Saturday, January 05, 2008

Hooray for doing stuff

As I was getting ready to take a shower today, I noticed that the water kept flowing into the toilet bowl. A quick check under the hood revealed the problem: the float ball arm was cracked, causing the ball to never float high enough to close the valve and stop the flow of water. A few seconds of investigation, and the float ball arm cracked off entirely.

Easy enough, I thought, not for the first time. I would just have to get a new float valve kit and replace the float valve assembly.

The day turned into a Big Day. I took my mom on a whirlwind shopping expedition. First stop was Kranson's Clothes in Wilkes-Barre, where I put down a down payment on a coat I had ordered shortly before Christmas. I also picked up some pepper spray for my mom.

Next stop was Sears. While tallying my gift cards from this Christmas, I noticed a leftover Sears card from last year. Not wanting to let it be forgotten, I decided to use it to buy the tools I would need for the toilet repair, since my tools are currently scattered across two houses. As luck would have it, there was a four-pack containing two of the tools I would need (an adjustable wrench and slip-joint pliers) on sale for $24.99 instead of the usual $39.99. I took it.

Next was Lowe's, to get the toilet tank repair kit. And some Teflon tape, just in case. Paid for with another gift card, one from this year.

Then to Barnes & Noble, for a miniature Stonehenge kit (for me) and a Bonsai-in-a-box kit (for a friend). It will not surprise you to hear that I used a gift card to pay for these purchases.

I took my mom to a late lunch / early dinner next at the Cracker Barrel. We then went shopping in their store. Picked up a bunch of heavily discounted Christmas ornaments. Plus I got a robot Grabber hand for my elderly neighbors - sure, it's a kid's toy, but it effectively gives you another two feet of reach, and it has a precision gripping surface - unlike the suction cups on the "As Seen On TV" grabber. (I also got them one of those.)

Then it was off to Wal-Mart for cat food and Christmas leftovers. I picked up a $200+ Meade telescope for $50 (80% of which was provided by a gift card). It's nothing to rave about, but will be adequate for showing people the planets, the Moon, and maybe the Pleiades and the Orion Nebula. Plus it will let me practice for the day my super-expensive telescope that I received as a gift several Christmases ago sees first light.

After a final stop at Wegman's to see about a Christmas tree that I had had my eye on. They didn't have it, and the only similar one was pre-lit, which I'm morally opposed to. Besides, I didn't have any Wegman's gift cards.

So then it was back home.

To deal with the toilet.

I delayed as long as I could, but after a while I realized I had to deal with it. Finally I got down to business.

And, not without some considerable bitching and complaining and demands for more midget plumbers, I got it done. I replaced the ancient float valve of this toilet with a brand-new one, doing at least one jury-rig along the way. Oh, and the shut-off valve decided to start to leak while I was doing the repair - something I fixed very quickly with a wrench.

(Note to self, and anyone else doing toilet repair: the nut that holds the handle in place is inverse-threaded. You turn it clockwise to loosen it, and counter-clockwise to tighten it. This would be a good thing to mention in step one, where you remove the old handle, and not in step sixteen, where you get the new handle ready to install.)

So there you go. Toilet repair. Doorknob replacement. (Something I haven't mentioned: I got my mom a bunch of lever-style doorknobs for Christmas - easier on the hands - and now I'm gradually replacing our existing doorknobs.) All sorts of other household repairs. How can any woman resist such a manly skill set? (Ladies, get in touch!)


anne said...

Skills are where it's at!

I actually have to do some doorknob maintenance myslef. I keep putting it off because I know it is just going to spiral out of control. You know how these things go.

And well done on all the after Christmas shopping! In my opinion, it's a skill that is just as important as plumbing.

dee said...

Well I hate to burst your bubble, but some of us wimmens have repaired our own toilets (replaced the flush handle last year and the flapper valve in October) AND replaced our own doorknobs (the original 1947 one broke off in my hand earlier this month so I did it and put in a new deadbolt at the same time -- now I have to replace the back door and basement door and rekey all the locks)

Yeah, it does tend to spiral...

Word verification = cawllrut. Sounds like a Welsh cabbage.

D.B. Echo said...

dee, a friend once pointed out that some women might find such skills attractive in a man. So I list them. Anything to give me an edge.

Marc said...

I bought my suit and my leather jacket at Kranson's. I love that place!

Jennifer said...

Toilet issues are the main reason that I re-did the bathroom last spring (the 1970's decor also played a large role). In 1972, mustard yellow was "in" and the toilet was apparently the "cadillac" of the day. I - on my own - fixed the toilet a few years ago. But, in 2006, even the plumber couldn't fix it. So, to prevent the "spiralling out of control" thing - I hired a contractor to renovate the whole bathroom. Next up - the 1970's AC!

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

Now that's a full day!