I Fixed It Worse.

Posted by admin on April 22, 2013 in Defies Description |

I have a certain knack. I am sure that it came to me via my dad’s DNA, for he seemed to have the same skill set. We both manage to regularly break things that are working just fine.

Though I am still in a bit of denial denial, this certainly appears to be the case with the toilet in the master. It had been leaking slowing for a couple weeks and I had already planned to get around to it, someday. But for some reason, someday came sooner than I expected.

As I have always done in the past, I popped the lid of the toilet off and went about “fixing” the problem. In most cases, bending the rod that holds the ball down in the water will do the trick. It will put more pressure on the valve that returns water to the bowl when you flush it.

In plumber terms this is called the “ball cock.” Don’t ask me why. Yes, it does have a ball (the float), but I hate to think of that long rod as being the cock. No man would ever admit to having something so pitiful on their person.

I have done this fix before, mind you. It’s the first step in avoiding a real repair of the toilet. With a single stroke I bent my cock. The toilet continued to run. So I grabbed my cock again. Better. One more time – oops! The ball came off in my hand, the plastic lever snapping like a twig on top of the valve.

Water started pouring constantly into the toilet. No problem. I could just shut off the water at the wall. I reached down for the knob. It wasn’t the usual metal one; no, this one was plastic. I turned it for a while but nothing happened. Then I saw that it had a mark on it. “Oh, it’s an on-off thingy?” I thought to myself. I turned it to what I thought was off. Nothing. I turned it the other way. Nothing. I started turning it counterclockwise trying to shut it off. Same result.

Well now I had done it. The water was now flowing into the bowl at a breakneck pace and there was no way to stop it. Or was there?

I surveyed the valve mechanism. It needed a lot of pressure on the top to close the springy-nipply thing so the usual duct tape and baling wire solution would not do. Pressure and a lot of it would have to come from above, but how?

Aha! I needed a stick, a long one. The oars in the Pirate Room wouldn’t work; not long enough. Hhm. It was then that I remembered that I had a broom outside. A nice patio broom with a long handle. I ran downstairs and fetched it off the porch.

Drats, it wasn’t long enough. I was still a foot and a half short, at least. I needed a box. I thought for just a moment about using the urn my dog is in. He wouldn’t mind, I thought. He’d be happy to be useful for a change. Unfortunately, it was made of tin. The broom, under pressure, would simply drive itself into it, denting the now dead dog.

I rummaged around some more. I came upon my little speaker system in the closet. Perfect I thought. It’s in a wood case. Rock hard. It won’t give way under the pressure. It wasn’t tall enough, however.

I decided that books would be next in line for consideration. I grabbed my own Memoirs of a Buccaneer as a starting point. Nope. Too thin. This would require a really thick book.

I cast about on the bookshelf for a bigger book. And there it was, the Sailor’s Lexicon. It must have some terminology in there about bilges and pumps and such, so why wouldn’t it work?

I headed back to the bathroom. Delicately balancing on the toilet seat, I set my plan into action. First, the broomstick, its pointier end resting on the top of the springy-nipply thing. Next, the speaker, balanced precariously on top. The piece de resistance, the Sailor’s Lexicon, was wedged between the ceiling and the top of the speaker box.

It was perfect. The toilet flow ground to a stop. I stood back, admiring my work. This was almost worth breaking the toilet, I thought. It was a magnificent testament to my creativity and ingenuity.

I triumphantly went back to my desk. It was then I heard a disturbance in the force. Oh, no, it’s moving, I thought. I ran back to the bathroom but everything was in its place. Still, I thought this precarious balancing act could have dire consequences should the stick slip off the valve nipple and come crashing down on the bowl, shattering it and emptying its contents onto the floor.

My first solution. Pillows. I placed them on top of and around the bowl. This, I thought would at least keep the bowl from breaking.

Then it dawned on me that there was a greater problem at hand. If the fix were to come crashing down, the toilet would once again leak.

I realized that something was missing. But what? I cogitated for a moment, then it dawned on me that it was missing one of two things: duct tape or baling wire. Duct tape would be virtually useless in this particular case. But baling wire, man, why didn’t I think of it sooner?

I rang back down to the garage, located the baling wire and fashioned a lasso around the broomstick that attached to the pegs where only minutes before the ball cock was balling or cocking, or whatever it does.

Problem solved. Once the baling wire was added I knew this temporary fix would never ever suffer structural failure.

True, we can’t use the toilet. Eventually it will be fixed. In the meantime, there are two other toilets in the house that haven’t yet benefitted from my efforts to ‘fix’ them.

I can hear my dad laughing up there somewhere. He’s either entertained by my Rube Goldberg fix or the fact that I actually got the baling wire he had put in his will for me.

In the Emerald City, wondering if I should do some more fixing around here,

– robb


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