As I was banging away on my laptop in the living room, I soon became aware of a constant swooshing sound coming from down the hall. Having been down this swooshing road before, I knew immediately what the problem was.
Our toilet was running.
“What’s wrong with the toilet?” asked my husband when he noticed that the toilet seemed to be flushing forever.
“I know it’s running,” he said. “Why is it running?”
“Maybe someone is chasing it,” I said.
He rolled his eyes. Toilet paper might be in short supply, but the bad mom jokes were a plenty.
I realized, though, that we did indeed have a problem. We couldn’t let a plumber come in because of the whole social distancing thing. We also couldn’t let our handyman in for the same reason. I thought maybe my husband could download a copy of “Plumbing for Dummies” and try to fix it himself, but I suspected that he would be as good a plumber as he was an electrician which was not all that good considering he’d once tried to fix a light switch, blew all the circuit breakers, and nearly burned down the house. When I’d asked him how he could have screwed it up so monumentally, he simply replied, “It’s all in the wrist.”
When the kids were little we lived in a tiny house that had one bathroom. At the time, my son had finally somewhat mastered the art of the toilet and my daughter was in the throes of potty training. It was inevitable that one day our toilet would revolt, and when it did, we couldn’t get a plumber for two days. We quite literally did not have a pot to … well, you know. But we did have my daughter’s potty. For the four of us. For two days. It actually made the idea of an outhouse look good.
The bad news now was that our kids had grown and we no longer had a potty to use. The good news was, we had a second bathroom. Still, I thought it behooved us to get the running toilet to stop running before we had another issue, like a leak, which we also wouldn’t be able to get anyone in to fix for us.
The fact that the running toilet was in what we had designated as my husband’s bathroom allowed me to:
a) point fingers and say it was his fault, and
b) tell him he had to find a way to fix it, and
c) stockpile air freshener in case he couldn’t.
This was good in theory, but with my husband’s checkered history in home repair, it seemed we had a better chance of solving the problem without causing a Noah’s Ark-sized deluge if I took charge. I looked online and within minutes I found a possible solution.
“I’m no plumber,” I said to my husband. “But I suspect that the problem is the doohickey inside the thingamabob that’s not working right.”
He looked at me in utter confusion.
“The DOOHICKEY!” I repeated loudly. “In there!” I pointed to the tank.
He shrugged. I’d seen more enthusiasm from a slug.
“Argh,” I said. “I think we just need to do this.”
I walked over to the side of the toilet, adjusted the top of the tank, and jiggled the handle. The toilet started to slow down and then went quiet.
“How’d you do that?” asked my husband in amazement.
I shook my hand.
“It’s all in the wrist.”
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