Did Hans Brinker get "prune" finger?

By
Home Inspector with Charles Buell Inspections Inc.

     Everyone has heard the story of the little hero, Hans Brinker, and how he saved the people of Holland by sticking his finger in the leaking dike (and we think New Orleans has problems).  One thing I didn't know Wood plug in drain pipewas that the story was a "made-up" story that is part of the book, The Silver Skates, by American author Mary Mapes Dodge, published in 1865.  At any rate, sitting all night long with his finger in the dike---holding back the salty North Sea----must have resulted in a wicked case of prune finger.   If you haven't read the book I strongly encourage it.  It is all about how sometimes the things we are "forced to do" (due to things beyond our control) prepare us more for what we "want to do" than if we had been able to do what we "wanted to do" all along.

     At a recent inspection, I found a wooden plug driven into a hole in the cast iron drain and I got to thinking about poor Hans and how lucky he was that Mary Mapes Dodge wasn't a plumber----or he might have had something less pleasant to stick his finger in.  Even so, for Han's sake, I wish Ms. Dodge knew a little bit more about hypothermia and just how cold the North Sea actually is-----no matter what time of year it is.

     I gave the little wooden plug a tug only to have it break off due to its being rotten.  I have no clue how the hole got to be in the pipe.  I do know that a wooden stick is not the proper fix.  We will have to see what the plumber says about what it will take to fix it properly----I'm not going to play the part of Hans Brinker though.

Charles Buell

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  1. Donald Bradbury 01/03/2009 05:18 PM
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Michael Thornton
Home Inspector - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.0297
Complete Home Inspections, Inc.

Charles, I reckon that using a wood "stob" is better than having a nasty case of prune finger, especially in that nasty water...

~~ michael

January 04, 2009 04:05 AM
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Kevin Corsa
H.I.S. Home Inspections, Stark & Summit County, OH Home Inspector
H.I.S. Home Inspections (Summit, Stark Counties)

I'm all for a mesquite plumbing plug that will last 30 years, but this blog brings up an interesting question: If there is a "quick-fix" that was installed ny some previous homeowner, and it is either about to expire, on it's last gasp, or otherwise ready to fall out, or not work at all anymore.... and then some poor unsuspecting home inspector comes along, and touches it, and it then falls out or falls apart, so as to leave it in a totally unrepaired state (or leaking, as in the case of the wood plug in the cast iron drain), then whose responsability is it to fix it right? 

The argument could be made.... that it wasn't leaking before you touched it, so now you had better get it fixed...the right way. Hmm

January 04, 2009 06:13 AM
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James Quarello
Connecticut Home Inspector
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

Kevin, The response to that is " You're lucky I found this." Write it up as defective and in need of repair.

January 04, 2009 07:52 AM
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Charles Buell
Seattle Home Inspector
Charles Buell Inspections Inc.

James and Kevin, it is also kind of like breaking a pimple:)

January 04, 2009 07:59 AM
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Charles Buell
Seattle Home Inspector
Charles Buell Inspections Inc.

Michael, I would certainly agree----gotta love that word "stob":)

January 04, 2009 08:01 AM
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My blog is intended to provide information related to home inspections in Seattle, surrounding communities and anyone else interested. Sometimes I will provide information that has nothing to do with home inspections. Enjoy!

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