Sip and run

“Dada, Dada! Dada, are you awake yet?” Mason asked, sitting two inches from my face. “Huh? What? Mason, go back to bed,” I replied. “Dada, it’s the weekend! Do you have to go to work? Or are you off this weekend?” Mason asked.

Still in a somewhat deep sleep, I tried to remember if I was on call this weekend or not. In our company, my co-workers and I try to alternate weekends, which gives my father some downtime during the weekends to get away from the business. 

“I may have to work, Mason, depending if there is an emergency or not,” I replied. 

Still with my eyes closed, I could feel Mason’s demeanor change from happy to sad instantly .I opened my left eye to see what he was doing, and he was sitting there with his head down and this fake frown he makes from time to time to get his way. 

“Mason, I may have to go out to take care of some things today, but remember we are going over to Aunt Meryl and Uncle Joe’s tonight for dinner,” I said. 

Mason’s face lit up, and his body language changed instantly. He began to jump around the bed and began to wake up Norman and Mama. Not only does Mason love to hang with his aunt and uncle, but he really loves to spend quality time with their kids, Conor and Emma. 

“OK, OK, Mason stop jumping and calm down. I will go and make some pancakes for us. Let’s go,” I said. 

So up out and out of bed went, and we began our daily morning routine of brushing our teeth and washing up for the morning. I took a look at my phone to see if there were any messages, but the coast was clear. I made my way into the kitchen and began to make preparations for our pancake breakfast. Just as the pancake batter hit the griddle, you guessed it... 

The first call of the day came in. I quickly made breakfast for the family, suited up for work and headed out the door with my briefcase in one hand, a coffee in the other and a pancake hanging out of my mouth. 

“Love you guys! I’ll see you in a little while,” I mumbled, trying not to let the delicious pancake fall out of my mouth. 

“Don’t take too long, Dada! Be quick,” Mason said. 

I smiled and went to work. One call turned into several calls., and I certainly wasn’t home quickly. I got home just in time before we had to leave for Joe and Meryl’s. I quickly showered up, got dressed and out the door we all went.

We arrived at their house and Mason was of course the first one in the door. Joe and Meryl are always so easy going and welcoming, it’s always a pleasure to spend time with them. We try to do once a month. Joe and I especially enjoy hanging with one another because it gives us a chance to become wonderful beer and wine connoisseurs and tinker with projects he’s working on around the house.

Sometimes, it can be quite comical. We made our way into the kitchen, and there Joe was pouring a fancy tall bottle of beer into a beer thistle glass. 

“Sean, you must try this delicious beer,” Joe said, as he held the glass up to the light with a big smile. 

“You’re not on call?” Joe asked. 

“I am, but it’s usually quiet on Saturday evenings. I think I tackled all of the plumbing problems for one day,” I replied jokingly. 

I then grabbed the glass and toasted with Joe. I put my lips to the glass and watched the foam head of the beer got closer to my mouth. Just as the beer touched my lips, you guessed it ... a work call came in. I put down the beer and called the customer back instantly. 

“Hi, Sean it’s Steve Smith from Tappan, New York. I have a major problem underneath my kitchen sink. I tried to shut off the angle stop to dismantle the kitchen sink, and now I have water spraying everywhere!” he said in a panic.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Tappan, New York is exactly where Joe and Meryl live, and I was about three minutes from his house. So, what’s the problem? Well for starters, I didn’t have my tools with me, and my truck was about an hour away, which would have taken longer because commercial vehicles are not allowed on the parkway.

“Steve, I’m actually at a dinner party right now let me see what I can do to get over there as quickly as possible,” I said. 

I hung up the phone, let out a few choice curse words, and re-entered the house. 

“You have to run out and take the call?” Joe asked. 

"Yeah, the only thing is that I have to head back to the shop to get my truck and tools. It’s going to take me a while, so don’t wait on me for dinner," I replied. 

“Sean, I think I may have enough material and tools here in my shop downstairs that you could us,.” Joe said. 

“That would be perfect!” I replied. 

Downstairs, Joe took out his tool box, which was filled with everything I needed; pipe dope, flux, solder, fittings, cleaning brushes,etc. You name it, he had it. I quickly packed everything up into my car and off I went to the job.

Before I knew it, the job was completed, and I was back at their house with a cold beer in my hand and a warm dinner on the table!

The following day I knew I had to take some action and get a small back-up toolbox together of my own. I ran out to the supply house and got all of the necessary items one would need to make a quick repair. I now have this backup toolbox sitting in the back of our car, so in the event an emergency should occur — and we all know these emergencies will come up, especially at that moment when you are out and about at a family event — I will be ready to go. I encourage all of you, if you haven’t already, to go out and get yourself a similar setup with all of the materials you think you may need for a quick emergency fix. I highly recommend filling that toolbox with ball valves, angle valves and caps. 

If you enjoyed this article, please check out my new book, “I’ve Seen It All.” You can find ion my website.

Sean McCormack is co-owner of BMC Plumbing and Heating Inc. He can be reached by website; email; phone 845-596-7770; Twitter @seantheplumber1; and Periscope @seantheplumber.

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