Don’t forget to jiggle the handle!

ip10This post is inspired by my cousin, who not only knows how to fix a toilet but has also been known to ride one in parades. And the GG, who is at this very moment monkeying around with the plumbing in the Blue and Only Bathroom and he won’t tell me what he’s doing in there but there hasn’t been anything wrong with the Blue and Only Toilet that I know of and he’s been out of town, so who knows what he is doing.

I was terrified of toilets when I was little. I wasn’t afraid of falling in, at least not that I remember. I was afraid the toilet would overflow. I don’t remember ever seeing a toilet overflow but the adults in my house always seemed to get panicky about stuff like that and I had some kind of idea that there would be a big explosion or something equally terrifying. I was also pretty nervous about outhouses, especially in the dark when the werewolves and vampires were out. Or if there was a luna moth on the path. But that is all a whole ‘nother story and one I’m sure I have blathered about before.

And then I grew up and married the GG and started going to a loverly old shacky cabin with a toilet that was actually a bit more frightening than an outhouse. An entity known as Gumper (or Bumpa or Grandpa Garth if you prefer) never failed to caution anyone who entered the bathroom, “Don’t forget to jiggle the handle!” Because if you didn’t operate the toilet flush lever in precisely the right manner, pushing the lever down with exactly the right amount of pressure, holding it down the right number of nanoseconds and, yes, jiggling it in just the right way, the toilet would run. You would go off on your merry way and you’d forget all about the toilet and whether it was running or not and poor long-suffering Gumper would be left to catch it. As near as I could figure out, this situation seemed to have been going on (running?) forever and there was a part of me that wondered why somebody didn’t just, well, fix it!

Y’all are wondering, “What are those buckets for?” Buckets? What buckets? Oh! Those buckets! Well, those buckets are what we used for flushing the toilet in the winter months when we did not have running water inside the cabin. Flushing the toilet on ski weekends meant throwing buckets of water down the toilet. And since the policy was sort of loosely “if it’s yellow, let it mellow….” sometimes you had to throw two or three buckets down there to get all of the paper to go down. No need to finesse the flush lever during those winter weekends and now y’all are wondering why the heck you asked about those blasted buckets. At least I didn’t finish that cute little “if it’s yellow” saying.

Anyway, after living with the GG for a while, I ceased to be afraid of toilets. If a toilet threatens to overflow — and the Blue and Only Toilet has done that on many occasions — I simply grab the good old plumber’s helper and start plunging away. I will never learn how to take a toilet apart but I can plunge one and I can catch one when it’s running.

And so, the GG’s little plumbing job was not related to the Blue and Only Toilet after all. He dun-da-da-dun-dun-daaaaahhhhhhh!!! installed a fancy NEW SHOWER HEAD!!!!! I’m not sure what inspired him to do that. The previous shower head was probably old when we bought the house and the last time I nagged him about it he seemed to think that was fine. Roight. There is a new one now. That is all. Oh. Except there is a leak…

6 Responses to “Don’t forget to jiggle the handle!”

  1. grandmothertrucker Says:

    tephlon tape

    I miss the old cabin more than anybody could ever know.

    I have had to use a bucket of water to flush toilet in my house when the stuff in the tank malfunctioned before.

    2 out of 3 toilets at my house do not work. I need them fixed. I’m not there. Dennis does not know how to do that. Eventually, somebody will.

  2. Margaret Says:

    I didn’t have to ask what those buckets were for; one cold year our pipes froze or when we don’t have power, we grab some buckets too.

  3. Jay Says:

    I have been dealing with our toilets for forever. But do prefer the outhouse at times still. After a long summer at the cabin I would frequently walk out of the bathroom without even thinking about flushing. Ashlan’s apartment has the fancy two-flush system. Little button when you don’t need a big flush, and a bigger button for when you do. I have not taken the lid off to see how those inards look.

  4. Sam Says:

    I am rather enamored of a type of toilet reservoir lid I’ve seen in Mexico, which is molded into a little basin for handwashing. After you flush, the refill water comes through a spout and you wash your hands with the incoming water, which then flows into the reservoir, ready for the next flush. (I admit it can be kinda awkward to bend over the toilet to do this, but, hey, what efficiency!)

  5. Uncly Uncle Says:

    We shouldda put that toilet and seat in the new cabin. They were perfectly good. : )

  6. grandmothertrucker Says:

    we had great water pressure in the shower at the old cabin….. he new one is weak.