Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Men Fix Toilets (at least better than me...)

You know how when you start dating someone and you just love all their little *quirks* until the day comes when the little quirk becomes the biggest, most annoying thing you've ever experienced.

Take for instance, Mr. Ex.  When we first started dating and such, it was endearing that he could sleep through absolutely anything.  No, seriously, we're talking anything.  Especially his alarm.  It was cute, though, how he set the alarm, reset it, then reset it again, then checked to make sure another 5 times that he had set it properly.  And then he'd start on the second alarm on the other side of the room.  He'd sleep through them anyways, but at least he could say he'd set them. 

It was not so cute, however, when baby Q came along and he slept through every feeding, every diaper change, every cry, every everything, including the alarm.  Only now, there were three of them.  It became a 30 minute process just setting his alarms, for crying out loud.  And every morning, after I had just drifted off after being up all night with the newborn, alarm one would startle me out of my slumber.  30 seconds later, before the shock of the first alarm had dissipated, air raid siren #2 would go off in the other corner of the room.  Not to be out-alarmed, the third one would start blaring bloody murder about a minute after that.  Once I'd realize I wasn't in the middle of World War 3, I would roll over and...wake Mr. Ex up.  Usually by pushing him out of the bed.  It makes me livid all over again, just recounting the sound sleeper.

This one really annoyed me too...."Oh, I can't sleep toni....*snore*"  While I remained wide awake for another hour or so listening to the freight train that rumbled beside me.  But that one annoyed me from the start.

The new house.  Remember the toilet that flushed when I turned on the sink, and how I kinda liked its subtle reminder that it was there if I needed it...ya, it got to be not so much likable, and a whole lot annoying. 

I decided to fix it.  It was driving me bonkers.  It had decided to constantly remind me of its existence, especially in the middle of the night, until the point where all it did was run.  It was time.  How hard could it be, right?

Right.  Well, first of all...toilets are complex pieces of porcelain, the ins and outs of which I can't even begin to comprehend.  But it's running all the time, so the little arm thingy with the big ball just needs to be adjusted right?  Right.  So I grab my tweezers and try to adjust the screw, but it just keeps slipping so I go to the tool box (and by tool box, I mean underwear drawer) where I have a shiny screwdriver from the dollar store that Q bought me for Mother's day last year (I know, practical kid, huh?  Came with a wrench, also from the dollar store.  In a jewelry box he had made for me out of a Kool-aid box...which I absolutely love to this day!) and grab my handy dandy screwdriver and screw the um...screw tighter.  Now, before you ask how I knew which way was tighter, I will say this..."Righty tighty, Lefty loosy."  Priceless.  A better saying does not exist, as far as I concerned, when it comes to plumbing. 

Guess what, it worked.  I put the lid back on, turned to leave the room and I hear....running.  My running toilet.  Open it up, tighten again.  It stops.  I wait.  And I wait.  And then it starts running again.  So, I lift the arm thingy up a bit just to see if that's what the problem is...and the arm snaps off. 


Water is pouring everywhere.  I find the valve for the water shut off, and I freeze.  Is it lefty?  Is it righty?  Does the same law apply to water shut off valves?  I try both and finally something works.  The water stops pouring.  And I can see from the lower left hand side of the bowl this tube that isn't attached to anything....and it should be, I figure, attached to something.  That's the problem.  It wasn't the arm with the ball at all. 


I call my mom and ask her to call the land lord.  "Okay," she says.  "Just don't touch anything.  That way we can say it wasn't us.  It was just the toilet."


"Uh....okay.  I won't touch anything." 

"Hey, Q" I say once I've hung up on my mom.  "You wanna go to Home Depot?"

Turns out, you can't just buy the arm thingy with the ball.  You have to buy the whole thing.  I'm starting to get a little worried, but I am woman.  I can fix a friggen' toilet.  No problem.  If guys who can't figure out their waist size and buy jeans too big (uh...plumber's crack) can figure this out, certainly I can.  So I buy the whole thing.

Turns out, I can't just replace the top of it.  My toilet's an older model, so it only has three screws.  The new ones have four screws.  I know this because I went to three different hardware/plumbing stores before I conceded.  It also happens that you need more than a dollar store screw driver and wrench to fix this kind of thing.  It's got something to do with tight seals, and leaking and floods and stuff.

So, I call my mom.

"Uh, can you tell the landlord that the good news is I have all the parts he may require..."

"You tried to fix it, didn't you?"

"Yes.  But there's no more flooding...."

While he was there, he also fixed the shower head.  Woo hoo, I have water pressure!!!  My wrench couldn't fix that, either. 

Sometimes, I guess you do need a man.  Sometimes.

Like this weekend...when one is coming to mow our lawn out back.  Don't get me wrong, our big back yard is fabulous.  Mowing it, when 1/2 of it is up hill, you've left it for three and a half weeks, and Q is in between me and the lawn mower 'helping'...not so fabulous. 


  1. My ex once said, "Sometimes the best tool is a checkbook."

    It might have been the smartest thing he's ever said.

  2. I've BEEN through the "trying to fix the toilet" thing. I worked on it for weeks to get it to stop running. Finally a guy came over after work and we chatted in the living room. He asked if he could use the bathroom. When he came out he said, "Did you know your toilet was running?" My shoulders dropped and I nodded. "Oh, well, I fixed it."

    I married him.

  3. who knew: men + toilets = marriage....i think we're onto something ladies....a matchmaker who specializes in plumbing matches...hmmmm....