The Purple Brick Road

Life in the single lane can mean a trip down the purple brick road.

The road winds its way over a small island to my home where self-sufficiency is not only an asset, it’s essential.

Purple is the result of pink and blue.  Pink jobs are ones I don’t mind doing.  Blue jobs are ones that make me reconsider the benefits of partnering with a male.

My partnered friends remind me how pink and blue lines frequently crossfire into streaks of static-ridden purple.  Patience can be hot pink when looking for the on-switch in their partner.

God gives us brains to create these wondrous inventions, but forgot to give me the ability to deal with stress gracefully when they don’t work.

After much wasted time, this last Friday, I conceded that two blue jobs needed a man’s touch.  I couldn’t attach the power head to my vacuum and my kitchen water pressure was defunct.  I called my friend Stan, a fix-it fanatic.  I sped over to his shop with my vacuum cleaner.

“Damned cleaning lady didn’t tell me she broke the power head on my vacuum.  I see she tried to glue it or something, but something’s missing.”  That was the extent of my ability to help Stan.

“When did this happen?”

“Years ago.  Probably when the damned thing was still under warranty.”

“Don’t you vacuum?  How come you just noticed this now?”

“Stan!  You’re reminding me why I’m single.”

Stan tried a part off an old vacuum that he had stashed in his little-shop-of-many-things.  Of course they weren’t compatible.  However, we discovered the part that was missing.

“You have to find a vacuum repair shop somewhere off island.  Even then, who knows if that part is sold separately.”

Stan doesn’t like defeat.  He foolishly asked, “What’s wrong with your kitchen tap?”

“It’s lost pressure.  I took off the screening to see if there was a buildup of crud.  There was none so I’m stymied.”

“I’ll come by this afternoon and look at it,” he said.

Stan arrived dangerously close to his nap time.  His demeanor warned me.  The muttering that accompanied slices being taken off plastic tubing did not sound compatible with success.   My faucet stumped him.

He sat on the floor in front of my sink holding the disassembled tap.  “I don’t know, kiddo.  I think I just added to your problem.  It’s way past my nap time.  I’m afraid you’ll have to buy a new faucet and gawd knows how you are going to get in that space to connect it.”

Stan walked to his truck mumbling his apology.  “Hey Stan!” I tried to be cheery. “At least I know what has to be done now.”

I donned my purple plumber’s vest and reassembled half of the parts of the tap.  Somehow, I bypassed the obstruction.  At least the remaining tubing, connected to the faucet by a rubber band, provides water for the kitchen sinks.   The pressure is amazing.  It provides a shower, a wall washing, a floor cleaning and a new hair do with the tiniest engagement of the uni-lever on the faucet.

After the clean-up, I spent an hour on the Internet looking for vacuum and faucet parts.

On Saturday, during a planned walk with two women friends, H. and K., I anticipated having the opportunity to bemoan my plight.  I learned that H., besides managing a major deck problem, is hauling a sizable load of soil from the front of her house around the back to her garden – probably in a purple wheel barrow.  My imagination endowed her with purple gardening gloves as she meditatively merged compost with the fresh, fragrant humus.

K. would be my second hope for some commiseration.  She showed up at the trail head with wet hair, “I just got out of the shower.  I’ve been insulating the crawl space all morning.”  I heard the padlock close on my mouth.

No woman is supposed to do that horrible job.   Why is insulation pink?  Who made that decision?  “Yeah, George, let’s dye it pink.  It’s worth a try!  We gotta get these women doin’ it somehow!”  No, George, I need my women friends to insulate me, not some ugly crawl space.

To put a further clamp on my mouth, K. said, “I’m going to stain the outside of my house on Sunday.”

Hopefully the staining went well.  I had a guiltless, Sunday lunch with J.  We discussed a business strategy that involves major changes to her life.  In order to make these changes, she used her purple planner and rearranged the lives of at least four men.   There may be more because this is one woman who commandeered a force to eradicate tent caterpillars from her apple trees with herself leading the attack.

After Sunday’s lunch when I returned home, a motorcycle pulled into my yard.  “Anybody home?”  N. was pulling off her helmet and leathers with an invitation for a walk.

“Doctor told me that walking is not an option, it’s a prescription.”  I quickly grabbed my walking shoes the moment I heard the sadness in her voice.  We took solace in Nature as she revealed her challenges.

Back home after the walk, we settled into comfy chairs in my yard and devoured ripe mangos with gusto and major messiness.  We blue skied a list of trips that N. could take to put the pee back into her passion.    Oops…”p”.

