We don't need a plumber!
"We don't need a plumber!" my dad said as he was cleaning out the last bits of yogurt from his plastic yogurt cup.
"I'll buy the parts and Nick and I will do it!"
And so the ordeal began. The parts were ordered. They took a while to get here. But that was fine. Then, once they had arrived, they stood untouched in the utility room for quite some time, as if they had carried a disease of "can-do-ism" with them that was all of a sudden very unwanted.
Then the excuse of COVID was here. as this was the guest bathroom, there really wasn't any urgency to fix it. but then the inevitable could no longer be delayed. that fateful Sunday my brother, his wife and a family friend would get tested and we would all gather at the parents' house to hang out with my nephew.
given that the family friend maintained a steady diet of boiled cabbage, fatty beef and beans, the fixing of the guest toilet became of the utmost importance.
so there I was, hovering over my father's shoulder, shining a flashlight into the narrow confines of the toilet tank. after a combination of tearing, prodding, cajoling and outright violence we managed to take out the broken parts in the toilet. we then turned to the new parts which, to our chagrin, did not come with any instructions (I'm assuming this is because most people quickly hand those parts over to their licensed plumber for installation).
so through a series of youtube videos that revealed far too much about the explainer's personal lives than we cared to hear and also revealed far too much ass-crack, something that we thought we would be spared by not calling our own plumber, we finally set to the task.
my mother adopted the dutiful position of penitent supplicant, wandering back in forth in front of the bathroom entrance, clutching her telephone and muttering an inexhorable stream of invocations to the god that was responsible for household plumbers.
"okay, now turn the valve." my dad said.
"the only valve there is!"
"everything is a valve!"
"well the one to your left!"
"AAAAACKK, aaahhh, dear Jesus, turn that off, WHAT ARE YOU DOING! I said turn the valve to your left!"
"You said on the left!'
"No I meant to your left!"
As I began to wipe away the stream of water that had amassed into a puddle of dejected ambition around the toilet my mother, still clutching the phone in hand like the rosary delivered a final incantation:
"oh blessed lord, I knew you didn't know what you were doing! look at this mess. I am on the phone right now!"
"we know exactly what we're doing, Nick here just didn't turn the right valve in the right direction."
"oh sure, blame me, I'm just following orders."
"you know who else was just following orders!"
at this impasse we put our hands on our hips, glared at each other and then returned to the toilet. after successfully jamming in the last piece, which inexplicably had a triangle fitting instead of a round one, into the hole at the bottom of the toilet tank we were done.
yet no-one wanted to be the first to touch the lever.
"we should do a dry run"
"that's the first wise thing you've said"
flush...my mother peered around the corner, umbrella in hand...it worked!
all the rest of the day we chided our guests for not using the bathroom and loudly announced when we were about to drop trou so that everyone could behold the miracle of a household that didn't need a plumber!