Water, Water, Everywhere

So this morning, I have packed Jack off to work. I am sitting on the couch, minding my own business, trying to read my BBC news in peace, when I hear distinctly Niagara Falls-like sounds from the guest bath downstairs.

And I don’t mean like, that sound of water when you’ve left the faucet in the kitchen a little loose. I mean like scenes from Crane’s “The Open Boat.” I mean like, “Holy shit, what in the hell is that?” Like where you have a brief thought of, “I don’t want to go in there…maybe I could just abandon the house.”

But I did. I did go in there, and apparently, the guest bathroom toilet has inherited some sort of Water Happy Poltergeist, because the toilet tank had flooded the entire bathroom and half of the back door foyer in the four seconds it took for me to get off the couch.

Now, remember, we also have two small, yappy (god love them) dogs who respond with Rambo-like vigor to loud noises. So they proceeded to first mount an attack, and then, when the little signal reached their brains that “WE ARE WET, REPEAT, WE ARE WET!”, then their vigor dissolved into “ABORT MISSION! ABORT MISSION! RUN AROUND THE HOUSE SHAKING!”

So when I finally grabbed them and chucked them outside, the water levels had reached into the kitchen.

Now, I know what many of you toilet-savvy people are thinking here. But wait. I’ll get to that.

Obviously, I am a little bit harried at this moment, because is it difficult to think with the house filling up like a fish bowl. So I grab a stack of dirty towels from the laundry, throw them on the floor, and stand on them while I haul the top off the toilet tank.

I’m about to get all technical on your ass, so maybe the not-so-technical people want to go have a cup of coffee at this point.

The PVC-pipe looking thingy which is attached to the pump/float thingy by a rubber hose thingymabob will not stop shooting water out. I check the value-bopper. The value-bobber is closed. I check the pump-thingy. The pump-thingy is all the way up. And still, the water will not stop draining into the little PVC-pipe ma-bopper at massive speed.

This is when I make my first sixth mistake, which is to jiggle the little rubber hose thingy. Because when in doubt, jiggle, right?

Wrong, my friends. Said rubber hose thingy shoots off, and then water starts spewing with abandon around the bathroom in an Ol’ Faithful type fashion. At which point, I suddenly become landmark conscious and start chanting, “NO, NO, BRING BACK NIAGARA FALLS!”

I manage to wedge the rubber hose thingy back on and mark “Jiggling” off my list as a Bad Idea. No more jiggling.

I grab a large antique martini shaker from the kitchen (Hi, Dead Great-Grandmother Sophie! Thanks for the WWI era martini shaker! We put it to good use!), and start bailing the tank, so that at least the water will stop cascading around the bathroom for five seconds.

Let me reiterate – WWI era martini shaker. This is not a small, 8 oz job like you see in the bars today. No, no – this an industrial, home-style martini shaker from back when people started drinking at 5:00 in the afternoon. It’s the size of a 7/11 Big Gulp. And it can not even compete with the water.

“We’re gonna need a bigger boat!” I joke to the dogs, who are now standing outside, pawing at the back door, unsure of whether they should save Mom or flee the vicinity. They do not find this funny.

Finally, I flush the toilet, which at least gives me temporary reprieve while the tank takes about eight seconds to fill back up. I speed dial my father on his cell phone.

Now, my father and I have a slightly sordid little relationship, mainly due to the fact that I am His Daughter, as opposed to my mother who I am only kind of vaguely related to, at least in the Genetics Lottery of Passing On Stubbornness and Mental Illness. But my father is an engineer in the oilfield, and has done really amazing things in my life, like put up whole buildings with a total of four men while I watched as a kid.

So I speed dial like a mother fucker as the tank rapidly refills.

” ‘yello, this is Mike.”

“DAD, DAD – OKAY – THE TOILET – ”

“Hey, sugarplum, what are you doing?”

“THE TOILET. THE WATER. THE WATER WON’T STOP COMING.”

“Lily Beth? Where are you? Are you at home?”

“YES. DADDY. THE GUEST BATHROOM TOILET – I TOOK THE LID OFF THE TANK AND I JIGGLED THE HOSE AND THAT WAS BAD, BAD, BAD IDEA. AND STILL THE WATER WON’T STOP COMING.”

“Well, honey, it’s probably the float. Have you got a float in there?”

“WHAT? IS THAT THE BLACK ROUND THING?”

“Um…it might be. I don’t – how old is your toilet, sweetheart? There’s a pump, right?”

“IS IT THE BLACK ROUND THING OR NOT?! JUST TELL ME WHAT TO DO TO MAKE THE WATER STOP COMING!”

“Oh – babydoll, just turn the value off. You know this. The value to the left of the toilet? By the wall? Turn it to the right until the water stops.”

I stop.

I stare at the value – yep, there it is, a little oval-shaped piece of metal. Mocking me.

“Oh,” I say. I bend over and turn it to the right, and of course, the water stops immediately. “Huh. Thanks, Daddy.”

I stare at myself in the mirror, which is soaked. The bathroom walls reflected in the mirror are soaked. My feet are standing on approximately 18 inches of bathtowel, which is all now soaked.

I smack my forehead. “Dumbass. The shut off valve. Jesus on a pogo stick.”

So much for that Rosie the Riveter Home Repair Feminism. So much for feeling proud of myself that I can use a drill. So much for being able to take a door off its hinges, and fix the garbage disposal, and all that other stuff I can do.

I have just been christened into home owner-ship. With toilet water.

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