The afternoon was waning and another purple job demanded my attention.  The lawn needed mowing.  N. helped carry the dirty dishes into the house.  “What’s this?” she asked pointing at the vacuum sprawled in the breakfast nook with the broken half of the faucet beside it.

Ah, the relief of reciting my tale of woe.  “Oh, don’t do all that shit!”  she said, spoken like a true purple biker-chick.

In one minute she told me exactly where to take the vacuum, where to get the parts for my faucet and who could advise on assembling those stubborn pieces of plumbing – all available here on our home island.

A pink and blue bruise instantly transformed into a majestic amethyst crown.

On second thought, before I get too caught up in claiming the crown of holy purpleness, I’ll wait until I can turn on the tap without pressure washing the gold trim off the Rosenthal.

Photo from:

61 thoughts on “The Purple Brick Road

  1. Excellent progress on your purple tasks, Amy.

    Really loved: K. would be my second hope for some commiseration. She showed up at the trail head with wet hair, “I just got out of the shower. I’ve been insulating the crawl space all morning.” I heard the padlock close on my mouth.

    I’ve never insulated a crawl space . . . but I have removed 50 year old insulation from the attic of a farmhouse. On a very hot, humid day.

    Did I mention that the insulation was covered with 50 years of dust and debris? That transferred and stuck to me? Like dirty, black, sandy, glue?

    Or that I couldn’t take a shower in the bathroom . . . because BFF had ripped it down to the studs and tossed everything out the window into the rented dumpster and was now in the process of jackhammering the cast iron tub?

    Instead of showering in style, I got to rinse off in a shaky portable shower stall in the basement. If you dropped the soap, and bent to pick it up, the shower stall would rock back and forth and threaten to topple over. Even so, getting rid of the accumulated grime from the attick made it one of the BEST showers I’ve ever had in my life. 😀

    • Aha…so you have some degree of violet! I completely identify with all the blessings of a hot shower – especially when it’s followed up by a clean bed. I saw K. a few hours ago. She’s jamming out – getting her ex-husband to install the new bulb for the rear signal in her vehicle. I couldn’t resist teasing her. Her retort is, “Well you could call him, too.” Funny, though, I don’t quite get the same response as K. 😀

  2. A very good post. Not because it was a great big tale or story but just because it was stuff going on and you dealt with it. Or at least tried to. No grumbling or complaining (at least not in the post). No swearing (at least not in the post). Just soldiering on. Biting the lip and pressing on. At the end of the day; eat drink and be merry.
    Thanks for showing us how it’s done. Peace be with you.

    • Oddly enough, my frustration comes out when a business transaction is flubbed. Having been in business, I know the value of good service. It seems the tables have turned. I have to accommodate business!? On these matters, my friend Stan was able to explain what the problems are – so I’m off to deal with parts and pieces. I’ll find someone with the right wrench to connect the faucet! 😀

  3. Love this post – so entertaining and well written. Also like your reference to the pink and blue jobs of the different sexes!

    As a single woman, I tend to have to do both too, but luckily I love most DIY things (apart from plumbing…and I’d NEVER touch electrics).

    Being purple is definitely the way forward 😀 xx

    • Good for you, Chloe. Enjoying DIY projects goes a long way towards being purple. Going through each experience once is a gateway to confidence. I’m amazed at how much women know about these things. I avoided home ownership as a single person for quite some time because I thought I knew nothing about fixing anything. I’m now carrying some scars. I’m still learning how profoundly houses have personalities.

  4. “The pressure is amazing. It provides a shower, a wall washing, a floor cleaning and a new hair do with the tiniest engagement of the uni-lever on the faucet.”


    An aversion to plumbing, mowing, etc., is one of the many reasons that single moi chooses to continue renting.

    And hey, is it coincidence that a fine homemade sangria has a purplish hue?

  5. *chuckling*

    I don’t cook. Himself does.
    I don’t shop. Himself does.
    I do mow lawns, climb onto the roof to fix the bathroom vent, crawl into cupboards to fix the kitchen sink, paint, operate power tools (I LOVE drills….omgosh! I could drill forever!), and drive a fork lift.
    Yes, I know how to change the oil in the car and sharpen the blade on the lawn mower.

    YES, I burn pasta.

    But I can bake like you wouldn’t believe!
    Somethin’ about the top of that stove and me don’t jive…..

    Ya think we have a bit of a role reversal goin’ on around this joint?

    • You may have a lot of role reversal goin’ on, Mel, but I bet you also have a lot of communication happenin’!! Don’t think roles are reversed effectively without good care and consideration.

