A Woman’s Castle

YoungwomansittingnexttotoiletI downsized as a result of my divorce. I moved right next door into a cheaper home that is twenty-years-old and in good shape, but a bit dated. I had big plans of refinishing the cabinets and adding new rustic hardware, buying new appliances, picking out lovely shades of paint, changing the flooring, making the patio bigger and on and on and on. Then reality hit when I realized that I now have a loan on this house as a result of paying the ex-husband his half of “our” old house sale proceeds.  I don’t have any extra money to piss away on my castle. No worries, I’ll just live in my new “Home Sweet Home” and love it the way it is.

Within a month the disposal needed to be replaced….it wouldn’t even grind up a grape. Then the hot water heater started leaking and a plumber wanted $2,500 for a new one…a special deal only good that day. Yeah right. So after tons of research, I bought one and it sat for two freezing months in the garage until I could find a cheaper solution. Everything was fixed in my new home where I was protected and felt safe.

Then it snowed and when it melted the gutters were overflowing onto my patio and the bricks on the patio slowly starting sinking to China. I noticed the house was getting dusty really quickly and remembered that houses have these things called HVAC filters somewhere in the dark and lurking basement where my new hot water heater was bubbling away happily every day. I looked and looked and had no idea where it was hiding from me until I stood on my head and found a tiny little ring. I pulled it and out came a drawer with absolutely nothing inside. Peering deep into the dark recess, I saw a scrunched up piece of cardboard, tried pulling it out, broke a nail and finally succeeded in reaching the blackest object I had ever seen. I squinted and finally made out that this was the infamous filter that I sacrificed my nail for, 20 x 25 x 1. I rushed over to my local Ace Hardware and bought 6 filters. I couldn’t wait to put the new one in! I now have a schedule on my phone to change it every 3 months and I had accomplished something I had never done before.

A week later my sink was clogged. How in the hell do you fix that? My son said to use a snake and clean it out. A what? I am not bringing a snake into my castle. Oh, you mean a little thing you stick down in the trap thingy that’s underneath my sink? I bought some Drano and it worked. It probably ate my pipes that I will now have to replace in the future, but I will move before then. I’ve done it before and can do it again.

Spring came along and the patio door needed a new screen. Solution? Use clear packing tape on both sides of the rip. Worked like a charm. Looks like shit, but who cares? I am victorious at every turn. I’ve got this home maintenance stuff all figured out. Except that the gutters still need to be cleaned out and now there are huge dips in my patio that I have to step around. Solution? Don’t have any company sit on the patio. No problem at all. When the dogs fall into the holes, I just scoop them up. It’s a new game we play called hide and seek. Not sure they understand but I get a chuckle or two.

A few days ago the guest toilet started running all the time. I can fix this problem, just jiggle the handle or check the chain to see if it fell off. I didn’t find a chain but I noticed a seal at the bottom of the flush thingy so I thought I would move it around. Black ink-like gunk poured onto my hands and my arms, and it was swirling around the bottom of the empty tank, looking like a Jackson Pollock painting. Did I strike an oil well in my toilet? I couldn’t get the junk off my hands, even with bleach, but the toilet was working once the seal was in place! For one single, solitary, stinking flush. No worries, I am woman, hear me roar. I can fix anything!

I marched back into the Ace store and reviewed the array of strange-looking plumbing supplies. I had a picture in hand and knew what to buy, or did I? Each clerk that came by offered a different suggestion and before long I wanted to plop down on the floor and throw a temper tantrum just like a little kid. All I wanted were the right parts to fix this blasted toilet. Finally, with a flush valve replacement in hand, I was ready to be Ms. Master Plumber. An hour later with the bolts refusing to budge, I was laying on the floor having that temper tantrum, with a stream of cuss words flowing freely while I shook my fists to the heavens! Why was the Plumbing God being so mean to me?

YouTube came to the rescue and I watched intently while a hundred videos offered a hundred different solutions. I used a bit of all of their advice and before long a new bright red seal was circling the base of the flush valve. I waited patiently for the tank to fill and I pressed down the handle with anticipation….it worked like a charm! I did it! Time to break out the Vive Clique Champagne that has moved from house to house over the years.

Not so fast party girl. The float was not acting right and I adjusted the screw, bent the rod and as soon as that black monster hit the water, it started filling and draining and filling and draining until I turned the water off for the millionth time. I now need a new water shutoff valve. Back to Ace and the clerks were thrilled to see me with my crazy hair from standing on my head to work on this blasted project. I am sure I looked like a wild woman; I hadn’t showered, no makeup, glazed over eyes, and flushed cheeks (at least those flushed right).

The manager took pity, told me you can’t buy just the ball and lever as they don’t make them for my ancient toilet anymore and suggested one more thing to try. He handed me his card and said if it didn’t work to call him and he would come over and repair my f*&*%^$ toilet. I think he felt sorry for me and hoped I would leave his store before any more customers had to view this vision of extreme beauty standing in his plumbing department. Five minutes after I got home and nothing worked, I called him, my head hanging low, my pride in my hands, and giving up in defeat. The Plumber God had won. There was finally something that my hot glue gun and duct tape wouldn’t fix.

A friend shared a quote with me today and I researched where it came from. It must be an original comment, and I think he’s going to make a shit load of money by producing pretty little decoupage placks in many different styles and colors to fit the decor of every single woman’s kitchen. I’m making one this weekend in my art class lovingly adorned with calligraphy stating “A Women’s Castle is Her Hassle.” No “Home Sweet Home” for me anymore.



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