Plumbing and Chinese

Of all the household repairs, I like plumbing the best.  I think it’s genetically programmed into me. My parents both are adept as designing piping systems in nuclear power plants so I think it is natural that I like to fit pipes together and move fluid from one place to another.  If I had a lot of time, I would do all the plumbing work in the house.  I’ve replaced wax rings on toilets in this house and I’ve repaired a number of faucets.  Plumbing involves so many interesting materials: there is the PVC piping and the chemical welding, there is copper piping and the solder with the blowtorch and then there is (if one is brave enough) the gas piping. This weekend, I replaced an incorrectly installed drain from our laundry tub.  We didn’t notice that it was installed backwards until Saturday morning when it started leaking.


I bought Vince a five pound bag of gummi bears.  When I started working with Vince to improve his Chinese grade, I started to introduce to him all the habits I have from years of being a good (a.k.a. anal) student.  I taught him about calendars and how to write down when everything is due and how to not leave everything until the last minute.  I taught him about flash cards and how to use them effectively.  There are study habits which involve using a timer and a set reward and there are certain rituals that I invoke to delineate “study time” from non-study time.  Jeremy watched me teach all this to Vince and asked if anyone taught all these quirky habits to me.  No one taught these habits to me, I’ve always thought that everyone knew how to study.  It never occurred to me that anyone needed to be taught how to study.

Anyways, Vince is working a little everyday on his Chinese.  Most days, the studying goes fine.  Some days (maybe once or twice a week) he’s really mad about studying and rolls his eyes at me. His final is tomorrow.  He told me this afternoon he feels really well prepared.  The gummis are his daily reward for reviewing his lessons, he gets only one at the end of each daily study session.  I told him when he gets through the whole bag, he’ll be fluent.  OK, maybe not quite.  Maybe 2 bags?  3?

One thought on “Plumbing and Chinese”

  1. I don't know whether you know this or not.

    Mom and Dad used our spare time to do some subcontracting plumbing work for house remodeling contractors. Usually, we got paid $400.00 per job. It wasn't bad at all for one whole-evening-work considering that was ~20 years ago.

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