Mad skills.

I used to work with this guy who was single, straight and lived alone.  Bought his own first house, a Jetta, a golden retriever.  He invited a bunch of us over for dinner one night and we got the nickel tour.  He had on his bed a beautiful quilt.  It was very “Cape Cod” looking in style and color.  I adore quilts and always have so I commented on it.  He says, “I made it”.  No freaking way.  Seriously?  “Yep”, he says, “I have mad skills.”

Mad skills are talents that, at first glance, would never be apparent.  I mean, this thirty-something straight man of the WOW/gamer/collections of “action figures” type can quilt.  Not just sew on a button but actually construct a quilt?  This was how he spent time with his grandmother he said.  But still.  Would never have guessed it.

I have several mad skills.  I can change the spark plugs on my vehicles.  I can drive, manuever and back up a 26 foot straight truck anywhere in America:  Times Square, a gravel road in Michigan, swamps in Florida, on a ferryboat, in an alley.  I can tie a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue (that’s kind of a bar trick but still a mad skill).  I can crochet a blanket without looking at it.  I can quote “Sixteen Candles” in its entirety.

Let’s add to this list:  plumbing.

So yesterday after church I notice that the one and only toilet is running slow.  It doesn’t seem to have the flushing “power” that it had the day before.  The dumb thing is a low flow toilet anyway.  I detest low flow toilets much like Peggy Hill does.  It’s embarrassing to be caught flushing twice.  Not that it matters in a house where I am clearly the only one who *remembers* to flush *every* time.

Attempt to clear #1:  the plunger.  Any asshat can use a plunger.  That is, unless the shape of the toilet does not match the shape of the plunger.  I can’t get a good seal on it which mean no good pushing power.

Attempt #2:  Rubber gloves.  And a bucket.  Not sure what’s in there or how deep it is.  But I put on the gloves and reached in.  Assessed shape of piping.  The thing curves all over the place.  But I don’t reach any kind of clog.  Gloves have giant holes and now my hands are cold and wet.

Attempt #3:  I call Robyn’s to see if Dean (her husband who is a gadgety engineer type) has one of those flexible wire things the toilet snake.  That just sounds gross.  He doesn’t but have I tried the bucket trick?  I have not.

Attempt #4:  The bucket trick.  2 gallon bucket.  Fill with water.  Pour into the commode quickly.  The pressure of the poured water is supposed to clear just about anything.  Does nothing.  But does make interesting gurgly sounds.

Attempt #5.  I find the only wire hanger in the house (NO.  WIRE.  HANGERS.)  (Name that movie).  I also find pliers and untwist the top making a long hooky thing.  (Insert inappropriate DIY abortion joke here)  Stuff it into the hole.  Not flexible enough.

Take a break.  Crack a beer.  Sit on the floor and assess situation.  Shoo tiny littles out of bathroom and away from toilet water toweling.  Huh, I think outloud.  I wonder if there is a clog at all or if it’s something else.  I notice the bolts holding the commode to the floor.

Attempt #6:  Take off the entire commode.  I turned off the water supply and unhooked it, letting it drain into the bucket.  I flushed one last time to clear the tank.  I pried off the dome caps covering the bolts.  I got out my handy-dandy socket set and loosened the nuts.  I lifted the commode off the bolts poking out the floor and tilted it to the side and boldly stuck my hand underneath.

There was some assorted debris of the feminine kind being held in place by a single, blue Color Wonder marker.  I cleared the clog, rebolted, reconnected water, flushed.  Perfection.  I cleaned up my mess and called the girls in for a little talk about what gets flushed and what doesn’t.  Ella blamed Amelia and I’m inclined to believe her.  Ella then says “I have to poop.”  I say go right ahead.  Give it a shot.

And all is well.  When I told this story to my dad and to Dean, both of them asked me if I replaced the seal.  Apparently there is a wax seal that you should replace if you lift up the commode.  I didn’t and, so far, it isn’t an issue.  I’ll know for next time. 

But we can definitely add plumbing of the toilet variety to my list of mad skills.  I had a big ole “Atta Girl” pat on the back for that one.

Who else has mad skills?  What are they?

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