Monday, November 25, 2013

The unexpectedly grateful heart - plumbing trouble

More than a year ago, I walked into my laundry room to find a steady stream of water running out of the ceiling and puddling on my clothes dryer. I grabbed a big bowl, stuck it under the leak, and hurried upstairs to intervene with my showering son. I then made a frantic call to the plumber, and he was quick to arrive. A brief look revealed that he would need to cut into the sheet rock of the ceiling and "explore" to find the leak. There would be "a lot of dust". Unfortunately, my mother was recovering from pneumonia in the next room and was on oxygen. Extra dust was not an option. I put an "out of order" sign on the shower door and waited. 

Before I knew it, my mother died, then the holidays came, and then I fractured my hand. There was never a good time to make such a mess in my home, especially since the laundry room is right off the entrance to the house. I've lost track of when the next plumbing crisis arose, but it was real trouble. The toilet in my bedroom wouldn't quit running. My plumber had a family emergency and couldn't get by, so I called Substitute Plumber. The substitute plumber said my toilet was too old to fix and I should just get a new one. That seemed absurd to me. Why couldn't he just get a kit at Lowe's and install it? There was a detailed explanation that I didn't want to hear and totally ignored. 

My plumber assured me he would check the toilet when he came to fix the shower, but he was really busy and couldn't get by. He didn't have time for two problems. All that water running was driving me crazy and keeping me awake at night, so I devised a very clever solution involving kitchen twine and the float in my toilet. Problem solved. Sort of. I figured it would keep me same until the plumber arrived. 

I really hated having that twine device, so I went to the toilet store, just in case Substitute Plumber was right. I don't know who designs toilets these days, but for some reason they have started putting a porcelain model of the large intestine at the back part of the toilet. Of course you can't see that if you are seated, but if you are in my bathtub, you have a great view of the porcelain large intestine. It is really gross, and I am sure I could design a more attractive toilet. Really, I can't understand why the women who pick out toilets have not revolted already. I refused to buy a Large Intestine Toilet. I would just wait for the real plumber. 

Finally, I was out of my cast and ready to brave the dust. I called the plumber but he had eighteen new houses to finish. In my delay, I had ended up at the end of the line. I assured him I am tough as nails and I could take it. Then my shower handle broke. I got my pliers and went to work. The bad news is that I made it worse instead of better, and the only way to change from bath to shower mode was now with the pliers! 

I was being driven crazy with the plumbing, so I called the plumber again. He still had eighteen houses (I wondered what he had been doing while my plumbing was falling apart) but he assured me he would get to me soon. I know you are thinking, "Get another plumber!" but he is the only plumber in my town. The other reason to keep my plumber is that he told me he could "probably" fix my toilet. I was willing to endure anything if I could avoid the Large Intestine Toilet. 

Last week, I was close to the breaking point. I had already had to tie knots in my kitchen twine device and it was in danger of breaking again.  When I called the plumber, he uttered the most beautiful words I've ever heard! "I'll be there tomorrow!" he promised. He arrived right on time at 7:30 Friday morning. I was about to go out of town for my nephew's wedding, but I felt comfortable leaving the plumber in charge. After all, I'd been waiting for years for him to come. Well, really months, but it seemed like years. 

He took one look at my toilet and said, "This toilet is old and you can't get parts for this any more. The best thing to do is replace it."  I had waited all this time just to replace the toilet after all!  Aaargh! He assured me it was no problem because he had a really nice toilet he could install. What choice did I have? I went to the wedding and left him hard at work. 

Saturday night, we returned home to a real surprise. My old toilet was waiting for me on my front porch!! I still cannot believe I have a toilet on my porch! THAT is an issue I will deal with tomorrow, so don't worry. I hurried upstairs to see what had happened in my bathroom and to see this supposed "really nice toilet". You are NOT going to believe this, (I still don't) but my plumber has installed a Large Intestine Toilet in my master bathroom! I have no choice to keep it, but I'm not really happy. When I took a bath this evening, I had to keep my head turned to avoid the Large Intestine. 

You are probably thinking that she is just whining and whining about her plumbing when any sane woman would've called another plumber.  Probably all true. The amazing thing, though, is that, when I started considering the Unexpectedly Grateful Heart tonight, all I could think of was the Large Intestine Toilet. It seems like I should be grateful, so I've decided to count my blessings. The first blessing is that the LIT (Large Intestine Toilet) always flushes and stops running promptly. The LIT is very clean and sparkling white. The LIT has no kitchen twine attached. The LIT is "comfort height" which is perfect for a tall man (however I am a short woman and my feet don't touch the floor). It will be just right if I break my hip, which I hope I never do! Most important of all, the LIT is not a squatty potty, which I really don't want to have to use. 

It's funny how the silliest, most trivial things can induce such a firestorm of whining and complaining, isn't it? The majority of the world's people don't have indoor plumbing and I complain about the LIT? Children die every day from typhoid and other preventable illnesses due to poor hygiene, yet I have a pristine LIT but still complain? Ludicrous!  Perhaps if I paid a little more attention to the needs of the rest of the world, I wouldn't get so worked up over trivialities. 

Tonight, I'm grateful for sanitary conditions, toilets that flush, a septic system that cleans the waste water, and the health that we take for granted in the developed countries of the world. I'm grateful for my plumber, who can be counted on to tell me the truth. I'm even grateful for my LIT. 

I suspect I am not the only whiner. Have you grumbled about the blessings God has provided? Perhaps you need to look at the big picture. That aggravation might turn out to be a blessing in disguise!