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The Sins of Those Who Came Before (TESTHEAD)

On October 31, 2014, in Syndicated, by Association for Software Testing
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I’m tired, I’m bumped up, I’m skinned up and I have learned a whole lot more than I intended to when I went in. Sounds like  I got into a bar fight, doesn’t it. Actually, I had a three round bout with my bathroom sink. The good news is, it’s been replaced, it works as intended, and I know a whole lot more than when I first started this whole process.

A few weeks back, we noticed that the upstairs bathroom sink was leaking. Just a little at first, but over ensuing days, it got progressively worse, to the point that I had to do something about it. The last time this happened, it was just a washer to be replaced. Fairly simple, I can do that, and did a few years ago. This time, I went in and did the same thing. I put everything back together, and when I turned on the hot water, it came out as a trickle. What? What would be causing that? I looked at everything again, checked to make sure that everything was seated right, turned on the water again, and yet again, hot water was a trickle. Hmmm, this meant I was going to have to go under the sink to figure out what was going on. I never relish this process, not b ecause I’m afraid of plumbing, but because I’m afraid of finding what one of the previous owners of this house did to make the system work in the first place.

Some back story… when we bought the house fifteen years ago, there had been a number of remodeling jobs done to the house, including an upstairs addition and a partial kitchen update (mostly lighting. A couple years in, we decided we wanted to redo some of the kitchen, and we called a contractor to help us scope the job. The contractor brought an electrician over to help with the estimate, and when he saw the switches on our wall, he yelled out to his partner “Hey Kenny, come get a load of this!” Trust me, a sentence like that does not instill confidence. The switches that were being used were from an industrial site. They were not up to code, or even close to it. Turns out that the previous owner who did the remodels was an industrial electrician, and apparently he “scavenged parts from his various jobs” to do the remodels. We had to pay a lot extra to undo much of what they did. We had thought we’d seen the last of the surprises, but no, I got to see another one first hand. Under the sink was a range of snaking pipes, strange silicone wraps, and parts that looked like they’d been welded together, In addition, I saw what had happened, the copper pipe had twisted, and was constricting the flow, mainly because the pipe was wrapped around a tight corner. Again, I don’t want to think of how this was put together, but now I had to take it apart.

An early morning trip to Lowe’s (thinking about Mike Lyles the whole time and thinking he’d get the biggest chuckle out of this situation), I picked up a nice, modern, clean looking wide spread bathroom faucet, and then went home to read instructions and brace myself for the mother of all home repair fights. Yep, it turned out to be just about that bad. I had to cut hoses, break pipes, and pop welds to get the parts loose, not to mention gobs of silicone in the threads that made getting it out a royal nightmare. I pride myself on not cursing, but today, you would have hear my inner sailor loud and clear at pivotal moments.

After what should have been a fairly routine lunch time break, I emerged victorious, but a bit humbled, a bit bloody in spots and frustratingly realizing I may have more “sins of my predecessor” to deal with in the future.

All of this is to say, for those of you in the here and now, I know it may be tempting to take a shortcut, to avoid some area because it’s too time consuming, or think that you are able to do something at an incredible discount because you have access to stuff. Truth is, parts misused can cause tremendous problems later on, and in most cases, the person cleaning up the mess will have no idea what happened or went on before, just that they have a royal mess on their hands and they get to be the person to clean it up. To that end I am really trying to be a good steward with my home, and also when I test or hack code. Pennies saved now, a little time shaved off here and there, in some cases are positive and efficient, but in other cases, they can be really tricky, really annoying, and potentially fill a future homeowner, programmer or tester with murderous rage, at least temporarily. When in doubt, figure out how to do it right, or at least as right as you possibly can. Don’t make people in the future pay for your sins, it’s really not nice.

 

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