bathroom with my big, stupid idea? Perhaps I should have tried for more than one second to find the water shut off for the shower.


I watched another video and this time it was the exact model of my shower hardware. Huzzah!! The fellow used a flathead screwdriver to gently persuade the handle to come off. I tried this. Nope. I walked in circles for three minutes, because the shower is very spacious, as I may have mentioned. I then walked directly at the handle, called it a very rude name and pulled. It came off in my hand and the water began to drizzle from above.

I worked fast, trying to push and pull the plastic gizmo that was supposed to allow the valve to travel to Actual Hot Water Land. A couple of emergency towels were employed, along with more swearing.

I was getting a shower while working on my shower. This felt highly unprofessional.

At last, I realized that the handle could still do its job and finagled it back into place long enough to shut of the water. This worked a lot better than wet fingers with zero leverage.

The set screw plinked to the floor. It was all, possibly, going to work out. I yanked the handle all the way to the left and was thrilled to find that if I wanted to, I could now scald my face off.

These things are such a gamble, but every time I do a homeowner thing that works out, I just bust my buttons with pride.

Maybe you will consider reading the directions if you find yourself in Shower Trouble. Maybe don’t be like me.


I may have mentioned that there is this book you can buy. Will I ever get the next one out? Is there a tutorial for that?

Thurber-My Life and Hard Times 1933

Plenty of Time, Inc.

My favorite way to manage time is to pretend clocks don’t exist. It will not make you a millionaire, but it might make you a little happier on a spare afternoon.


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