My husband broke the bathroom. I went out of town overnight, and when I got back I came home to a mess. Our bathroom has double sinks, but for whatever reason we usually only use the one sink the one which is closest to the toilet. The other sink, which has been in a dinged up state since we first moved in, usually has my make-up bag laying in it, maybe a used towel, a stray pair of socks.
I knew something was up before I left. The “we-use-it-all-the-time” sink had been draining slowly. I had removed the stopper and used a chopstick to pull up tufts of matted hair and soap scum. It still wasn’t draining right. So I carefully poured the bright kool-aid blue “all natural enzyme based” drain cleaner the plumber had sold us on after his last visit, left it sitting over night, ran piping hot water, and plunged at it over and over. My arms were sore from pushing the plunger up and down, and water had sloped over the sides into a mess of puddles, but it still wasn’t draining right.
I decided I’d worry about it when I got back. I went away for a few days and when I returned I found a broken light fixture sitting in my sink. The light fixture broke a few months back when my husband was bravely trying to slay a wasp that had snuck into our bathroom. You remember that day when I was swarmed by wasps while attempting to mow the lawn? Well I brought a few stragglers in with me when I ran screaming for the house. And my husband tried to take them out by waving a towel at them, and ended up whipping the towel into the bathroom light fixture and breaking it. Of course the light fixture was left sitting on the bathroom counter while I tried to decide if it was repairable…. and ended up staying there as a semi-permanent fixture… perfectly normal, right? Now, three months later, as I walked into the bathroom I noticed the light fixture had moved from it’s previous “right in the middle of the counter” spot and was instead sitting at the bottom of the sink.
My husband noticed me walking into the bathroom and hollered out in warning, “The light fixture is there to remind everyone to not use the sink.” He followed it up with a sheepish, “I think you need to call a plumber”. When I asked why he told me there was a hole in the pipe. When I asked why there was a hole in the pipe he told me he has pretty sure he’d drilled through it, on accident, with the coat hanger. When I asked why he was drilling into our pipe with a coat hanger he told me it was because the extra strength Drain-o hadn’t been working fast enough.
From what I could reconstruct he was annoyed with how slowly the sink was draining so he poured Drain-o down the hole and when that didn’t produce immediate results he jury rigged an “eel” out of an old metal coat hanger. He bent the hanger until it was straight and then wiggled it down the hole, when it met resistance he rolled the rod back and forth between his hands, drilling down, and right through the pipe. The stagnant water and chemical crap then poured out through the hole, coating my children’s bath toys and soaking the various bathroom staples I had stored under there. He put a towel in the cupboard to mop up the mess and then shut the door and left it for me to take care of when I got back.
Everything in the cupboard needed to be tossed out, including the still damp chemical soaked towel and my kids rubber ducky collection. I may have growled when my husband complained that I was being silly and wasteful, as I tossed out Always pads that had been stewing in Drain-o scented sludge for two days. I muttered, and alternated between wishing he just hadn’t touched it and wondering why he couldn’t call a plumber and get it fixed while I was gone. And then I did the sensible thing, I told everyone to just use the other sink. I fished the kids hair ties and the spare tooth brush out of the bowl, gave it a quick wipe down, and turned on the taps. It took a moment for the long unused faucet to sputter into life, but water did come pouring out and drained promptly away. There. Problem solved.
I had every intention of calling a plumber, but much like repairing the light fixture that had sat on that counter for week after week, it just got put off. As days slipped into weeks we made due with using the other sink. Until I noticed water on the floor. At first I thought it was from the kids. The first two or three times I saw water pooling on the tile I silently cursed my children and grabbed a towel. Eventually I realized it was coming from the sink, the coat hanger hole in the pipe sink, which was somehow leaking whenever we turned the faucet of the “good” sink on.
|Getting real folks; this is what my bathroom currently looks like.|
Okay, definitely need to call a plumber. However, it was now almost Christmas. Who the heck is going to call for a plumber two days before Christmas? This wasn’t a real oh my goodness my house is going to float away emergency, so it could wait. In the meantime I harped at the kids to get them to brush their teeth and wash their hands at the kitchen sink instead. The bathroom stool became a permanent fixture of the kitchen, one I constantly I found myself tripping over and stubbing my foot into.
Christmas came and went. We had people over for our pre-New Years party, and our New Years Eve party. I wasn’t going to tell a bunch of grown ups that they needed to wash up in the kitchen, so, embarrassed by the non-functioning sinks, I simply locked the bathroom door shut. Ground floor bathroom, off limits (thankfully we have a half-bath in the basement). Okay, I told myself, I definitely need to call a plumber. Yet still I kept putting it off. There was always something, my husband was sick, the kids were sick, the Christmas tree needed to come down, the front room, a.k.a. the toy room, was such a mess that the plumber wouldn’t be able to walk from the front door to the bathroom… always something.
And it dawned on me one day. This is what life is. There is always something. And my house, my clutter filled messy house, is filled with all these little “oh yeah, I should fix that someday” somethings, which I’ve become so used to that I don’t even see them anymore until I look with someone else’s eyes. When I think of what is invisible to me that a guest would see, I cringe.
We just keep making due. Why? If I was going to sell this place I would find a way to fix up all these “invisible things”. If I was looking at a new home to buy I would never in a million years accept the small accumulated flaws that have piled up in this place. Yet why do I live in them, with the day to day somethings always shoving small needed repairs to the side? Until suddenly I am standing there looking at a shower head that is held to the wall by a hair band, and I’m doing the math and realizing it’s been like that for almost ten years.
And that’s part of why I keep putting off calling the plumber. While I would like to have a fully functioning bathroom again, I don’t really want a plumber in my house. I don’t want a plumber in my bathroom. When I look with a strangers eyes I see all the flaws. No matter how much I scrub at them the copper taps are cruddy with patches of green patina. The sinks are stained and chipped. The shower head is held together by a hair elastic. The cover for the darn light fixture is broken (and sitting in the bottom of my sink, ahem).
|Oh scummy copper faucet, how I abhor thee.|
American Standard wrote me out of the blue and offered me new faucets. The timing, given the current state of my bathroom, was almost miraculous. How could I say no?
The bathroom taps need to be replaced. Badly. I’ve hated those stupid scummy copper faucets since the day we moved in here. And the darn things leak. If you leave the taps on for more then ten seconds or so water starts to seep out the sides and on to the counter. The plunger/stopper part is completely broken off. Oh yeah and there’s a giant hole in the pipe, so everything drips right into the cupboard. Awesome.
I need to call a plumber.
American Standard sent me these amazing Speed Connect faucets, which are so idiot proof to install that you don’t even need a plumber. However I do still need someone to come in here and fix the gaping hole in my pipe and tell me why running the faucet on sink B is making sink A leak.
So I went a little crazy and decided to jump into a complete bathroom makeover, new taps, new sinks, new shower head. I figure if I have to call a someone to fix the stupid hole in the pipe anyway, might as well have them pop some new sinks in at the same time, right?
Time to get all these little things fixed up.
There is a pile of boxes sitting in my kitchen, waiting to be installed.
And tomorrow, I’m going to call that plumber.