Saturday, November 12, 2011

It's All Ball Bearings Now

Last weekend I mentioned that I had tried and failed to fix one of our toilets, and that Matt brought home a kit of new toilet tank parts. Actually, he brought home two because our downstairs toilet takes two hands to flush. He thought since we were fixin' toilets, we'd do that one too. So the bag containing the two toilet kits sat in my breakfast room all week. We find that these chores need time to season.

This afternoon, though, I said, "Honey, do you feel like poking around in the toilet?" I thought it would be relatively simple to swap the bad parts for good ones. But he was upstairs for a really long time, then came down and went straight out the door to the hardware store. He came back empty-handed and said they didn't have what he needed. Then he went down to research the problem on the internet. I guess he was watching YouTube videos? I stayed away because I didn't want any part of the job to adhere to me. Then there was some more toilet-study time in the bathroom and then a second trip to Home Depot. By now it was getting dark. I had folded laundry, watched both of the semifinal matches from the ATP Paris tournament, gone to the grocery store (taco night!), and read the entire September Elle, the one with Gwyneth on the cover, all while the toilet situation was unfolding. So we both had important jobs to do.

Taco Night was well underway when Matt returned from the store, but he had business with both toilets. Then he stepped into the kitchen to give me a status report. Because he is the way he is, the report started with a lesson in toilet anatomy. Apparently there's a flush valve and a fill valve, and each toilet had a different thing wrong, and replacing the relevant valves was made difficult by our toilets' antique status. It seems that in the fifteen years since this house was built, toilet technology has moved on, and the inside of a toilet tank looks very different.

I asked him what he meant, and he started explaining about how something called the "ball cock" was this and that and they don't do it that way anymore, and he just kept saying "ball cock" and I was tittering and saying, "Stop saying 'ball cock' hee hee!" and laughing like an eleven year-old Japanese girl. Ball cocks! And he went on because I think he was still honestly trying to get me to understand the technology. Then he reached an absolute crescendo that involved this actual sentence being said by him, "So, with the ball cock you really need to jiggle it, but the one with just the shaft and ring should take care of itself just fine."


I looked at him, looked deep into his soul to see if he was just messing with me, but he's a hard one to read.

Ball cock.


Jiggle it.

Okay, done.

So I think the toilet situation is resolved? The issue of my juvenile sense of humor is unresolved.

Did you have a good day? It was pretty low key here. I also took Hank to an early karate class--it was at 9 and I just never get out that early on a weekend morning, then I did some parental admonishing and adjudicating, cleaned the kitchen forever, straightened all the things, and ate a tablespoonful of Bonne Maman cherry preserves. Which is the best store-bought jelly. Listen to me, "store-bought." Like I am one of the freaking Waltons.

Good night, Johnboy!


Elizabeth said...

Awesome post. And I'm obsessed with the fact that you have a chic ad for Anthropologie on your BlogHer sidebar thing, and I have deodorant.

Kate said...

OMG, I just died! Ball cock! Matt haaad to have been joking. Right? I am dead.

Becky said...

No! He was super serious! The ball cock is a thing and we MUST JIGGLE IT!

Respect the ball cock!

Elizabeth, I rushed to see this chic ad but alas, now it's for AT&T. :(

Lunch Buckets said...

I'm obsessed with those cherry preserves. Last night I made pancakes - just so I could top them with the best store bought jelly ever! Also? Shaft.

Becky said...

I know! Shaft!

Pancakes, now that is a great thought.

Amy said...

I am dying forever now.

This post is gonna bring you some interesting google traffic, what with the ball cocks and the Japanese girls and the jiggling. So awesome!

Well if there is anyone to make sense of it all, Matt is that man.

Ok about Gwyneth. How do we feel about her? I rely on you to tell me what I think of such issues.

Becky said...

Re Gwyneth: slagging on her seems to be a thing, but I've always admired her taste. I truly enjoy her GOOP newsletter, and she's sincerely talented. I say, rock on GP.

Aimee said...

I don't get the hating on Gwyneth. Too weird.

Ball cock. That's beautiful.

Jiggle it lots, mmkay?

Cassi Renee said...

I have to really admire Matt! My husbands language would have involved lots of four letter words that aren't nearly as funny, especially with two separate trips to hardware stores.

And, I would never let him work on both toilets in a single day because most likely we would be toilet-less for a week.

Star said...

Fun post, as always, thanks so much.

Hootie said...

I'd like to interject something here... as a male-type home-owning husband who has dabbled in toilet technology: everything Matt said makes perfect sense. Furthermore, men have ballcock-centric conversations at the hardware store without cracking a smile.

And yet, a couple years ago I had to kiss a girl during a play, and I couldn't stop giggling. Go figure.

puncturedbicycle said...

The handyman showed me how to remove the floorboards he'd fitted in the understairs cupboard should we ever need to turn the water off. I had to stifle a giggle when he took out the important one on which he'd pencilled STOP COCK.

Amy said...

Consider my mortification when I found myself in a very similar conversation with not my husband, with whom I could reasonably titter and giggle, but with THE PLUMBER DUDE. Oh, yes. And as Hootie alludes to, he was quite straight-faced and serious about the whole ballfrickingcocking topic. Really? You're going to stand there and say "Ma'am" to me in the same sentence as "ball" and "cock"??!?

Allison said...

Ball cocks! Shafts! Could it get any better than this in the burbs? Funny, too funny.