Friday, July 24, 2009

Plunging into despair...

Those of you who have visited the Village within the past 2 years know that we have a wonderful hands-on cabin. You also know that this wonderful hands-on cabin has wonderful hands-on activities inside and wonderful hands-on activities outside.

You might call it a hands-on wonder (or blessed miracle for those with children needing edutained for a few moments whilst the parents catch a breather).

The most popular outdoor hands-on activity is our recirculating water pump. Children love this pump. Adults love this pump. We love this pump. The pump housing was lovingly built by our skilled tradesman, Steve. The pump itself was ordered online.

And a beautiful pump it is. Or rather, was.

You see, since this activity is loved like no other, it gets used like no other. And with frequent loving (violent) use comes the inevitable breakage. And tears...but that's a whole DIFFERENT story.

The last time we repaired the pump, all it took was replacing the leathers. Do you know what pump leathers are? Neither did I until I had to call the lovely pump experts at Lehman's and order the parts. I know now, though.

Unfortunately, the problem this time was not the leathers. It was the plunger assembly. Do you know what a plunger assembly is? Neither did I until we had to research and research and research to try and find something on the internet that vaguely resembled the broken pieces that Steve pulled out of the now-defunct beloved pump.

Plunger assembly.

Did you know it's really difficult to try and find what you need by Googling "plunger assembly?" We have a pump that's literally named "Our Good Cistern Pump." It has a "Kant Freeze" enclosed top. These are not the most unique of descriptors when one is combing the bowels of the internet.

I found myself at Lehman's again. I again called their pump experts, and they directed me to the part number I would need to order. And it was only $20.00! I ordered three, so as never to be caught in this predicament again.

These parts don't fit our pump. At all.

I don't blame Lehman's. I'm not sure I adequately conveyed the information needed to discern which pump parts we actually needed. Be that as it may, we have worthless broken pump parts and worthless good pump parts sitting here in the office.

What's a museum educator to do? The children...think of the children with their tear-stained faces. They just want to pump water. But our pump has been incapacitated.

I turned to the Lehman's pump experts again. This time via live chat. Surely I couldn't mess things up via live chat! Chatted with a lovely woman named Beth who told me she'd need to doublecheck that the parts they carry would indeed fit our "Good" pump. I asked about instead getting a pump to fit our good parts, and she suggested that we keep the pump we have because it's better than the pump we would order.


We are too. But soon we'll know whether we'll have a new pump, new parts, both, or neither.

And you thought working at a museum was a quiet, low-stress job!

*note: I, in no way, am officially endorsing Lehman's, nor are they aware that I am mentioning them here. I will, however, say that they have some of the BEST customer service in the business.

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