December 27, 2009

All I Want for Christmas is a Toilet that Flushes

All I wanted for Christmas this year was a toilet that flushed.  Well, technically our toilet flushes, but then the water (and other stuff in the toilet) swirls madly around in a circle, threatens to overflow and then subsides with no beneficial result. All that happens is I have to go lie down for a while with a cold compress on my forehead. And when I do that it's like an open invitation for my boys to jump up and down on top of me as if I were a trampoline. I don't know why they do that.  It's not like a my abdominal muscles have particularly good rebounding capabilities.  I'm not even sure they did when I was in my 20's.

But back to my toilet, which stopped working somewhere around last Monday (one week ago) all our plumbing stopped up. I became suspicious when I was taking a shower and kept hearing a "BLUB... BLUB... BLUB..." coming from the toilet. One's toilet shouldn't blow bubbles. If yours starts doing that I recommend just moving to a hotel for a week while you try to get it fixed.

The plumber finally came out but said he only had 100 feet of line to run through the pipes to look for stoppages. For our lines he needed a 200 foot line to get all the way to where we connect to the city sewer lines at the street. As we'd have to drive 80 miles round trip to rent a longer line, the only other remedy was to dig a hole in our yard, open up the sewer line and run the line in two stages.

If you don't understand plumbing, let me be very clear what this means -- it means that someone has to dig a hole in our yard, crack open the sewer line which is filled with human waste matter and clear the whole thing out. Said person was NOT the plumber who is an old man on the verge of retiring. He doesn't do that anymore. What he does is coach the homeowner on how to do it, the homeowner in this case not being me, but my long-suffering husband who calls me late in the day and says he's spent the afternoon gagging in a cesspool with our contractor's 17-year-old son/helper who, I forgot to mention in my last post, happened to come up to the glass kitchen door the other day while I was parading around in my underwear. I'm not sure who was more shocked and embarrassed -- me or him.

So, on Christmas Eve the plumber had unhooked our toilet from the sewer line so it drains out into the yard. And then there was a hole in the sewer line halfway between our house and the street. And the plumber said he would come back and hook us back up that afternoon. What a relief.

Except he never came back.

The saying goes, "Necessity is the mother of invention." This is true and thus, on Christmas Eve, was born to us The Bucket Loo which we have been using for what feels like about 85 days.

And after 85 days I can say you get used to just about anything.

However, one's guests do not. We canceled Christmas dinner (succulent turkey with homemade stuffing and all the goodies) as nobody wanted to use our bucket for their business.  Who can blame them.

The good news is our floor in the living room is back. And the pissed off poltergeist who has been punishing us for ripping the floor out has gone away and given us back our toilet flushability. Hoorah!

Remarkably, I spent little time mentioning the aforementioned hardship. After whining about it for about 45 seconds I realized there were people in the world who didn't have a bathroom, yay verily didn't even have a HOUSE for heaven's sake. I thought about all the people living under bridges in the cold. I thought about all the people who don't even have family to reject them over a stupid bucket in the first place. I thought about all the people who didn't have food to even contemplate having Christmas dinner to cancel. Every time I went into that bathroom I smiled and sent upward a little note of thanks for all that I do have.

It seems strange that my mantra over the holidays was, "Thank you for blessing me with plumbing that can break." Yet that's what it was. And it felt so good to smile and genuinely mean it as it would have been so easy to be cranky and bitter about it.

Wherever you were on Christmas, I hope you had a calm, lovely and blessed holiday.


  1. Which walrus did you steal that bukkit from?

    And I hope you cleaned it out before you gave it back!!

    Glad to see you back in Blogland!! :D

    Happy New Year xx

  2. So happy to see that you find the positive thought in all situations! Though I never truly doubted you.
    Congratulations on getting a floor. And a toilet. And maybe reorganise the Christmas Dinner? It would be a novelty! Many industries like the hotel business or airlines have their Christmas parties in quieter times, such as late January/early Febuary. You certainly have a valid reason. Perhaps two (:

  3. Looks like we both had maintenance problems over the holidays.

  4. I would happily use your bucket if you invite me to dinner :D good to see you sweetie ♥ I been missin ya!!

  5. I think another term for a bucket loo -- and you had an upscale version there -- is "honey pot".

    My first apt was a basement apt, that I didn't know was on a septic tank, with a tree root that had cracked the line to the tank, until my first septic back-up on NYE morning, 1982. Now, I laugh.

  6. What is it about lying down and jumping? I was really hoping that stopped by 6.

  7. Loved this reminded me to stop and be thankful :)

  8. Oh, how horrible to be without modern plumbing in the winter! I feel for you - and I'm impressed that you could be so positive about it!

    I remember the outside 'bucket' loo my grandmother had when we were young. We just accepted it as the way things were, but I'm not sure I could be so accepting now!

  9. Hope you've recovered from all the excitement and are even now basking in the joy of toilet connectivity.

  10. There's nothing like a little perspective to settle us down.

  11. What a wonderful perspective to carry you through. That doesn't make what you were going through any less icky and unpleasant, bit I hope it help carry you through a little easier. :) Great example to set for your kids :)


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