Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The 5X8-foot pit of despair

We love our little house. We're thankful for it, we have no plans to leave it, but...it's small.

It has one bathroom for the six of us - a 5X8-foot disaster of hideous, ancient pink tile and heavy, built-in wooden cabinets that take up half the room. The tub is chipped, the caulk is peeling, and the toilet only flushes half the time. You do your business and hope for the best...it's a literal crapshoot.

A couple months ago we decided to go for it and use money from our savings and remodel the bathroom. It needs a complete overhaul. New plumbing, new fixtures, new floors, new walls, even a new ceiling. Even a new door. So we began making plans to gut the stupid 5X8 room and basically rebuild it.

We would need help, of course. It took Andy weeks to find a plumber and an electrician who weren't booked until next century. He spent hours on the phone searching for these people, planning the Big Day, and the bathroom must have overheard our dastardly plans, because it decided to revolt.

"Gut me, will they?" it thought to itself. "They think they're too good for me all of a sudden? I'll show those nosy tenants who's boss around here."

It started with a weird smell coming from the sink faucet. It smelled like dog breath. We cleaned out the trap and the aerator but it didn't help. Next, the fan gave up the ghost. Oh, technically it's still "running," but it's not actually "working." It's main purpose in life at the moment is to collect lint in hopes of burning our house down before we can dare remove it.

Then the good ol' commode began to leak. At first I thought one of the boys' poor aim was to blame for the puddles on the floor, but no. It was the toilet joining the rebellion. "Don't do this," we pleaded. "The plumber is coming in a couple weeks, can't you just hold on until then?"

The toilet grumbled that it would try if we agreed to stop using so much toilet paper, and could we ease up on the constant parade of children coming and going? A tank hardly has time to refill around here!

We struck a tenuous truce. We spoke to the toilet in respectful tones and put a bucket under the leak and listened to it drip, drip, drip as we fell asleep every night. We even told the kids to wait until the last person to flush if they all had to go at once. (Don't judge us - you weren't there! You don't know what it was like!)

Days slipped anxiously past. Each morning we entered the bathroom wondering if it would even still be there. We wouldn't have been surprised to find nothing but a big, black pit of despair where it had once been. Then last night we noticed the drip, drip, drip was much more fervent than usual. "What's this?" we asked the toilet. "The plumber's coming in six days. Have you gone back on our deal?"

It didn't answer. It just spewed water from it's joints.

Fine. So that's how it's going to be. Just remember, toilet, you asked for this.

Andy poked and prodded it, twisting and tightening with all his limited plumbing knowledge and skill. The drip all but stopped. We were saved! But wait. Now the toilet doesn't actually flush at all.

So if you haven't thanked your toilet for its service lately, you better do it. Or you might be sorry.
P.S. The only one around here not looking forward to the Big Day is Gizmo the cat, who has developed a taste for toilet water out of the drip bucket.

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