Tag Archives: installing toilets

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….

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

Should auld acquaintance – – –

Jack’s weekly guest blog –

I know – this guest post is a bit late!

But, hey – last night was Hogmanay!!

That’s one of the most significant nights of the year for Scots all over the world, and we celebrated in style with a houseful of friends, both young and old – er. We exchanged memories of our best moments of 2013 and our hopes for 2014 and played some interesting games (our dear friends Wes and Rach are serious ‘gamers’!). We all finished just after midnight with the obligatory rendition of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ – pronounced with an S and not a Z, of course!

So that’s my excuse.

I finally woke up this morning around 9 o’clock to the realization that, not only was it 1/1/2014, but Wendy was in full flow basement flat re-organizing mode. I should know after 15 years that whenever I do some remodeling it doesn’t matter that it isn’t quite finished – furniture has to be moved, and moved, and moved again. So I had to very quickly finish off the last work to the famous basement toilet and get rid of all the tools, wood off-cuts, left over ceiling tiles and numerous garbage sacks in order to clear space for the aforementioned furniture moving. But, wait – we said the bookstore would be open today, and we actually had customers who took us at our word.

Talk about hitting the ground running!

the useful corner

the useful corner

So this is how our life goes – and it’s great. Here’s a couple of pictures of the finished toilet (or rest room as I must remember to call it. Rest room? REST ROOM?? What on earth does that mean!?) And God Bless Us, Every One, in this new year!

the other end

the other end

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Filed under bookstore management, crafting, humor, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA