Along the same lines of my giving readers a heads up not to scroll down for the naked photos that did not exist in my “Skiing Naked” post, I need to be up front about the content to follow which is not about past relationships, disappointments, unmet expectations, or worse, but rather is about fixing toilets. I had hoped this post would have a happier ending, or an ending, but it doesn’t and for those who want to continue to read this, I’m going to ruin the ending that doesn’t exist and tell you that the toilet is still not fixed nor have I let go of the issue. The best I can do right now is to focus on the silver lining, which at this very moment means stuff to write about; stuff that may sound kind of funny now but had me in tears two nights ago.
The toilet fill valve on my guest bath toilet decided to quit, or kind of quit, but it was making noise, which is never a good thing… that much I do know. When I took the video of what was going on post flush in the back of my toilet to the hardware store, the kind gentleman who was helping me knew exactly how to fix it and showed me what to buy and what to do with it, step by step. I am not mechanical. I struggle with reading instructions and then having to figure out how to follow them. Although he was only a toddler at the time, it was my son, Grant, who put together the Little Tykes toys and equipment that seemed to flow into our house non stop for several years. Even without the ability to read at age 3, he seemed to know intuitively how the brightly colored plastic pieces fit together to make something. I marveled. I had mechanical envy.
As the kind hardware store man is wrapping up the explanation with me on step 7 or 8 or whatever step has you giving the final check with a flush, I asked him,
“Which way does the shut off valve go to turn the water off at the toilet?”
Sometimes it’s best to humble yourself and come clean. He knew, at that point, who he was dealing with and backed up slowly to the beginning.
“A slow clockwise turn… that would be to your right.”
At one point he mentioned “youtube videos,” and that information, coupled with my new knowledge of knowing how to shut off the water to the toilet, was all the information I needed. I thanked him profusely, bought the $18 part and was on my way. I’ve got to admit that there was a tool belt that caught my eye on the way out of the store, something I’ve always wanted, but I feel like it needs to be earned and I’m not there yet. Maybe this was the home improvement project that I’d earn my belt on…
The idea that this was something I’d be able to do myself gave me a great deal of satisfaction and pride and not having to shell out a hundred dollars (I’m guessing?) to have a plumber walk through my front door, even happier. I’d love to be able to add fixing my toilet to my list of accomplishments. Really.
With feelings of confidence, I lined up the pieces that came out of the box, including the instructions, on the countertop, watched a youtube video three times, turned the water off, drained the back tank, disconnected the water hose from the toilet then got stuck. I could not even BEGIN to budge the plastic lug nut on the outside of the toilet (I don’t even know if that’s what it’s called, but that’s what I’m going to call it from here on…) and surprising to me, the me who throughout my 20’s used a clog to hammer a nail into the wall, was even using the right tool. After about 45 minutes of struggling and torquing myself in half to get to the side of the toilet in the first place, I gave up, which came in the form of me sitting on my bathroom floor in tears. I know it may not sound tear-worthy for most, but those emotions were coming from a place far deeper than the back of my now drained toilet. This was about doing something so small yet so big BY MYSELF, without having to ask for any help (I’m not counting the gentleman at Ace because that’s his job). The flip side of wanting to feel that sense of accomplishment is that for the past 9 years, broken toilets, flat tires, sump pumps, birds nests in porch lights on fire and beeping house alarms have become my chore to deal with by myself, whether I wanted to or not (and that “by myself” includes calling the repairman, AAA man or handyman). Although it’s taught me a lot, asking for help to begin with, it’s not something I’ve gotten the least bit comfortable with, even after 9 years.
I’ve done a whole lot of scary things in those 9 years without giving much thought to them, but a beeping alarm, a running toilet and a flat tire requires immediate attention, whether you want to give it or not. This is the emotional spot that when I work from I start breaking things, on accident AND on purpose so when I texted Robin to see if Jim had a hacksaw, it was more a cry for help than anything else (although I still think sawing the stuck lug nut off may be the answer). He didn’t. And so I turned out the light, closed the door and drove to Baskin Robbins where I ate the better part of a double scoop of jamocha almond fudge ice cream on the 5 minute drive home. Enough.
The next night ended in a similar way… frustrated… with a lug nut that still won’t move, but this time I made a 1/2 recipe of chocolate oatmeal no bake cookies simply because a whole recipe scared me as I knew I’d likely make my way through all of them. 1/2 recipe was a good idea and yes, I did.
The project is still looming behind the closed door and I fear that one more night with the same results are going to end with my head in a bag of Crispy Cremes, but I’m still not quite ready to let go and call a handy man.
|Still with hope…|
I’m not sure how many days of walking by the closed bathroom door it will take before I call for help, but right now, I’m standing strong in the face of the challenge and am merely giving myself a break before going back in with a different attitude or maybe different equipment… such as a hacksaw…
To be continued…