This year was my wife's and my first Christmas holiday with a baby. On Saturday, the 23rd, we started strong. Both my wife and I had finished our major Christmas shopping and we hosted my parents and brother for an all day baby adoration extravaganza. Little guy had his favorite book read to him about fifty times. My bombastic brother does a great elephant imitation, including the use of his forearm as the trunk. Everyone ate heartily of Papa Murphy's pizza and after little went to sleep, we called it a night. Then the toilet broke.
The toilet had been running constantly for a little over a month. It would fill to the "fill" line and then keep filling with a tiny but audible stream of water. It never overflowed so we deemed it less important than the gaping holes in our walls. Then, on the night of the 23rd of December, I heard a the tell-tale rustling of a massive water flow. The toilet was filling right into the overflow pipe in the rate of gallons per minute. Relying on my innate knowledge of plumbing, I located the shut off valve and turned it clock wise (righty-tighty). Toilet water ran out of the bottom of the tank and all over the floor. I hastily flushed the tank again and again as I tried to close the shut-off valve. It was a losing battle. Fortunately my dad, already a hero to me, has the same innate knowledge of plumbing, located the shut-off valve for the house, and turned it clockwise. The water flow stopped to the toilet and the rest of the house.
I knew that water was an important part of the holiday. Aside of drinking, we would at some point need to use the toilet again. The time was 9:20pm. I leapt into action. I had to save my family. I had to save Christmas. I had to go to the bathroom. Having a house in a constant state of remodel, my basement is full of hardware items. I grabbed one of three extra shut-off valves from our plumbing section and tossed it at my dad. He said he needed a crescent wrench. I could not find our. (I am sure it will turn up eventually.). My dad removed the bad toilet parts and and I drove over to Lowe's as fast as the law would allow. Big box Lowe's is open until 10:00 Monday through Saturday. I arrived at Lowe's at 15 'til 10:00. I found a helpful guy in the plumbing section and displayed unto him the ersatz toilet parts. He handed me shiny new replacements. I told him that I would shake his hand but mine were covered in toilet water. Lowe's had a crescent wrench two pack for the price of one. I left Lowe's with the parts and wrenches at five 'til 10:00. This was definitely a squeaker.
Meanwhile, my dad had installed the new shut-off valve. The prior owner of my house had used compression fittings for every single plumbing fixture. Welded pipes are better because they cannot leak. Compression fittings, on the other hand, are very easily removed. Necessity is the bastard father of low standards. My dad connected all the parts and voila, a working toilet. It was a Christmas miracle!
The remainder of the holiday was on par with what Christmas should be like. I made cookies with some help from my family. There was a last minute run to Costco for steaks and prawns. We broke bread with my parents and brother on Christmas Eve, opened presents, and watched little guy crack up at his fun new toys. On Christmas Day we broke bread with my wife's parents and sister, opened presents, and watched little cracked up at his fun new toys. I ate about 100,000 calories, 50,000 of which were from the cookies I made. Today I bought a belt and a pie plate at an after-Christmas sale. Too bad Christmas only comes once a year.
Happy Boxing Day!
Tagged: personal stories