It's not about the house.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Oh, My Head!

So this bathroom of ours – this en suite of which I am so proud? The one we carved out of the rotten room? The one that was under construction for something like two years, and that I personally picked out all the fixtures for, right down to the toilet-flusher knob? The bathroom in which paint started bubbling off the wall the very first week I started taking showers in there? The one with the toilet that makes a dripping sound even the plumber can’t identify, and whose grout is pulling off around the shower pan?

That bathroom?

Well, now the flusher knob is all corroded and pretty soon it will not move at all.

It started turning green around the little lip almost immediately after I put it in, so I did what any good home-improving consumer ought to do: ignored it. Hey, it didn’t seem to be getting any worse, and it was sure as hell not the ugliest feature of this god-forsaken house – or the most useless, for that matter – not by a long shot. So I just left it.

A few months ago, the handle stopped popping up automatically after you flushed. Usually I’m the only one that flushes it, so I just made a habit of pulling it back up after I’d pushed it down, and if any guest was headed in there, I’d tell them the secret and they’d follow suit. Somehow, though, I never could train Johnny to do the same, and I would sometimes walk in to discover the damn thing had been running for six, twelve, eighteen hours. No wonder our water bill this quarter came to $245!

Then, about four days ago, the handle started getting harder to push down. I decided to ignore this, too. I knew it was the best way to go, considering how well such tactics have always worked for me in the past. Cars, teeth, urinary tract infections – these things usually do get better on their own if you ignore them. You certainly never end up with six months worth of dental surgery, with a wrecker towing you off the expressway, or in the emergency room with a medical student karate-chopping you in the kidneys to see how bad it hurts (answer: bad!).

So I started visiting the other bathroom for any serious business, and using the en suite only for quick trips in the night. I also stopped flushing every time – which, I’m sorry, is just ick. I know a lot of people have been doing this always, and I know Al Gore and Barbra Streisand would probably like to see my pee sitting around a while, but uh-uh. Call me a planet-killer if you want to, but the way I see it is: if I wanted to be confronted with the evidence of my last expedition every time that I went to the void, I would have become a lady astronaut a long, long time ago.

But with the toilet on the DL I figured I didn’t have a choice. I tried to remember to keep the lid down at all times after sunup, and at night became a master pee-er in the dark (it’s really not all that difficult: the trick is to remember to lift the lid before. You’d think this would be a lesson a girl would only have to learn one time, but, unfortunately, no.)

Anyway, it was getting progressively more difficult to flush. So today, afraid it might be coming on time to actually do something about it, I got a wild hair before I stepped into the shower, and lifted the back lid off to have a peek inside.

Now, I don’t know what possessed me to do this in the first place, let alone to do it then of all possible times. That toilet tank grosses me out more than the business-bowl could ever do. Seriously. I have gagged more times putting the little chain back on the flappy thingy while wearing rubber gloves and a face mask, than I ever have done scrubbing poo stains with a sponge bare-handed. And yet here I was, lifting the porcelain and exposing my shower-ready (meaning bollocky-nude) altogether to that slimy, rusty chill.


But I did it. I lifted, I looked, I said “Oh,” and I replaced the lid. Then I stepped into the steaming shower, where I scrubbed myself skinless with a brillo pad. When I stepped out, I could hear Johnny talking to himself in the bedroom. It was early; I think he wasn't quite awake yet. He was saying “socks and underwear,” repeatedly, but he was looking at the cat. And this, needless to say, is not her name.

“Sorry to distract you, dear,” I said – to Johnny, not the cat – while I commenced to toweling off between my toes (despite what my One Friend says, I know I am not the only person in the universe who does this; and if I am, well, then that’s why you-all have little cartoon fire-monsters living in your feet, and I do not. In which case, I really wish you’d start drying your pigs more conscientiously, so I wouldn’t have to be subjected to those ghastly advertisements. Bleah.). “But have you got any WD40 in the house?”

“Socks and underwear?” he said.

“Right,” I said. “The toilet-flusher thing. It’s stuck.”

He cocked his head.

“Seriously,” I said, “come here and try it.”

He looked at me like I was balancing with one foot in the space-pod shower and one foot on the towel rack (which I was, but that’s beside the point), sighed, said “socks and underwear” one final time, and came on in.

“It’s stuck,” he said after giving it a go.

“Yeah,” I said. “Exactly. Now look at it. Lift the lid.”

I didn’t look in the black hole this time, but Johnny did.

“Socks and underwear!” he said. “It’s all corroded!”

“That’s what I thought when I looked,” I said, gagging a little at the memory.

“Well,” he said, “I guess that’s cuz it’s brass.”

Of course, I thought. Oiled brass. What was I thinking, buying something made of brass to put inside a toilet? Well, not inside a toilet, but still. Crap. So to speak. I wonder if I can even get a replacement for that lever anymore? I wonder if there was something I was supposed to do to it prior to installation – something I was supposed to treat it with, perhaps, or paint it, or—

Wait a second.

“It was made to go inside a toilet. Don’t you think they could have thought about the effects of moisture before they decided to have it mass-produced?”

“Nope,” says Johnny. “That’s why everything you buy these days is crap.”

There's that word again.

So today I have to fix the toilet. Which I’m hoping will involve not too much more than Johnny handing me a can of WD40 and taking a step back. If he wants to say a quick little “Socks and underwear” before I spray it, well, I suppose that would be all right with me.

But I refuse to genuflect before the throne.


beardonaut said...

First thing's first: planet-killer!!

I too flush. Every time. I even do it when I throw a piece of paper in there, having done neither number one or two. Which is a bit excessive, to be sure, but then again, I like to pride myself on being a planet-killer too.

And then I must ask: what is the most useless feature and what is the ugliest feature on your house?

EGE said...

Ooh! A request! I like requests!

I'll have to think about this one, but I will have an answer for you in a few days. With pictures!