Living Retired — ‘Bum Toilet’
By Gary Chalk.
I am not a home handyman, a fixer upper kind of guy. Never have been. I don’t have many work tools — although I still have all ten of my fingers. Perhaps this is because I don’t fix things. Sort of a chicken and egg thing, or a nail and hammer thing. This is what I mean…
If a light bulb needs to be replaced, I go to my seldom-visited workshop. On my little-used workbench I have a yellow plastic Toys ‘R Us ‘On the Go’ toy toolbox. Inside, I grab the red hammer with the fat bright blue handle. I like when the batteries are working and it makes a sound every time I smack something.
So when anything in our home needs to be repaired Jan insists that I call our friend Rick. She says flat out, “Gary, it is non-negotiable. Call Rick.”
“Gary, don’t you remember our wedding vows? You said when it came to home repairs ‘Through better or worse until death do us part to call Rick.’”
Over the years Rick has bailed me out with our home fix-it issues. One time it was dire! He dropped everything and dashed over when I told him I had an electrical issue. Before you could say ‘Ohm Depot’ Rick was at our house and plugged the desk lamp back in! Whew!
Rick can build anything. And repair everything I screw up. Rick works for free — as long as I have some cold beer when he is done. One caveat: if I help he threatens to charge $100 an hour. And he still drinks the free beer. Just saying.
During Covid Couple Confinement, Jan said, “Gary, I am looking at updating the toilet in our guest bathroom. We can choose between an elongated seat or a round seat.”
“Jan, since it is the guest bathroom don’t you think we should survey some of our friends to see what they prefer to sit on? I’ll call Ross and Lorna and get their feedback.” Needless to say, Jan nixed my suggestion to poll our friends on their preferences: elongated verses round toilet seat, high-efficiency single flush verses dual flush, comfort level soft-close lid…
In the end, before you could say ‘Nature Calls’ Jan had a new fancy dancy toilet installed. That is when it happened…
“Gary, what on earth are you doing running between our three bathrooms with your pants drooping down at your knees?”
“Jan, I am doing research to find whether I prefer the new elongated toilet seat compared to our other old-fashion round toilet seats.” (For what it is worth I have concluded that I am comfortable sitting on both. Perhaps I am an outlier).
Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. I noticed the new toilet wouldn’t stop running — maybe Jan purchased an Eveready battery-operated toilet? Surely it couldn’t be that difficult to fix.
Before you could say ‘Rotor Rooter to The Rescue’ I removed the top on the back of the toilet tank. Then, I straddled the toilet facing backwards towards the wall so I could work on the tank. That is when it happened…
Jan appeared in the bathroom doorway. She screamed. “GARY, WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOU DOING? YOU’RE SITTING ON THE TOILET WITH YOUR PANTS STILL UP! AND YOU’RE FACING THE WRONG WAY???”
“Gee dear, at least this time the toilet seat is down. Aren’t you happy with that?”
Jan began laughing. “Gary, you look like you’re riding one of those mechanical bulls, but you’re facing the tail.”
“Yeehaw. Giddy up!”
Jan was having no part of my plan to fix the toilet. I grabbed a wrench. She grabbed the phone to call Rick.
Rick wasn’t home. So I fixed the toilet with my Toys ‘R Us green screwdriver — turns out plastic is just the thing for working in water! Besides, before Rick can come, we always have to set aside some time to clean up, in this case, everything we hoard in the bathroom vanity. This includes a lifetime supply of Costco toilet paper, a hair dryer and an electric hair straitening device tangled together, and enough of those small makeup remover cotton balls to soften the landing of a manned Russian Soyuz space craft in our backyard!
When I was done it was time to celebrate. I got one of Jan’s mesh ribbons she uses when she makes wreaths and stretched it overtop the toilet seat and snapped a photo on my iPhone of the ribbon cutting.
Jan was surprised that I actually fixed something! “But Gary don’t get carried away. What happens in the bathroom stays in the bathroom.”
“Jan instead of what happens in the bathroom stays in the bathroom, let’s hope that what happens in the bathroom goes down the drain.”