A Cold, Naked Man and His Nefa Valve Down Under

shower head

My pathetic shower

Chronically low water pressure and this stupid shower head have been the bane of my existence for 15 years.

Things are bad enough during the summer months: I defy you to get all the soap off your body, even if you push right up against the wall to get directly under the shower head.

But winter is the worst: a fat man Down Under could catch his death of cold while simply trying to take a shower.

“That’s just not right, and something has to be done!”

I came up with this battle cry recently because a) I enjoyed long and luxurious hot showers in ‘Merica, and, b) it is freeking cold in New Zealand, and I am way too old to get frostbite on my dangly bits.

Besides, if the G.M. Finance can spend up large on her bathroom renovation project — which involves painting and tiling and sanding and who knows what else — I can get the damn shower fixed.

There, I said it.

To which the G.M. Finance responded, aloud or implied, it matters not:  “I’m doing all this bathroom renovation by myself.  Can you fix the shower yourself ?”

To which I replied, aloud or implied, this also matters not: “Who’s your Daddy, baby?  I am Mr. D.I.Y.”

This is called “male posturing”.


I have mentioned before that my great grandfather was the go-to guy for all blacksmithing work done a century ago in Indian Territory.  My grandfather and my Dad had the same skills — they could build or fix just about anything with their own two hands.

Then there’s me.  When I do home repairs, they tend to turn out like this gate latch.

gate hinge

This is why God recently opened a Mitre 10 Mega store near my house, and why the guys who work there know everything there is to know about home improvement and repair, including fixing the damn shower.

All you have to do is go talk to these manly Mega men, maybe watch a video or two, then, boom, your D.I.Y. project gets done.

And what this means to me, personally, is that I will soon have the baddest sombitch hot shower in all of New Zealand.

Because, really, how hard could it be?  It’s just plumbing, right?


So I swagger right up to the Mitre 10 Mega Man (M10MM) who, remember, has been sent to me from Heaven.  We have a very manly D.I.Y. conversation in which I explain in no uncertain terms that I have a crappy shower and that I am going to absolutely kick the crap out of it because I have had a *gutsful.

M10MM: “Sheeya mate, all you need is a Nefavalvemate.”

ME:  <blinking>

ME: “A what, mate?”

M10MM: “Anefavalvenefavalve,mate, yeah.”

Me: <blinking>

M10MM: “Folluhmemate.”

And we walk, with manly speed and purpose, to the back of the giant MEGA warehouse.  Then the Mitre 10 Mega Man points high up on the rack and says, “yeahnahthatswhatyouneedmate. A nefavalvemate.””



Since I am also a good kiwi bloke, I am thinking, “Shee-uh, $139 for a friggenshowervalve?  Isitmadeoffriggenuranium mate?”

But, mostly, I am *thrilled to bits that very soon, I will have hot water.  I am rapt until…

“*JustwhackonthenefavalvemateandBob’syourunclemate,” says the M10MM, adding that before whacking can begin, on the Nefa Valve, I have to go up on the roof and bend the six-foot-tall copper vent pipe into the shape of a “u”.

Yeah, right.


After suffering through more weeks of crappy cold winter showers — all the while, the G.M. Finance is whizzing through her D.I.Y. toilet renovation, flawlessly — I decide to call Samoa.

This is because Tim lives there. Tim, one of my No. 1 Son’s buddies, is a trained plumber who is currently building his mother a house, by himself, in Samoa,

Let me repeat that. He is building his mother a house by himself in Samoa.

Which is why, if you have a question about a Nefa valve, Tim is the guy you call, or, in the interest of total transparency, you Facebook him, and he sets you right.

Tim: “You will need to install a relief valve on your copper pipe poking out of your roof.  A 3.7 valve would be good. You could go more, but it’s more money, and you risk tank fatigue. Check that your pressure reducing valve is relatively new when you go about it.”

Me: <Blinking over Facebook> “If I attempt to do this, the Earth will almost certainly fall off its axis and plummet into the sun, ending life as we know it. So I will need to go to Confession first… Where is the pressure reducing valve?  And does the roof valve thing have to be put on the pipe after it is bent like a Bishop’s Crosier? That’s what the Mitre 10 Mega Man told me, right before my eyes glazed over.”

Tim: “OK, yes, you will have to bend the pipe like an upside ‘n’ so that the relief valve is pointing down, pressure reducing before the cold inlet to the tank. You’ll need a bender or 2 brass compression fittings to achieve this.”

Me: “Tim, are you new here, or do you think you are talking to generations gone by who actually did real work, with their hands, and stuff?”

Tim: “Lol.”

At this point, Tim recalled that my son, a chip off the ol’ DIY block, did not know what a “grinder” was (as in “a tool that grinds”).  He also once said to me: “There is no oil on my car’s dipstick, and I don’t have any oil with me.  Can I just put water in it until I can get some oil?”

I know.



Needless to say, where we stand, especially in the winter morning,  is still in a crappy, cold, no water pressure shower.

Meanwhile, the G.M. Finance, aided by her very own personal Mitre 10 Mega Man, is sailing through her DIY bathroom project like a pro.

All of which makes me wonder whether I should pay $120 an hour for a plumber, or if it would be cheaper in the long run to fly Tim back to New Zealand.

Because there is no way in the world that I am going to risk bending a copper pipe on my roof into a “u” and whacking on a Nefa valve.   Because I know, in my heart of hearts, that the end result would resemble a Marx Brothers movie.

And in the end I would *well and truly lose my Man Card.

man card

To which I say, “*thatsabitofabuggermate”.


*Yes, mate, Kiwis really do say stuff like this, mate.

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2 Responses to “A Cold, Naked Man and His Nefa Valve Down Under”

  1. Lillian L.. says:

    After your brother-in-law and I read this post, saw your job on the gate latch–with much snickering, snorting and all out guffawing–we highly recommend you either fly Tim home or call a certified plumber to fix your shower.

    It is blatantly obvious both you AND your brilliant piano playing son have completely and totally missed the DIY gene portion of DNA.

    Water instead of oil? snort

    • hams says:

      We totally missed that gene. Here’s hoping it’s “recessive” and will one day pop up in our DNA. Now would be good, before I spend zillions on the plumber.

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