      • I think we have this thing called ‘be who you are’ goin’ on. I’m not the least bit ‘threatened’ by his culinary expertise. He’s wayyyyyy okay with me bonding with power tools.
        ‘Cept when I get the drill out.
        He does get a bit weirded out and stands in front of walls he’s attempting to save.

        *shrugs* Personal issue with saving walls, I guess?

  6. Multiple chuckles here. Too many good one-liners. Clever, Amy.

    Hey, I have to tell you: I admire you and your friends. I would touch a blue or purple job for anything. I did at one time. I broke (read totally ruined) too many things. Now I stick to what i can do. No risk. And if the blue and purple jobs don’t get done, that’s the way it is.

    Blog on …

    Sending you an email now.

  7. This reminded me of a recent blue job that I had to do, my boyfriend/ex/ promised he’ll do it. I have no idea what he did, but days later I ended up without computer because I got a virus thanks to his good job on installing new anti-virus program. One thing I’ve learned, if you want something to be done the way you want it, you just have to do it yourself, and if it’s not up to you possibilities, make sure that you supervise :). It was a nice story Amy, I hope the vacuum and faucet are now ok! Have a good day/ night.

    • I’m not on solid ground just yet. However, neither stops me from cooking and cleaning…DARN IT!! 😀 Yes, Blaga, I’m afraid I am the only one who touches my laptop. I want to know what to do and how to do it so that I am not left behind and full of fear about maintaining my computer. Thanks for your comments, Blaga.

  8. I’m laughing so hard! I live in an area where I can hire those things I don’t know how to do, but oh my, it took me some time to find those who were trustworthy and affordable, Amy. Good story!

    • Reliability is a very important (and marketable) asset in my area as well, Leslie. Quality people are so busy it’s hard to get a piece of their time. I have to hope that my poor little house is still held together by more than elastics and duct tape when it’s time for me to sell! Seriously, I’m fortunate that my place is relatively low maintenance. The work I do contributes to my physical well-being.

  9. The post’s title already brought me to memory lane at once! Remember Elton John’s ‘Yellow Brick Road’? Incidentally, even the post is an excellent idea for song lyrics!

    • Exactly, Poch. I would be hard pressed to forget anything by Elton John. He was part of my growing up. I remember watching his first appearance in N. America on TV and saying (since I was such an expert – pshaw!) “That guy is gonna go far!”

      Hope your computer problems have lessened. Thanks to you, dear man, I’ve downloaded “Prey” – a great concept for people who haul laptops and various devices around.

  10. I love, love, love this. I have the man but just let’s say I try to get as far away as possible when he’s in the midst of his handiness. The language is about as bad as that on the golf course. It ain’t pretty. :0)

  11. Women can do much, much more than they think they can. We lack confidence and many of us were raised under the rigidity of adhering to pink and blue roles. It’s enormously freeing to realize that there are few “blue” tasks a woman cannot do!

    • Good to hear from you, SDS – you talented artist! A woman friend of mine is a highly successful real estate salesperson. When she was younger, she was a fisherwoman. She had her own boat, et al. When I met her, I asked her who did her maintenance. She looked at me with indignation, “I do, of course!”

      When I marveled over her cleverness, she said, “You know, men make everything appear more complicated that it actually is. When they fix something, they keep it a big mystery so others will think they are big heroes. But it’s all simple logic. If “a” is not broken, you look at “b”, etc.. It’s a process of elimination.”

      I dusted that concept off when my hot water blew. Then I got on the internet to find out what I had to do.

      However, doesn’t mean I like doing it! 😀

    • I’ve just been to the Bardo, Jamie, and thank you for inviting me to float with you for a while. What a site. I have visited before and, at that time of naivete, I believed that WordPress would magically connect me with any blogs under your name. I remember Ann from a year ago…it must have been through you. Nevertheless, I have just enjoyed two hours on the Bardo and reveled in its quality and spirituality. I’m subscribed.

  12. Hi souldipper,
    I loved your post, had a laugh while reading, you are very brave to tackle the plumbing, I couldn’t think of anything worse. But it is amazing what can be learned by doing all these things yourself. Also the sense of achievement, that is the best part I feel.

  13. I admire you, soul dipper! Plumbing is my least favorite DIY– and here I sit, thinking maybe I’ll tackle the leaky faucet in my parent’s kitchen!

    • Hey SDS, I’ll ask the plumbing gods to guide your every move. What a great daughter. Found any of those breakfast tacos yet? Can’t leave Texas without ’em! I’m waiting for a description of the taste. Now there’s a challenge. Harder than plumbing?

  14. I like the suggestion above that you make this into a song but of course, Purple Rain and Purple Haze are taken. We’ve got a long list of tasks here that we must begin to tackle this weekend.

