I am Haunted by Cisterns …

Jack’s weekly guest blog as the haunted househusband of Big Stone Gap’s Little Bookstore…

Regular readers will have been following the refurbishment of our basement and how it tested my construction skills. When I successfully installed an “up-flushing” toilet in what we now call the “caretaker’s flat” (Wendy’s and my cozy hide-away in the bookstore basement) I thought I could rest on my laurels. After all, these places are called rest rooms in America, are they not?

Perhaps through jealousy for all the attention the upstart up-flusher was getting, two of the other three rest rooms in our bookstore promptly developed leaky toilet tanks (caused, I think, by people leaning back against them and disturbing their ancient hardened seals). In addition, the new upstairs kitchen sinks for our Second Story café started leaking! I began to have nightmares about drains, and said as much to Wendy. She looked at me with wifely sympathy and said, “I am haunted by waters.” (That’s the closing line from Norman Maclean’s story A River Runs Through It. She knows I don’t like the book, so it was a double whammy. Hmmph.)

As I tackled these haunting, daunting waters, matters were not helped by numerous trips to our local hardware, and then to Lowe’s, for obscure parts. I should explain that a toilet tank is called a ‘cistern’ in Britain. This caused much confusion-turning-to-merriment amongst the people I asked to help me.

Still and all, the patron saint of plumbers must have noticed me out of the corner of her eye,  because despite not having a clue what I was doing, I successfully fixed first the ancient leaky tanks and then the brand new sinks in the kitchen. Don’t ask me how, or expect any professional advice – I’ve no idea what I did. Perhaps swearing at inanimate fittings DOES work after all!

That was last week. And of course this week, with the polar vortex creating sub-zero temperatures, I’ve been dreading burst pipes. So you can imagine my dismay when our excellent café chef Kelley called down to me recently that there was a ‘leak in the sink’. I sighed inwardly and headed up yet again to do battle with the dreaded drain–to find Kelley working hard to keep a straight face while indicating the sink basin. In it was nestling a leek – of the garden green variety.

Ha ha, very funny. I am haunted by leeks….


Filed under Big Stone Gap, bookstore management, crafting, humor

12 responses to “I am Haunted by Cisterns …

  1. That last paragraph is one of the best.

  2. Now that’s funny, I don’t care who ya are!

  3. Quoting, of course, Larry the Cable Guy!

  4. Better to be haunted by leeks than leaks.

  5. Karla Kuriger

    OMG, I LOVE reading what BOTH of you write, Jack and Wendy!

  6. Sue Wallis

    Ah, plumbing! While my very handy husband is able to tackle most home emergencies with skill, whenever a plumbing crisis occurs (always at the most awkward time), I beg him to call a professional! I still can see the outcome of his first plumbing attempt-an unintended “shower room” in the basement! The stuff memories are made of. Good for you, Jack, for vanquishing the toilet tank demons. And kudos to your chef.

  7. donnagchapman@yahoo.com

    You are a good man….my husband does all manner of repairs but water is his least favorite.

    Sent from my iPad


  8. Janice Brooks-Headrick

    Bravo! I once owned a remodeled restaurant. After about six months, all the sinks (6) and comodes (3) began leaking profusely. The original plumber couldn’t come. The emergency plumber told me all the joints were glued using the wrong glue. Also, the sewage drain rain uphill, and it leaked. The basement was flooded with raw sewage. We closed the restaurant until it was fixed and fumigated. Correct glue is vital. Jan

    Janice Brooks-Headrick 865-429-1783 Storyteller Author Instigator TALESproject.org Timeline: facebook.com/janice.brooksheadrick Email: janice.brooksheadrick@facebook.com

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