Monday, November 26, 2007

Sorry About Last Night Urchin

The title of this post has nothing to do with this post.*

Rather, it was the subject line of some spam I received today, and it amused me enough that I felt compelled to share.

And now for something completely different.

Ever since I moved into my most recent apartment — in my "series" of apartments — flushing the toilet has been anything but simple.

You have to hold the handle for 5-10 seconds in order for it to flush properly. And even then, there's no guarantee everything'll go down.

A couple months ago, the handle stopped working altogether, and when I peered into the tank it looked like there was a "string" connecting the handle to the flush valve, where normally there is a chain.

The "string" appeared to be broken.

So I called my landlady, hoping that when the "string" was replaced, I'd no longer have to "hold the handle" in order to flush.

Because, contrary to popular belief, I *do* have more important things to do with my time. Like brushing my cat's hair, counting the number of pink bears in my Beanie Baby collection, and writing boring blog posts about toilets.

And wouldn't you know it, not only did I still need to hold the handle, but after the "string" was replaced in addition to holding the handle, the water would henceforth keep running unless I jiggled the handle 2-3 minutes after the flushing was complete?

Call me crazy, but I don't think flushing a toilet should be so complicated.

But I dealt with it all the same, my frustration culminating in embarrassment when a couple friends visited two weeks ago, and the "string" again broke around 1 a.m. Sunday morning. I informed my friends, recommending they "hold it in" until we could find someplace to go (literally) in the morning.

I woke up around 7 to the sound of someone jiggling the handle and removing the tank lid.

"I fixed your toilet," one of my friends boasted in lieu of good morning.

"Awesome! You're quite the plumber," I continued, adding the requisite joke involving plumbers and crack.

She further informed me that the "string" (more observant readers have likely detected the annoying presence of quotation marks in this post) was actually a rusted old wire that was broken into two pieces that hooked into each other.

In short: she had hooked them back together (which is most likely all my landlady did in the first place, and most likely what she'd do if I called her again).

And I hoped that'd work. Hoped the fix would at least carry me through a couple more months.

But it hardly lasted the day. In fact, I'd estimate in the last week, I've "repaired" my toilet more than a dozen times — and I was out of town for three days. A couple of times, even, I got out my gloves and my pliers and set about to reconfigure the "hooks" altogether so they'd be less likely to slip loose from one another.

And each time: that'd work for about 24 hours before a piece of metal would break off, turning one of the hooks into a straight (and now shorter) wire.

And, yes, each time I'd STILL need to hold the handle and I'd STILL need to jiggle it afterwards to keep the water from running.

But last night I got out the gloves and the pliers again. And I "fixed" it. Again.

And now for the first time since I moved in, I neither have to hold nor jiggle the handle.

AND it flushes.

I doubt this porcelain bliss will last long — the wire is bound to break off again eventually, thereby unhooking the makeshift mechanism and flooding my bathroom floors anew.

So, Santa, if you're listening:

I'd like a new flush valve and all the necessary accompanying parts for Christmas. And maybe someone to install it for me correctly, too.

And don't tell me there are people out there without indoor plumbing who'd LOVE to be in my situation. I know it, and I feel badly for them.

But I don't pay what I pay in rent so I can count to ten every time I flush my freakin' toilet, then jiggle the handle, and then remove the tank lid for repairs 2-3 times a day.

Thank you.

*Alternative Titles for This Post
Potty Mouth
Flushed from the Bathroom of God's Heart
God Hates Me and My Toilet
I'll Get You, My Potty!

Are You There God? It's Me, Flushing.
It's My Potty and I'll Cry If I Want To
It's My Potty and I'll Flush If I Want To


Michael K said...

I am not Santa so if you meet me half way and buy the parts, I'll install it for ya. It only takes about half an hour. I had to do it a few years ago and since then have helped 2 of my friends do it.

Winter said...

Seriously proud of you for trying to fix it yourself! I just pick up the phone book and call someone.

thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

Michael - I just might take you up on that... and I'd insist on paying not only for the part, but also for your plumbing assistance. Let's see how long my temporary solution lasts; in the meantime, I'll price shop for a replacement.

Regardless, the potential conversation kind of amuses me.

"Hello, it's Michael from blogger. I'm here to fix your toilet."

That's got to be a first.

thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

Winter - One of the prime benefits of renting is SUPPOSED to be having someone fix those things for you, gratis. I like my landlord — I really do — and at least at this apartment, my neighbors are all friendly and don't make a habit out of calling the cops on one another (unlike the last place). So overall, this living situation is far better than the last. It's just a very frustrating experience whenever something needs to be fixed because cost generally takes priority over actual, lasting repairs. I know she means well, at least. I should probably make sure my next apartment doesn't qualify as "vintage" — these old buildings are full of charm, but also replete with headaches.

Franki said...

The new chain only costs about $2. Seems like it would be worth it, even tho the landlady supposed to take care of it. Of course, then you wouldn't have an amusing blog entry.

disgruntled world citizen said...

maybe its time to learn how to use maude's litter box.

M@ said...

How funny. For the past 18 months, I too have tolerated a toilet handle I have to hold for 5-10 seconds. I should do something about that.

(Where the hell did my bong go?)

M@ said...

Yeah, but it's all about balance. Those outdoor-toilet people probably have other quality of life aspects you lack--great weather, pleasant village people, pickup soccer games, etc.

Stacy said...

This is a recurring problem for us homeowners as well. I have learned to replace the valve (after the jury rigging with strings, chains, hangers etc. broke)it's cheap at the hardware strore and the directions are on the package. I feel so macho when I fix the toilet, you should try ti.