April 11, 2006

Retardcapades; or, it wonât get better if you poke at it.

This afternoon marked the second time, since I moved into this house in September, that Iâve had to call my landlady and get her to send out a very nice plumber named Ruben.

The first time was about a month after we moved in. Iâm not saying itâs my Delightful Housemateâs fault, but he is the one who talked me into getting those plunk-into-the-tank toilet tablets so we could have matching blue water in our bathrooms. Shortly after I applied mine per package instructions, the toilet in my bathroom started to act really wonky, and when the very nice plumber finally came out, he fished around for a little bit, and said, âYeah, well, someone put one of those blue things in the tank, and now a piece broke off and wrecked the seal. Weâre going to have to put in a new toilet â that suckerâs finished.â I recall contriving to look both shocked and innocent as I said, âI didnât â I mean, how would someone know that a product designed to go in the toilet would break the toilet? That doesnât make any sense.â The plumber looked at me steadily and said, âLook here. Iâm telling you, this suckerâs finished.â My new toilet, however, works really nicely with plain old regular water-colored water in it.

My favorite pair of earrings is an absolutely unique, large, heavy, beautiful, expensive pair of 6-gauge free-form swirly-spiky things that, William told me when I purchased them, represented one of Gottsiâs suppliersâ very first attempt at casting steel. Or something like that. Despite the almost total non-elasticity of my ears, I did a very painful and ill-advised stretch just so that I could wear them, and nary a day has since gone by that I havenât been highly complimented on them by a stranger â kind of an accomplishment, in a tiny little town like mine, where Iâd thought Iâd run out of strangers about a year ago.

I decided to get my lazy ass up and take a shower around noon today. My pre-ablutionary checklist goes something like this: Get up, turn off alarm, stagger into bathroom, turn on water, wait five minutes for it to heat up, make sure no one else is trying to use water because thereâs no water pressure in this house, take out earrings if I fell asleep with them in after stumbling home from pub the night before, take off sweats and hoodie, get in shower. This is not at all the correct order in which to do these things, because this morning, I leaned over the tub, turned on the water, and watched as one of my earrings dropped perfectly down the drain. If the drain had been a basketball hoop, the earring would have caught nothing but net: swish, tinkle, and gone.

There is only one thing to do in these circumstances: turn off the water, scream âMOTHERFUCKER!â and punch the wall. This accomplished, I tried poking my fingers into the tub drain. Ew. I tried poking around with the aid of a flashlight and a straightened coat hanger. I got a lot of hair, but no earring. I tried prying up the metal thing around the drain to give me more room to work. I was about to give up and call the plumber when I had the genius idea of putting a different kind of bend in the coat hanger so it would reach farther. It did: I was rewarded with a metallic tinkle, and then a very decisive âclonkâ that sounded, oh, several inches lower down the drain.

On my landladyâs suggestion, I went outside and stuck my arm into the big black pipe that comes out of the ground on the other side of the bathroom wall. It connects to the sewer line. There was stuff in there, but not my earring.

As it turns out, the plumberâs usurious hourly rate is the same as what I paid for the pair of earrings in the first place, which I calculated to mean I would break even on the transaction. âUm.â said my Delightful Housemate. âHow is that breaking even, again?â

The very nice plumber walked into the house and stopped when he saw my finger pointing at the bathtub. âOh Christ. Youâll never get anything back out of a bathtub drain,â he said. âNever. Not going to happen.â I think it was only my wobbly lower lip and big tear-filled Precious Moments eyes that made him start backpedaling. âWell, maybe,â he said. âDid you turn off the water right away?â I nodded. âOkay,â he said, âcross your fingers. It might not have gone all the way down. Do you have a coat hanger?â

I handed him the already-unbent coat hanger I had been using earlier. He took it, looked at me, shook his head, sighed, looked at the drain, looked at the coat hanger, looked at me, and appeared to decide not to say anything. I fled upstairs while he made clonking and swearing noises in the bathroom, until he made me come back down.

âWell, if you didnât have a slab foundation in this house, Iâd be able to get it real easily,â he said. âBut you do. And somethingâ â I looked guiltily at the coat hanger in the trash, and then tried to look innocent â âseems to have pushed it all the way down. That suckerâs gone.â He got back in the plumbing truck, then rolled his window down. âGone,â he called, as he backed out of the driveway.

So, to recap, I screwed it up by fucking around in the drain, whereas if I hadn't done that the total lack of water pressure in this house would not, on its own, have been enough to push the earring out of reach. And on second thought, I donât think I broke even on the transaction at all. I appear to have one unwearable $180 earring. The other one, of course, was only removed from its mate by about six inches of pipe and a stupid slab foundation, and was audibly calling out, Tell-Tale Heart style, all afternoon. I couldnât get any work done with that clanking noise coming from downstairs, so I finally had to go into the bathroom, lean way over the tub while not wearing any jewelry at all, and run the water full blast with my fingers in my ears so I couldnât hear its tinkly little voice, crying out as it washed all the way into the bay.

Posted by katie at April 11, 2006 03:45 PM | TrackBack

No! Dude, that sucks!

I'm getting Trembly Lip just reading this. Sniff. Stupid drain.

Posted by: Dianna at April 11, 2006 06:20 PM

It sucks sucks sucks. I think when I'm next up there I'm going to have to go over to Gottsi and see if they've got anything similar I can use to make myself slightly less unhappy about it.

And pick up a Batman DVD, BTW.

Posted by: katie at April 12, 2006 11:39 AM

It occurs to me to wonder if there's any other kind of ornamental role that remaining earring could play where it would be reasonable for there to be only one of it. The problem is that I don't really know you to be a wearer of necklaces or bracelets or enormous rings or anything like that.

Hopefully William will have something nicely seductive for you. In any case, I'm sure the movie will help. Hey, do you want to see my mask?

Posted by: Dianna at April 12, 2006 06:14 PM

Well, as you can see, there's nothing conveniennnt about my symptoms.

*Shudder.* So evil. So icky. So delicious!

So in other words, I totally need to (a) come grab a DVD from you, (b) steal your vacuum, (c) go to Gottsi and pout at William, and (d) fuckin' move back up there already. Yay!

Posted by: katie at April 13, 2006 11:43 AM

Oooh! What do William and Cillian Murphy have in common? Hotness and lips in equally large proportions.

How's the apartment search going, anyway? I don't see your car outside the place on Alcatraz yet.

Posted by: Dianna at April 14, 2006 12:21 AM