I wanted a shower head like my sister, Miss Priss, has in her basement bathroom. Being the odd relative, I am never allowed to stay on the main floor. I don’t mind being hidden away in the basement because I really like that shower head. It’s one of those fancy jobs with a hose wand that can be lifted out of the bracket.

Having suffered yet another birthday in late November, I was able to justify the purchase as a birthday present to myself. I further justified a new drain thingie and a new tub spigot because everything was 25 years old. Other than rust and an appalling lack of water efficiency, all of these parts worked fine. Except the drain but my plumber friend who came out to install all of these parts solved the drain problem to my everlasting joy.

Five days into playing with my new hose wand, I heard an ominous C-R-A-C-K. This was followed by water spewing from the area of the fitting where the new shower head attached to the shower arm. I won’t go into any details here because I had soap all over my body and the language wasn’t pretty. Suffice it to say that I wondered why I had messed with perfectly good parts. After I mopped and corralled the water, I got up on the edge of the tub to inspect my new Aqua Source shower head. It had split across the middle of the PLASTIC fitting. Made in China. Why is everything plastic and made in China?

shower head-5963
Can you believe this?


I took the offending shower head with hose wand back to Lowes for a refund. Returning to the plumbing department, I was tempted to sit in the aisle as I opened all their boxes of shower heads trying to find one that did not have plastic fittings. I decided against drawing that kind of attention to myself. Ultimately, I chose a Moen without the hose wand just in case the weight of the wand caused the fitting to crack. The Moen looked and felt like the fitting might be metal but I wasn’t a hundred percent sure. It’s a cinch the packaging never says a thing about fittings. It apparently does not occur to the manufacturers that it just might matter to us.

I did not want to ask my plumber friend to drive all the way from the beach just to install a shower head, so I decided that maybe I could install the thing. The instructions were very straightforward:

  • Remove existing shower head (I had already done this in order to return the cracked piece of crap to Lowes).
  • Hand tighten shower head to shower arm but do not over-tighten.

Additionally, it said thread tape was not recommended and thread tape has always been a source of major stress to me. Hand tightening sounded like it was within the realm of my skill set. No tools or genius involved.

However, just thinking about the installation caused me endless anxiety. It locked up my shoulders bad enough that I had to scurry off to my chiropractor. It took THREE days to work up the nerve to attempt the installation. Pathetic.

The hardest part of the installation was removing all that thread tape. I had to pick at it with an Xacto knife. The best part? The fitting didn’t leak after hand tightening. The worst part? It didn’t extend far enough from the shower wall. I had to shower inside my soap caddy. I tried to adjust it but it wouldn’t budge so I called on Poppie the next day. It took two hands but he fixed it. What a disgusting amount of drama just to get rid of rust and conserve a little water.