  15. Love it Amy : ) I could picture all of this playing out… i am lucky to have a partner (woman) who taught herself the blue jobs as a single mother that could not afford to keep hiring trades people… I am fortunate to have my ex husband as a friend and we often trade pink for blue. I have a faithful employee who is male and good at physical work that I cannot do… and I have friends who can do the pink jobs when in need…. what a colourful world we live in.
    Yes you could have asked me on the walk even though I did finish the ulgy insultion! Much love, Karen (K)

    • I was amazed you even wanted to come on our walk after doing that insulation! As we’ve said before – you have ordered the cake and happily gobble it down at will! I swear the icing is purple! 😀 But today, that ex-husband of yours very kindly came over and installed my new faucet. Guess what – not one swear word and I even managed to do the right things as a helper. I learned lots, but most of all, I learned that he touches my heart with his sincerity about calling any time I have a problem. Honestly, it takes a little time for the lump to go away and for the tears to quit blurring my vision after he drives away with a big wave.

  16. I’m impressed – my house would probably crumble into the ground if my husband weren’t around. Actually he does the cooking too, so I’d be sitting in the rubble of my home looking skinny. What can I say…I’m not a domestic person…my talents lie elsewhere 🙂

  17. I am not a fan of blue jobs. I marvel at the purple women, like my sister in law, pushing their mowers, grilling for the kids, and owning their own tool sets!

    • Aren’t some women incredible? I marvel at them, too. Some of my women friends have very straight forward advice that works like a charm. Plus they even have some tools to go with it. But then, Kristy, there are those jobs that require strength that I simply don’t have. Like plumbing!

  18. Hilarious, Amy and oh so true! We all like to think of ourselves as resourceful and able to tackle any job that comes along, but the truth is that for some of the stuff that needs doing it generally needs a man’s touch. Sigh. But, even as your post illustrates, men don’t always have the touch either. So, it becomes a matter of experience, knowledge and skill. Your friend, N., obviously had the magic needed — and isn’t it amazing that she dropped by needing the magic you could provide in her time of need? Hope you’re having a fantastic weekend. See the game last night?

    • Hey, Kath! I had to hear the scores as people came into the theater. I screamed so hard during the hockey at the Olympics that I think I would destroy my vocal chords on this one!! 😀 Thanks for your description – you really amaze me. Am having a fab weekend – not getting any writing done, but lots of other good stuff. Off to dinner in five minutes.

  19. You own a purple plumbers vest?? I’m soooo jealous…

    I live for DIY TV….Home depot is one of my hangouts..

    and you thought I just sat around eating bon-bons while getting a pedicure didn’t you……(that’s scheduled for Thursdays)…

  20. Amy, how talented you are! I did love this post so. I have learned to do many of the blue jobs since my husband passed away, I do not always love doing them, but I am able and I do. I am also learning many things as I help building the homes for Habitat for Humanity. Last month I learned how to mud and tape. Who would of thought that at my age I could learn to do those things. The customer service here is not good at all, it is hard to even get someone to call you back, now when I have to hire the job out, I use someone who comes recommended and even then respnose time is not what you would like it to be. Think how many people you have made smile with this post! What a blessing!

    • Thank you for your visit, Dee. I didn’t realize you were helping with H for H. That’s great. It really is amazing what we find ourselves learning at our – ahem – more mature stage in life. I like the new generation of so-called seniors! May we just keep on growing ’til our toes curl up and quit working.

  21. Amy – this has made my day … chuckling out loud – not something I do too often … I am with you … pink all the way for me … I’ve been bruised with blue and purple jobs – and stay clear of them as far as I can …

    Since I do like multitasking … and this seems to meet the requirements ~~~

    “… It provides a shower, a wall washing, a floor cleaning and a new hair do with the tiniest engagement of the uni-lever on the faucet. …”

    ~~ this along with a number of one liners … provided me with a lighthearted spirit!!

    I am glad you have clues to remedy the situation ~~

    • Thanks, Becca, for the visit. I enjoy sharing some jobs, but there are times when I do just want to be on the pink side! A big part of my up-bringing was to be self-sufficient. That can be viewed as being independent, but I’m very happy to have someone help out. The man who came and did the plumbing job will be given a few loaves of my especially yummy banana bread.

  22. Hi Amy .. loved this mix and match and meld and mend … I do hope all is well – though I can imagine the kitchen shower …. interesting mess!

    Love the story … and can exactly imagine that in a small community island … and the sharing that comes of being in a mini disaster zone … and the nap time for some … frustrating when we know it’s a-coming …

    Cheers for now .. Hilary

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