Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Adventures in Home Ownership

Have you ever been tempted? I mean really tempted? I'm fighting the urge this morning and the object of my lust isn't a warm brownie or even the chance to be naughty. No, I'm trying really hard not to touch the broken faucet in the bathroom.

You see, I'm not a plumber. Some of you may have already realized that if you've seen the Accidental Demon Slayer books in the store or read Love Bites. But sometimes, I forget. I want to fix things, even though I shouldn't.

Case in point: the last time I tried to fix something. I'd been after my husband for several weeks to repair a running toilet. It was a waste of water, it was annoying and worst of all, when the house was quiet at the end of the day, it became that niggling thing that made me feel like we hadn't quite gotten enough done.

So when the house was quiet and all I could hear was the blasted toilet running, I decided to do something about it. It was just plumbing, right? Pipes and ball plungers are logical. They follow the rules of physics. I could reason my way through it (or so I told myself). And just because it was 11:50 p.m. didn't mean I couldn't start a new project.

My husband wasn't in town to talk me out of it, so I went and got tools from the basement, I put on a baseball hat (not sure how that was supposed to help, but I did it), I lifted the back lid and started fiddling. Now I am proud to say I figured out the problem. The little tube with the ball on the end needed to be out of the water and the water would stop running. But that's where my expertise ended. How to get the little ball to stay out of the water? Holding it up all night wasn't an option. See? Logical.

While figuring out what to do next, I bent the little tube back, just to see how far it could go. I was curious. Do you want to know how far it can go? No, you don't.

Snap! The tube broke. Then the one attached broke. Water shot up to the ceiling. It was like a geyser. Water shot out toward me, in case I wasn't soaked enough. I swam for the phone and frantically called my husband to ask him how the heck I was supposed to shut off the water.

He told me about the valve on the side of the commode (proving yet again that I'm not a plumber).

The bathroom was filling with water faster than the Titanic. I was on my hands and knees, trying to turn the knob, only it would not budge (no doubt fastened by someone much stronger than me). I was reduced to begging a toilet knob to turn while scrambling through my mental rolodex to decide which neighbor to wake at midnight in order to turn the knob in a bathroom that now has at least a half an inch of water on the floor.

But after much begging, the knob turned. The water ceased. I was soaked to the bone and the toilet was way, way broken. I cleaned everything up, thanked my frantic husband (who was full of instructions now that I'd decided I never wanted to see another toilet tank). I took a shower and pondered just why I thought I was a plumber in the first place.

Want to know my theory? I think it has something to do with the fact that writers are curious people. The same thing that makes me want to ride with Harley bikers and their dogs is the same thing that made me want to explore the intricacies of toilet maintenance. If the tube hadn't snapped, I might have succeeded (Don't tell my husband I said that. He's still a bit horrified.) The plumber just laughed.

But I can learn. I can be patient. Unless the plumber takes a while longer. Then all bets are off. Now where is my life jacket?


debbie said...

The toilet running drives me crazy too! I also took matters into my own hands one night when it was keeping me awake. I didnt break the tube though I bent it up a little bit at a time and was successful!!

On another occasion I decided to change the belt on my dryer. Laundry waits for no man! I had to call a repair shop for assistance halfway through, but i completed the task at hand and in a dress no less!

Robin Kaye said...

I grew up with my mother and sister who are sooo not handy. Me, being the tomboy, was the one who did any home maintenance when needed. I conquered the whole toilet fixing thing before I was 10. Luckily, I married a construction manager who can handle anything that can go wrong--plumbing, electrical, HVAC, appliance repair, you name it. I've officially hung up my tool belt and was happy to do it.

Angie Fox said...

I love it, debbie. See? We can do it! Well, you can do it. I may be able's just so hard to resist. I think I need one of those books on how to do simple home repairs.

Angie Fox said...

No kidding, Robin? Now that's talent. My husband will do it, but he has no real interest and a busy non-fix-it job. I keep thinking I could be fierce if I just learned a few things.

Diane Kelly said...

For me, I try to build things I have no business trying to build. For instance, I've always wanted a lattice patio cover that I could grow morning glories on. My hubby, realizing his mechanical limitations but also incapable of telling me "no" directly, kept hemming and hawwing about building a cover. So I grabbed my two teenagers, forced them to go with me to Home Depot, and bought supplies to build a patio cover. We spent all day hammering and what did we have to show for it? A wobbly, lopsided shanty that threatened to fall over and take out the rosebushes. I'm sure it also violated the building code and homeowners association rules. The hubby spent the next three days disassembling the piece of crap we'd built and turning it into a really nice cover. So now I've learned that if I want him to do something, I just have to screw it up myself first. : ) And he's realized that he's actually more mechanically inclined than he gives himself credit for.