Thursday, September 06, 2007

What To Do With A To-Do List

As if to play a part in an ongoing brigade of change and decay going on around here, our van has turned a gear and decided to add itself to our growing list of things to fix. The thing with that list though is the only thing that ever changes on it, is the addition of more items. Unfortunately, that list seems to not have a "cross off" feature on it.

Well, at least it feels like it somedays.

First it was the basement. When it rained, the rain gauge outside was the exact same as the rain gauge in our basement. Funny, huh? So we got smart and made sure all our storage items were in rubber maid bins or on top of rubbermaid bins. Fix the leak, I can hear you say but really, why go to the bother as long as you store nothing in card board?

So, my husband got smart. He researched leaky basements. And he found the perfect remedy: a a paint-like texture that once applied to the walls turns into a rubber-like substance which results in a complete water proof barrier. We could drop our house in the middle of a massive swimming pool and not get a drop of water inside. Sweet stuff.

I'm sure this stuff will do the trick eventually. The reviews were incredibly promising. Funny thing is that it just doesn't seem to work no matter how long we store it in buckets down in the basement. State-of-the-art repair man, that hubby is. (Actually, he really is when he has a little of that thing called "time." Ever heard of it? We sure haven't lately.)

But, riding even higher on our to-do list was the perpetual problems going on in our one and only precious bathroom. Talk about turn-of-the-century accomodations. Only, this was at least a century behind in function and performance.

For starters, the faucet leaked. No, not the drain; the faucet. We came up with an excellent solution. By positioning a container to collect dripping water under the sink, we aspired to repair the situation by just dealing with it in a very cost effective manner. The container would fill with water and then be poured out and then be put back under the leaky faucet. Great idea, I'm sure but we never were able to figure out where to put the container. The drips were inconsistent and sporadic and seemed to drop wherever the container wasn't.

At this point we realized why there was a hastily written handnote duct taped to the bathroom sink when we bought this house last spring: DO NOT USE SINK. (Tip ---> if your real estate company offers free plumbing inspections, accept them at any cost. Really.)

As if the leaky faucet wasn't bad enough, the drain volunteered its membership on our to-do list. It just completely quit working. If you couldn't remember if you had brushed your teeth that morning, you had at least until bedtime to check the bathroom sink for frothy toothpaste. Add shaving results and shaving cream to the frothy water and top it off with sudsy soap and by the end of the day you had quite the chemical reaction going on in the sink.

Yet, above all, the most inconvenient part of our bathroom was the shower. The faucet part where the water comes out was loose and rickety. If you pulled on it at all, you could see the pipe behind it. The stopper that you pull up on in order to activate the shower had completely malfunctioned. So, you technically couldn't take a shower but you also couldn't take a bath either because the plug for the drain was like a bath timer: you only had minutes to enjoy a full tub and suddenly, your dreamy bath soak turned into a shallow drought.

Embarking on a new career, my so-not-a-plumber-husband assured me he could fix it all. What man doesn't wish to rescue a damsel in distress, especially if that distressing damsel happens to be his wife?

So, that's when he got the bright idea about the container under the sink that fixed the leaky faucet. As for the anti-drain drain, he bravely picked it and pulled globs of slimy hair out. (what a hero!) And when it came to the malfunctioning shower, he turned to his roots (carpentry) and brought in a small load of wood. Yes, wood. With the skill of a brain surgeon, he strategically crammed several pieces of wood shims up into the faucet resulting in a permanent shower setting in our bath tub. This setting worked but the water pressure was pretty low because half of the water came out the faucet through the shim dam and the other half sprayed haphazardly out of the shower head. It took a whole hot water heater full to fully rinse your hair.

I'm not married to a plumber. And in case you didn't catch that I'll repeat: I'm not married to a plumber. Toby can fix about anything but that anything doesn't include plumbing or cars.

And just yesterday he informed me that the van's transmission is going out. But, I can't entirely believe him because just a few months ago he assumed something tragic had happened with our outdoor spigot of the home we were selling. So, for once he called the plumber. (Smart thinking.) Only problem was that the spigot had no problem: it merely needed the shut-off valve turned to on. That's why for him to conclude out of the clear blue that the van needs a new transmission, I'll not hold my breath until a real mechanic looks at it. Who knows? If the van is anything like the shut-off valve at our old house, the van could just need the oil changed.

Sweetly enough though, while we took our latest trip to visit my folks, Toby arranged for a plumber to come and totally repair our bathroom in our absence. I knew nothing of the arrangement either. I was more than just a little surprised and elated when we came home and found a modern bathroom in place of the previously dilapidated accommodations.

As a double feature, we not only get to enjoy our new bathroom but we also get to experience the thrill of crossing something off The List. Unfortunately, those slots on our List have already filled up and overflowed but at least we can enjoy a good shower in the mean time.


BrittLeigh said...


I'm glad you have a blog so I can keep up with your life.


Pat VE said...

I am sooooo tickled that you got a new bathroom. Toby is some guy!

Anonymous said...

This story was so captivating. Sorry to hear about the van but praise God for the bathroom.
Love you all, MOM