“Can you imagine plumbers charge $50 for something as simple as replacing this lever? It takes five minutes to do!” proclaimed the husband holding up a black-ish looking object. I looked impressed. He was holding up a contraption that looked technical in a very plumbery fashion, not to mention that triumphant glow on his face. Having repaired the toilet flush when it acted up once before, I felt he was entirely justified in feeling competent in the general area of plumbing.
He started off at the end of a long, hot day after a refreshing shower. The flush in one of the bathrooms was having a minor hiccup. Once the water filled up, the water continued to leak without shutting off the water supply. This was because a lever that was supposed to tell the water knob to “Cheese it!” when the water filled up, wasn’t doing it’s job. I hovered around for a minute or two, and then loitered about the house doing the intangible, unnecessary things that I do. Then, I put the children to sleep; all the while listening to the water go on and off. By now, it was evident that it was no 5 minute affair the c.plumber was dealing with. I mean two children don’t go to bed in that span of time in our household. So, I went in to the bathroom – just to get a general status, you know – mutter the encouraging word and pat the tired back sort of thing.
What met my eyes shook me to the core. On the floor was the erstwhile dry, clean man that I love. He looked like the flush had whipped him a couple of times, while rapping his knuckles and making him kneel down in a pond of water. My heart bled for him, and I enquired. I must have sounded like a rattle to a baby, because I was given the situation in so many words. Pretty soon, I was kneeling down in the wet bathroom and oggling at a petulant knob with my neck corked at 22 degrees in the NW direction, with a cutting plier in my hands.
I’ve been meaning to talk to these architects about this. Why place these toilet flushes in a corner – why not in the center with a full view of all the knobs? While I struggled with the cutting plier and tried to angle the grip, I banged my head a couple of times against an inconveniently placed closet. The husband had replaced the lever just fine and while tightening the knob found that it was an obstinate one and refused to tighten all the way and stopped one turn short. Anywhere else, that would mean a creak, but with water it means an incessant drip, and could not be ignored. So, I tried my hand at it. “All I need is a small mirror to get a good view of the knob”, I said.
So, the husband handed me one. While calculating the length of the mirror and estimating the length of my hand, there was a difference of a couple of centimeters and the dratted thing fell with a resounding crash.
The children asleep in bed, the husband and I in the bathroom, the sound of a mirror breaking and the steady sound of ‘Drip Drip Drip’. All you had to do was turn off the lights, and I would have screamed. The experience had set us both on edge. I wonder how tightening corks and screws and things under the flush can frazzle one’s hair, but it did. We both looked like a ghost chased us down a scary lane in the middle of a cold wintry night.
Cleaning up broken glass in a pool of water has problems writ large all over it. To cut a long story short, we took out the new lever and put the old one back on to stop the drip. Then I cleaned up (without cutting myself on the shards of glass I might add), had a shower and came out to the welcoming cries of an infant demanding his midnight snack.
“I wonder why plumbers only charge $50 for this!” said the husband, and I agreed whole heartedly. The solution to the flush problem was a simple enough one – we just pulled the lever manually and made it do its duty forcefully.
“Leave the old flush alone”, is the new watchword in the house.