Friday, 27 November 2015

My Husband The Plumber

There is never a shortage of issues confronting us when we arrive at The Southern Home following our annual eight-month hiatus. This isn't surprising. As with any home ownership, things break and crumble with age and weather. In past years, we have had to deal with washing machines that have walked across the floor locking us out of the laundry room, leaky toilets that have left us puddles on the bathroom floor, a garburator that rusted through causing a lake in the kitchen every time the dishwasher was in use, dead palmetto bugs big enough to saddle, broken light fixtures, a defrosted freezer, hurricane shutters that won't open, and twice we had leaks from upstairs neighbours causing enough significant damage in our unit that we had to re-drywall, re-plaster, and repaint. Ah...the joys of condo life. We have been here long enough to know that there will always be some fresh hell sent to challenge us or just plain aggravate us upon our arrival. Of course, this year was no different.

We arrived in the early evening on Saturday. We really weren't planning on arriving until Sunday morning, but heavy rain throughout our drive in Florida really repressed any notion we might have had of stopping for a meal, snacks, or bathroom breaks. There was a dogged determination apparent in The Husband's demeanour that basically said "Enough of this f***ing drive already. Let's just get there." As a result, we were both quite spent upon our arrival and in no mood for bullshit. But, bullshit has a way of finding us. While I got to the unpacking, The Husband set to the task of attempting to open the hurricane shutters. The first two were no issue, but the main one's lock was rusted through and stuck like a son of a bitch. No amount of brute strength, banging, jiggling, or angry cuss words were going to move it. When after countless attempts he finally broke the key off in the lock, I think his angry epithets were heard down in South Beach. Knowing that this was a lost cause in the dark, he moved on to check the rest of the apartment figuring that he would deal with the shutters after a good night sleep. All seemed well until he turned on the main water. (It is a condo regulation that we absolutely must turn off the water when leaving for extended periods of time. The plumbing in this building can only be described as f***ing crap, and as such we have had major leaks over the years. Turning off the water is supposed to help alleviate some of those concerns.) I heard an odd whooshing sound coming from the bathroom and then a plaintive call that sounded like a cow singing James Brown's "I Feel Good." 

Me: "What the f*** was that?"

The Husband: "The toilet is singing to you."

Me: "I'd prefer it didn't but if it has to, I would prefer James Taylor to James Brown."

The Husband: "I don't think it is offering a choice."

While the toilet kept up it's mournful wailing, I kept the faith that this was a temporary situation akin to the broken key currently jammed into the lock on the shutters. The major difference was that the lock while aggravating, didn't have the ability to keep us up all night bleating like two cats in heat. We were simply too tired to deal with it and we were certainly not about to call a plumber at 9:30 pm on a Saturday night. I had no desire to contribute to some pipe jockey's kid's college fund. We climbed into bed with the sounds of Marley's ghost wailing in the background.

But, I married one of the only Jewish handymen. He is really good at fixing things and refused to be waylaid by a broken key or a melancholy toilet. The shutters were successfully opened the next morning, and while he did manage to remove the offending key, he is succumbing to having a professional come to service them and replace the lock. The toilet was another matter. After ascertaining that the flapper inside the tank wasn't sealing properly, we figured out that the offending noise was being caused by a decreasing water line that in turn caused the toilet to run and sing. The flapper needed to be replaced, but given that we had a myriad of tasks to accomplish on Sunday, like groceries, we decided to leave it for one more day. That was a mistake. On Sunday evening, the moaning increased to levels that would have made Tibetan throat-singing monks envious. At 1:00 am, I arose and turned off the water in the toilet. I had to awaken The Husband (how he slept through it I will never know) in order to tell him so that he wouldn't accidentally make a mess the next morning. By first light, I was at Walmart hunting for a replacement flapper. 

My husband the handyman went straight to work. Five minutes later it was Goodbye James Brown; Hello Sounds of Silence.

The Husband is many things, but never once before have I mistaken him for a plumber. He isn't crazy about getting his hands dirty and toilets are not really his thing. But he is my superhero when it comes to stuff like this and I have nothing but admiration for his myriad of hidden talents. If I had known about this when we first met, I might have encouraged this side of him. There is big money in being a plumber. But for now, I think that he will content himself with today's win. Anyway, my parent's toilet is sounding like Barry White. He is going downstairs to silence that one too. 


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