Unclogging the toilet

In my last post, Suzanne (@ADivorcedMom)explained that never having lived on her own meant acquiring new skills, such as learning to cook. I had lived on my own for about ten years before I got married and I knew how to cook but there were plenty of new skills around home maintenance that I had to learn. When Suzanne listed unclogging the toilet as one her new skills, I laughed. Here’s Suzanne:

My son has always been busy since the day he came out. He was a challenging child and he’s curious, inquisitive. He’s all the things you would want your child to be, but that makes him extra dangerous. Even to this day, he’s always into something.

A broken toilet is no funHe would constantly clog the toilet. He would stick things in there, my cell phone, his cars. He even dumped my whole makeup bag in there one time. He would tell me it was an experiment and think it was funny but unclogging the toilet was really challenging for me because I’d never had to do that before.

My dad was basically on call until after the first couple of times he said,

“You’re going to watch me and you’re going to do this the next time.”

Because whatever my son put down the toilet would get stuck in the pipe, it wasn’t just a matter of using the plunger. It meant turning the water off, unscrewing everything, taking it all apart and putting it together again. We had all the supplies on hand because this was just an average occurrence for us.

He would do it so frequently that after a while I just got used to and it didn’t even phase me.

I stopped laughing at Suzanne’s story when I realized what she meant by unclogging the toilet. This was serious. Have you ever tried to lift an empty toilet? They are heavy and I’ve seen how tricky it is to line it up with the wax ring. I think as women, many of us are used to this being a “man’s job” but Suzanne proves that it’s learned skill and one I bet most of us are capable of handling. I’ve had my share of toilet disasters, including a couple of floods the last of which finally got me to quit procrastinating about changing the toilet flush mechanism in the problem toilet.

My latest toilet related challenge is getting my teens to change the toilet paper roll when it runs out … I’ve taken to sneaking paper from a fresh roll while writing a message on the empty roll and leaving it in place … Any other suggestions are welcome.

Photo credit: wheeldog

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  • http://www.postdivorcechronicles.com Lee Block

    Isn’t that the truth about having to acquire new skills! The toilet paper roll issue…wow…don’t have any suggestions for that one, but if you do figure it out, let me know!

  • http://formerlyaprildawn.blogspot.com April

    I remember the first time I fixed the problem of the toilet not flushing properly (without having to call my dad or anyone). I was SO SO proud of myself! I still call AAA for flat tires or dead batteries, but I’m okay with that since I do pay them to provide that service. We don’t HAVE to become experts at everything, but feeling that we have choices is empowering all by itself.

  • http://mothersalways.blogspot.com BM

    This also tells me I better learn how to change fluorescent lights and how to repair leaky pipes or change shower heads….more like I need a crash handyman class… . There ‘s nothing like learning new skills !

    • Mandy

      Ha Ha .. I’ve been procrastinating about changing some fluorescent lights bulbs and I finally tackled it the other weekend. However, changing the bulb didn’t fix the problem. It needed a new starter which I bought but could figure out where it went. I finally called my handyman – I didn’t have the right starter! It still felt good that I had at least tried.

  • http://www.careonecredit.com Suzanne

    I definately feel empowered when I am able to fix things on my own. Last year for Christmas I got my first toolbox…it’s pink!

    • Mandy

      A pink tool box – how fun! What’s on your Christmas list this year?

  • http://www.careonecredit.com Suzanne

    Hmm….Let’s see a new set of pots! I am coveting the Rachel ray cookware set. I treated myself to two new pans earlier this year. They are quite pricey so I am adding them to my christmas list! Oh and the Shark steam mop! Real exciting, right?

    • Mandy

      I’m sure Santa has you on his “nice” list :)

  • http://thedivorceencouragist.wordpress.com thedivorceencouragist

    This is a great post! I have a very early memory of my parents dealing with a clogged toilet and I have been scared of them ever since.

    • http://thedivorceencouragist.wordpress.com thedivorceencouragist

      …and by “them”, I mean “toilets”. Not my parents ;)

      • Mandy

        Ha! Ha! It’s not the toilets that scare me so much as the sound of running water when there shouldn’t be …