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Domestic Disturbances

Oh what a day!  The day was just shaping up to be difficult when I talked to my mother on the phone.  I said, with what may have been misplaced optimism, “At least it will make a good blog post!”  We shall see.

The first thing to go wrong was that the coffee maker died.  It had been sputtering along on its proverbial last legs for a while, but these things are always a tragedy when they finally occur.  I made plans to purchase a coffee maker later this morning, but I wanted to go running first, since I did not go yesterday.

And that was when things got interesting.  The toilet overflowed.  Yikes!  I plunged and plunged, hollering for Steven to come up and turn the water off (I can’t get that little handle to turn).  At last I got all the water to go down.  Steven got a mop and with the help of some dirty towels (don’t judge my laundry methods; I have enough problems today), we got the spilled water cleaned up.

This has happened to us before, most memorably on Christmas Day (I wonder if I made a blog postpost about it). What I did then was run out for a bottle of drain unclogger (we needn’t mention brands).  A couple of doses, more plunging, and our holiday was saved.  I had every reason to believe that would be the case today.

First I had a problem finding the right stuff to pour in.  So many of them said do not use on toilets!  What’s that all about?  I finally found one that said to pour a quarter of the bottle in.  Four doses!  I felt I would soon be flush with success (see what I did there?).

It was while I was waiting 15 minutes for the second dose to work its magic that I called my parents.  My father told me a useful trick: take the lid off the tank, then when you see the water is not going down, push the stopper down and the bowl will stop filling.  Genius!

If I had known how many times I was going to use that trick this morning,  I would not have been so sanguine when I hung up the phone.  However, I kept in mind the other thing my father told me:  sometimes you just have to keep plunging.

When I needed a break from plunging, I took a walk down to Collis TrueValue Hardware on Main Street in Herkimer (just  to sneak in a plug for a local business) for more stuff to pour into the toilet.  I tried something different this time.

More pouring, more plunging.  On my forlorn last pour, while I waited the 15 minutes, I asked Google how to snake a toilet.  I feared another trip to Collis was in my future.

I went upstairs, held my breath, and flushed.  And the water did NOT go down!  I plunged.  However, this time it felt different.   It took fewer plunges for the water to go down.  Barely daring to hope, I flushed again.


I cannot adequately describe my relief, joy and delight.  I flushed it again, just to be sure.  Success!

So that is my toilet story for the day.  I wonder if I can top it on Lame Post Friday.  As always, I hope you’ll stay tuned.


Please, Fence Me In

I thought I was off on a Mohawk Valley adventure on Saturday when I left the house bound for New Hartford, NY. I’m afraid it turned out… not so much. But I will attempt to write about it nevertheless, just to avoid Yet Another Post About Why I Can’t Write a Post.

I was delayed by a minor homeowner’s disaster: a section of my fence was down. A brief explanation about the fence: It’s been pretty crappy since we moved in. We didn’t think it was ours, because the smooth side was in. Turns out the previous homeowner put it up backwards. Ah, the things you learn. A few years ago my father, mother and sister came over and helped us replace one post and nail up some boards which had fallen. I’ve spent every winter since living in fear that it would fall on the one of the neighbors’ cars.

So it was not entirely unexpected that a section was down. But it sure wasn’t what I was in the mood to see. It was dangling, still caught on part of the fence left standing. It obtruded into the neighbors’ driveway in a most inconvenient fashion. I thought I had better do something about it. I tugged and pulled and pulled and tugged. Tried pushing with no more success. At last it fell off the still upright portion. With my meager strength I could not move it further into our yard, but at least the neighbors could drive around it to get in and out of their parking lot. I cravenly went to New Hartford.

I did part of what I set out to do in New Hartford, as I said, nothing very adventurous. I thought I should hurry to be back home by 12:30, when Steven was expected for lunch. I hurried, while still following the posted speed limits. When I got home Steven was already home, pulling at the fallen fence section with more effect than I had. I ran to help and we got the damn thing on our own yard. Phew!

Tune in next week for a riveting blog post on What We Did to Fix the Fence (um, we probably won’t use rivets. I was speaking figuratively).