Regular readers will recall the saga of the basement remodeling, that led to the second story remodeling, which in turn led to my current dilemma – plumbing. I hate plumbing! Actually it scares me sh*tless!! I have nightmares about plumbing.
Ever since the time the town upgraded their water lines–producing extra water pressure that ended up in half the buildings in town being flooded as joints blew–I’ve been in serious dread. On that occasion I ended up lying in 6 inches of water in our upstairs bathroom, almost naked, holding a joint in the line to the commode while smiling at a young police officer who came in response to Wendy’s 911 call. Then I remodeled that bathroom and had to reposition the commode, which retaliated by dumping a steady stream of sewage directly downstairs one horrible day; fortunately we caught it before anything serious happened. “These books are crap” never came so close to being literal truth.
The latest adventure is the basement toilet. Wendy and I set up housekeeping down there recently, after my creating her a “writing room and yarn containment area” turned into “Why don’t you remodel the whole thing, honey?”
Like most basements, the sewage line is at near ceiling height and that required an ‘up-pump’ toilet, which needed a water line, a connection to the drain and running a vent to the outside of the building. I discovered during the process of hooking it up that there are a million different sized pipes described as “half inch” but none of them are and none of them can be connected together. Then we also needed a sink; what is it with sink drains that are a different size from standard?
Just about the last plumbing job was to remove a brick in the wall to allow exit for the vent pipe. (How many of you are now humming Pink Floyd in your heads?) It took me the best part of a day to get that brick out – it was at the top of a double brick foundation and that row had the bricks laid crosswise, so I had to chisel and drill out an awful lot of mortar before that &^%$* would dislodge!
But the scariest moment came switching on the “up-pump” unit. I put it off as long as possible. I knew that the tank had to fill to a certain level before the float would actuate the pump and I had no idea how long that would take.
Wendy is not a hesitater. “When are we going to start using the toilet?” “Is it ready yet? Oh, then when?”
Finally she figured out I was just plain scared, so she did the sympathetic thing a wife does in these circumstances: invited a group of friends over for the ceremonial first flush. “This way, dear, if it’s wrong, you’ll have a support group.”
So there we stood, the moment of truth at hand and me surrounded by well-wishers–or perhaps, in this case, pump-wishers–and me reaching my hand to the handle… no more procrastination, no more excuses, no more stays of execution…
It flushed. It made that sucking sound and the water went down in an elegant swirl, and everyone applauded. Then they went upstairs to have Apple Pie in the cafe.