There is something in nature that hates a sink.

So, there is going to be a unit-by-unit inspection of the apartment complex I live in. Some history, for those who don't know -- a year ago, Noteponymous and I were the on-site caretakers, but we quit, for a variety of reasons I won't go into right now. Suffice it to say, the property manager and I do not like each other much.

So, in the pre-inspection cleaning, we discover that the sink has been leaking. A lot. Everything is soaked in stagnant water, and there is black slime mold growing on everything. (I know, I know, how could I let it get that way? All I can say is we're busy people, and, frankly, under the sink is not the kind of place I think about on a daily basis.) Not wanting my old boss in my apartment any more than neccessary, we got the OK to do the repair ourselves. Er, myself -- Notepo stated pretty clearly that hir role in this whole under-the-sink drama was fulfilled by the actual cleaning of the guk, and making the phone call.

P.O. in hand it's off to the hardware store. (I really don't look like I belong in a hardware store. I'm wearing my new winter coat, a Swedish Army surplus rifleman's parka with beaded fringe chicken guts on the shoulder, a modified yin-yang covering the back, a cloud chamber diagram on one side and beadwork and brass on the other. the diagram is a pion colliding with an antiproton and creating two electon-positron pairs. I kind of stand out in the flannel-and-beergut world of the upper Midwest.) In and out in three minutes -- a bunch of PVC pipes, a new faucet, a couple of water lines.

You ever tried to repair a sink with a four year old helping you? (That's Mini-Epo, not NotEpo, if yer wondering.)

Apartment complexes are not like normal houses. Down the wall that divides the kitchen and the bathroom are two large drainpipes, one for graywater, one for sewage. Each set of pipes serves all three floors, and I'm on the first. Now, when you have the sink pipes all apart, and the upstairs neighbor turns hir dishwasher on, there is a moment of incredible fear. The certainty that your upside down form is about to be splooged with boiling hot, filthy water.

Heart stops.

Pipes rattle.

But it passes. Sigh of relief.

And then, the metal nut that holds the pipe to the sink, the last thing to be tightened, snaps in two in my hands.

An hour and a half later, one more trip to the hardware store, and one recruitment of a neighbor later, Epo's got a working sink again.