Wednesday, February 05, 2003


My daughter has a nearly religeous belief that her dad can fix anything known to mankind using only my Nebo 13 in one screwdriver and a collection of different kinds of tape that I keep in a bin in the basement. "Daddy can fix it with tape" is what she'll say, and point at some shattered porcelain dish, or maybe a remote control that was left in the dog's water dish. It's touching, but also it can be an onerous burden, becomes sometimes I feel as though I must try and fix all these things with my trusty Nebo, and the rolls of clear and duct tape.

So on Saturday I need to fix the toilet. I used to hate having to do stuff like that, but now, in order for me to fix the toilet uyou see, I need to left alone and in peace and quiet. So I don't mind as much now that solitude and quiet have become hot commodities in our household of late.

The first crack. The toilet had been leaking. No problem, I said, we'll just go to the trusty walmart and pick up a replacement 'guts' part kit for the toilet. Only, the flush valve wasn't included. So I go back to the walmart, and this time I get a flush valve, and then go home.

Second crack. At this point I realize that I didn't have some thing called a 'spud wrench', which is needed to remove this thing called a flush valve. The valve extends through the bottom of the tank you see, and on the bottom the flush valve is secured by a nut about 5 inches across. You need a special wrench to remove it. No problem, I said, and just banged at it witha pair of channel locks for a about 20 minutes. I tried it to swear it open. Here's me, holding the toilet tank sideways in my lap, and reaching around the bottoe trying to get this damnable thing off. Bang! Fuck! Bang! Shit!

Kathleen yelled up the stairs "everything all right?"

I said "No problem honey. Everythings fine!" Bang! Shit! Bang! Fuck!

Finally, I get the flush valve off. The fix is no problem. I actually read the directions, clearly printed in 16 languages all on a piece of paper the size of a coke can. I put the tank back on. Success! I test the toilet, and it works. Yeah!

An hour later I notice the toilet tank is leaking. I start swearing at it again, with no effect. It is the water supply pipe, a small metal pipe that connects the water supply to the toilet. It must have gotten bent and now it is leaking. No problem, I'll just tighten up this little plastic nut with my trusty channel locks. CRACK! I split the plastic nut into two pieces, which fall on the floor. Water also starts to stream out onto the floor. Fuck! Bang! Shit! Bang! I bang on it with my channel lock plyers. Its not working. I turn off the water supply, and head out to Home Depot.

The third crack. You know, when I go into home depot I feel like I have been marked with some kind of ultraviolet paint which tells all the employees that I am a dumb ass. They can tell because they are all equipped with special glasses. That would explain why every time I ask an employee there I get the eyes rolling, and the heavy sigh, before any sort of verbal response.

Me: "Excuse me! I need that thingy that connects the toliet to the water supply? Do you know where I can find one?"

Guy: (Rolling his eyes) "You mean a water supply pipe?" (heavy sigh)

Me: "Yeah. Do you have them?"

Guy: "Sure, we have these flexible pipes, they are a universal fit and install in 2 minutes." Then he pauses, and for effect, rolls his eyes again. "If You don't care what it looks like."

Okay, now here I am and its 9:45 on a Saturday night by now and I just want to be able to fix this toilet before I go to sleep. I have not in my entire life looked behind a toilet nor do I anticipate doing this. But now, this guy is making me feel guilty about the shoddy look and feel of my freaking toilet. But I go on.

Me: "So what is the proper way?"

Guy: "Well, you can use a straight pipe and bend it to fit."

Me: "How do you get the proper length?"

Guy: "Well, you have to cut the pipe to fit. and then..."

Well, he lost me right there. All I could do was picture myself with a welding mask on in my bathroom, and large piles of parts, trying to assemble a a proper piece of straight metal pipe so that the backside of my toilet would look all stylish. I went home, and I fixed the toilet with that stupid piece of braided pipe, and it works fine and I am happy and it looks great if you think my toilet doesn't look okay well screw you, you can go take a shit at the exxon down the road. You take a left on Market street and its half a mile ahead on the left.

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