Monday, May 17, 2010

Breaking Day

Today was one of those days. Things broke. Some remain broken.

First off, an outlet suddenly went dead. I was vacuuming. I plugged in to the hall outlet and it revved the vacuum some, but not enough for it to function. I thought "How strange," and moved on to another outlet. I meant to check everything, but I got distracted. The morning news was on TV, I was cleaning everything, including the vents--a yukky job but long neglected.

But, by 3:00 p.m., when I took a break for lunch, and tried to turn on the TV, nothing. However, the power strip surge protector into which the TV was plugged, has a light to indicate when it is on. That light was on, indicating some power was trickling from the outlet. I plugged the TV directly into the outlet--nothing. I checked other outlets. Three were dead, then four.

I called my brother who said we'd have to hire an electrician, since turning the breaker on and off didn't help, and some things on the same circuit were working just fine.

I didn't want to call an electrician because they charge a million bucks an hour. I can't afford that and neither can my brother right now. So I decided I better tackle it and removed five outlets in all on that circuit and one switch plate, in search of the problem. I found the end of the line outlet and the first of the line to cause trouble and I knew it was something to do with that one or something near it. I cleaned it out, it was so dusty. Then I went to get new breakers and a couple of new outlets and two new switches, for the porch light and to control one outlet, because they are corroded.

In the meantime, I'd been cleaning when the elctrical problem arose, and, in a rush and stressed trying to solve the electrical problem, I went and dumped the mop water down the toilet. JUST LIKE LAST TIME the mop water contained a cleaning rag. I saw that rag just as it started to flush. I turned off the water to the toilet but the rag was too far into bowels of the bowl to get out. Now I have to take the toilet off again. I thought "What a stupid mistake to repeat." But I did it.

After shoving all the outlets back into the wall and replacing the covers, magically, thankfully, all outlets once again worked. My tow truck friends, set to come over and see if they could help trace the source of the electrical problem, said "If it works now, don't touch it or try to fix it." I agreed.

I still have no working toilet. But at least I have electricity.

On the way back from Home Depot, where I bought some replacement breakers, I was arguing with myself, in attempts to lighten the situation. I said to myself, "If you can't fix the electrical problem, well who needs electricity anyhow? I mean, sure a refrigerator is real nice and so are lights, but that's what flashlights and ice chests are for. As for a toilet, five gallon buckets are just perfect and I can put the toilet seat right on top of a five gallon bucket. So there. You don't need electricity and you don't need a flush toilet."

That's what I told myself driving home. I wasn't going to call an electrician because I can't afford one and neither can my brother right now, at least I don't think he can. He didn't say that, and he never would, but I know he's struggling and I'm determined not to be another weight around his neck no matter if I have to live here without electric or whatever.There's the darn cleaning rag that caused the toilet to plug. It was near the very bottom of the winding tunnel from bowl to sewer line. So once I took the toilet off and turned it upside down, I could reach up from the bottom and pull it out. Technically, I know, anytime you pull the toilet off, you're supposed to replace the wax seal there, at the base, around the sewer hole, which looks pretty darn clean. But so sue me I didn't replace it.

Problems. Problems. The toilet tank gasket fell to pieces, from age, is toast. I didn't have another for replacement. I had to rig something.

Long long day. Finally, finally, almost 2:00 a.m., breaking day is over and everything broken once again is fixed or jury rigged to work.


  1. Gosh, Jody-when you clean you REALLY clean-"inside" and out! LOL

    Take Care

    PS Volunteering at my 2nd spay neuter clinic tomorrow! One of the females I rescued and was going to adopt out died from the first one I worked at. A clip came off and she bled to death inside herself. I didn't know some vets use clips but it was a vet I stopped using years ago because she sedates too heavily. Poor thing!

    veri word: cometh

  2. I never heard of clips being used. Sutures, knots in tissue, but never heard of internal clips being used. Congrats on volunteering!

  3. you don't want to replace the wax seal because you'll need to take the toilet off the next time you dump the mop water down there...hahahaha....

  4. Exactly, Jeanne. I didn't want to say it so bluntly, but thank you for doing so.

  5. You are quite welcome. Anytime you need some bluntness, you know where to reach me!

  6. Yes, I'd like to reach you and hand you about 8 kittens. Would that be just fine?

  7. would be wonderful...hand em over! I'll take three tortis and five orange tabbies to go...perhaps one should be named "Blunt"?