Monday, March 11, 2013

"I better not see this on your blog"

Earlier this week (or late last week - on what day does your week start?), I managed to align my blog with the once a month topic with the once a week Weekend Update on Block Lotto.  This never happens.  I am group topic challenged; I have been all my life.  When all the girls my age were hanging on Rick Springfield, I was horrifying myself with what Henry VIII did to those six wives he had wedded-"One died, one survived, two divorced, two beheaded" (because being the only white double dutch jumper on the playground did not make me freak enough, this is what I chanted).   Years later, those same girls are hooked on "The Tudors" & I am singing "Jessie's Girl" in the shower.  So, everything lined up.  The topic was Tips, Trick & Lessons Learned & I have already said something on same.  Yahoo.  & then that same day we had a household event that qualifies....kinda.

We have the teeny-tiniest bathroom off our bedroom.  Many people don't know it's there, including people who have stood in the master bedroom.  This is because it is just as deep & just as wide as the closet next to it, which while it meets the definition of walk-in (you can walk in & close the door behind you) as walk-in closets go it is pretty small (after you are in it, you can then only stand there because there is no more room to take any more steps). We call it a stand-in closet because a: that is all you can do in it & b: it is standing in for the walk-in closet of our dreams. 

OKay, now that you can imagine that size space, put a toilet, sink w/small vanity & step-in shower in same.  It's a teeny-tiny bathroom.  In fact, if someone is sitting on the toilet when you are getting into the shower, you will be strangers no more.  Even when someone is NOT sitting there it, is a long stride to get past the toilet & into the shower.

So, this teeny-tiny bathroom has had a bit of a...shall we say AROMA the past couple weeks.  We have been dealing with it as a drain clog in the shower because when you get in the shower is when the smell is strongest, but it is not a shower clogged drain kind of smell.  Unless we were to use our shower as a toilet, which I promise you we do not.  Before calling in plumbers, etc., A thought it best to deal with those things he could deal with himself.  & as he had replaced the wax ring on the other bathroom's toilet a few years ago, he was confident he could do it again super-quick.  & it is was a one person job, which is the kind of job we both like best.

After lunch, he went to the local home caretaker DIY warehouse, got what he needed, came home & took that toilet up (after draining, etc. which is not a no-time-at-all process) & put it in the big tray for same in our bedroom (because even if the tray would fit through the door, there would be no room for it in the teeny-tiny bathroom; I don't mean no room for the tray & a person to work, I actually mean not enough floor space for the tray).
  • TIP #1- start home repair jobs in the morning.
In the tradition of I-have-done-this-before-&-know-what-to-expect type jobs, this one naturally offered up a new twist.  Once that toilet was off, it was clear there was a significant problem with the top of the pipe that connected with the toilet & the septic tank.  Specifically, there was not so much pipe as a round tube with jagged edges, not all of which cleared the edge of the floor, never mind the bottom of the seal.  In other words, there were gaps all around the circumference of the pipe permitting whatever to leak out & just sort of be, underneath the toilet itself.  It looks like the person who put in this bathroom had X inches of broken pipe leftover when what he needed was more like X+2".  But he used it anyhow.  In retrospect it was probably more than adequate when he used it, but broke off when the toilet itself was installed & he figured "what the hell, I'm not going to live here".

I said "well that sucks" & then admired what would have been a pun if drainage pipes were supposed to draw down, which they are not.   A's exact word was "Shit" & then I admired that kinda pun as well.   We took pictures on his cell-phone so he could show the DIY warehouse store guys what he was up against, get some sympathy that did not involve juvenile word play & maybe even a suggestion that would not require a plumber.  He left & I cleaned up the mess on the floor & the crud in the grooves of the split pipe & then I went back to the book I had been reading outside the bathroom door to be on hand to get him whatever supplies he needed.  No, I am not a crazy handmaiden type wife, there was just no way he could easily leave that bathroom once that toilet was in the tray, in the doorway.  Until we realized he was going to have to leave & then we had to do some re-arranging in the bedroom so he could push the toilet-in-tray out of the doorway & get out.  & by "we" I mean me.
  • TIP #2- always have reading material on hand, ideally something you can pick up & put down without losing the narrative. 
A returned to find me propped against the toilet, reading & eating buttered toast.  He had received adequate commiseration, & even better an actual solution: this kind of putty that was activated by working it with your fingers (for a minute, literally) & then could be pressed into the gaps, smoothed by hand, etc.  It would harden in 20 minutes or so & become sandable or drillable in an hour & a half.  Naturally we were not going to drill new holes in the pipe, but we did want to know when that time was up so we could test it & be sure no water or anything else was likely to get thru.

So, I got the yoga pose timer, set one alarm for 20 minutes, set the other one for an hour & a half & used the count-up timer to keep track of one minute. 
  •  TIP #3- a good multi-task alarm clock/countdown timer is a very useful thing & not just for yoga, although it is very useful for yoga, too.
Then we went in the tv-room & had snacks, lounged around & generally did nothing.  He watched a DVRed Bill Maher while I finished my book while we waited for the putty to set (apparently during the setting process it becomes quite warm to the touch; A asked if I wanted to experience that sensation.  As it would require lying more or less with my face on the toilet-floor & sticking my hand down a septic drain, I decided to take his word for it). 
  • TIP #4- aggravated, frustrated people never say no to finger foods.
After the time was up, the putty was deemed most excellent, the wax seal was replaced (you know, the original couple hours+ task we started with) & the toilet returned to its appropriate place.   By then we were a little bit fried, so instead of going out for the birthday dinner we were too tired to go out for last Saturday (the actual birthday) & had postponed to this Saturday, we ate pasta out of the box & sauce out of a jar & went to bed at 9:30.  The book I read was James Lasdun's Give Me Everything You Have: On Being Stalked which I thought was pretty good so it must have been fantastic considering what it was up against.  No pun intended.

What part of this was I not supposed to blog about you ask?  Well on-going throughout the day, we talked about a new toilet seat, specifically one of those cushy ones & one of us mentioned that he wished they had memory foam & the other pointed out we have a dead memory foam pillow (one of the little dogs started to tunnel throw the center, right where a head would go or maybe the opening of a donut-type pillow) & wouldn't that make a nifty little craft project for a blog.  & then the other one said "I better not see this on your blog".

As for the stinky smell?  So far so good.


  1. This brought back some painful (then) funny (now) memories of DIY plumbing projects of the past which I no longer allow.

  2. too funny! (especially because I wasn't there to wipe up the floor in person...) I do love the idea of a memory-foam toilet seat, but the one squishy seat I've encountered (at my FIL's house) always feels just slightly "wrong" for some reason.

  3. Uh... I've just been convinced to call a real live plumber about slightly wobbly and slow-draining 'throne' in my also-tiny bathroom when I finally decide it really needs fixing. I've repaired and replaced various parts, even the water line, but - in light of your fine experience - I do believe anything that actually involves detaching the unit from the floor and moving it is waaaayyyy beyond my level of expertise. (so consider this piost a public service!)


    1. I am not easily intimidates, especially once a job is a plumber. It was a bear of job.