I was reared by a father of three girls. Yeah, sure, Mom was around too, but that's not so pertinent to this post. Dad is a very resourceful fellow. Seems to be able to repair, build or re-invent just about anything. I never knew him to take a car to the shop, call a repairman or need a plumber. And as a man with no sons to train in his thrifty, engineering ways, my sisters and I frequently joined him in the garage or the crawl space for "lessons." I occasionally find myself writing my online dating profile in my head and wonder if I should include, "I can change tires, oil, spark plugs, serpentine belts, brake pads and heat sensors." Perhaps that's more of a job application than a come hither.
Now, I've done my fair share of plumbing in our current abode (a rental, I might add.) And several months ago declared I was done dealing with all water systems here. Sure, I've plunged several drains since then, even snaked two of them, but not until today did I have to forsake my promise and dig in. I flushed a toilet and the water sounded very "gushy." I jiggled the lever and left the room hoping that would be that. A few minutes later it was still running -- Martin proudly announced that he had jiggled the lever twice -- yet it did not stop. That sums up all of his repair attempts in the last fifteen years. Anyway, the flapper had a big tear in it. I knew it had been on its way out for sometime, so the cheap-o in me had rescued a replacement from the discard pile at Halfy's (the thrift store where I work) some time ago. I said a quick prayer that it would fit (the toilet is fifty years old and I'm fairly certain the old flapper was too) and plunged my hands into the icy water in the tank (old toilet = no shut-off valve). I got lucky. And I have to say that this really doesn't count as a plumbing job (replacing all of the innards is far more dramatic). It went very smoothly (not characteristic of most of my adventures). Nothing additional cracked, chipped or broke. I had exactly zero trips to the hardware store (installing the dishwasher involved four). And the only scar I have to show is black rubber embedded into my fingertips from the ancient flapper.
I think I deserve a cup of tea.