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The drip

Published: Friday, Jan. 31, 2014 12:23 p.m. CST

This morning was delightful. Actually it started out that way, but then my wife spoke. Allow me to explain.

The first words that you want to hear out of your spouse in the morning are usually something like, “My, don’t you look handsome today! Are you losing weight?” or “The French toast is ready, and we have a new bottle of syrup.” The words that you don’t want to hear her say are, “I’m not sure, but I think that the toilet is leaking.” No, those are words that nobody ever wants to hear.

As I nervously walked to the bathroom door, I asked her why she thought it was leaking. She replied that she thought that she had heard a drip and that there was a puddle on the floor. Being the eternal optimist, I thought to myself that a mere puddle on the floor by the toilet doesn’t necessarily mean that there is a leak. You see, I wake up pretty early, and sometimes my “morning aim” isn’t always so good. Ask any guy. It happens. Sometimes it doesn’t even need to be morning.

But as I peered in behind the white porcelain fixture, I could see she was right. At that very moment, there was a drip forming at the junction of — please pardon the technical terminology — the valvy-type thingamabob and the whatchamacallit pipe that leads up to the tank doohickey. The day rapidly went downhill from that point on.

Being the manly type, I knew that it was time for me to step up and take control. To allay any fears that she might have about my abilities to remedy this situation, I confidently and promptly did what I believe any certified plumber would have done — I found an empty Cool Whip container to set under the leaky pipe to catch the water.

As I proudly stood there with my hands placed triumphantly on my hips admiring my handiwork, my wife audibly sighed with that “you know you didn’t really fix it” attitude that she tends to get whenever I work on something. I told her not to worry; this was just the first part of my repair job, I just like to enjoy small victories. I think I could actually hear her roll her eyes. As she left for work, I told her not to worry. I was sure all that needed to be done was for me to replace that whatchamacallit pipe, and the problem would be solved.

You’re going to find this hard to imagine, but my wife doesn’t always believe that I possess all of the masculine-type, mechanical skills that I should. In other words, I’m not her dad. He is not afraid to build or repair anything and everything in his house whether it be plumbing-related, electrical, furnace, etc. ... I cringe a little whenever I plug something into an outlet knowing full well that I’m about to be electrocuted.

But on this occasion, I really didn’t think this little pipe was going to be too tough to change. However, I always like to have a little positive reinforcement that I’m doing the right thing. So I took a photo of the leak, texted it to my brother-in-law just to get his advice on what he would do in this situation. He texted back that I should get a bigger bucket. I knew that I was on my own on this one.

After I turned the valvy-type thingamabob off and as I got my wrenches out and started tugging on the water line, my mind started thinking “What if these fittings are reverse-threaded?” All I could picture was cracking the pipe coming out of the wall or somehow busting the porcelain. My wife would come home from work and find me curled up in the fetal position, drenched in a mixture of sweat and toilet water, mindlessly murmuring, “I should have got a bigger bucket … I should have got a bigger bucket ...”

With this on my mind, I did what I usually do whenever a repair job like this comes up. I got my iPad out and called up YouTube. Honestly, you can type just about anything into that website, and there will be some goofball that has made a video on how to do it. This is how I fixed my washing machine; this is how I replaced the heating element on our clothes dryer; and now I can add to the list, that’s how I fixed the leaky thingy on the toilet.

With that anonymous guy on YouTube sitting on the toilet seat giving me that boost of confidence that I needed, I am proud to report after the pipe replacement and several test flushes, everything seems to be right with the world once again. My bathroom floor is dry as a bone.

Well, at least it was dry as a bone. I really need to work on my aim.

You can contact Wallace at gwallace@bcrnews.com. You can follow him on his blog at http://gregwallaceink.blogspot.com.

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