SOUR GRAPES: Holiday home repair

By Jim Magdefrau

What a way to cap off a fun week.

Traffic, appointments and appointments to make appointments. It closed with the confusion of what happens when a toilet handle breaks.

This was not a challenge I was looking forward to, but as a friend says, swallow that frog.

First off, there was having to take the top off of the tank. First thought. What the heck is going on in there?

There are things going in different directions. Down is up. Everything is under water like a Rube Goldberg version of the Mouse Trap game. There’s some chain in there. Where does that go to? I resorted to watching a YouTube video. So the handle goes to stick and the stick connections to the chain. The handle goes down, the stick goes up. Water falls out of the tank through a hole. The hole closes. Magic.

I have to get a new handle.

So on my routine run for supplies, I stopped by the local Belle Plaine Hardware store. Just like that, I had a new handle, bird seed and a strand of lights to connect to my stalk of corn. The usual shopping list.

I chose the most expensive model, reasoning it will last longer.

Repair time came. I had to stick my hand in the water, which made my cringe, but then I realized there is worse water. This is actually OK. It was cold. My fingers managed to undo the chain and connect it to the handle. The chrome lever is tightened by a reverse thread thing. No lefty loosey / righty tighty here. It defies all rules about home repair.

When all was done and the lid was placed back on the tank, I pulled the lever. That splash of water sound was the sound of victory. I felt like Secretariat winning the Indy 500. I had done home repair without one of those pointy things.

The Christmas corn is lit. The bird seed brought back the dark-eyed juncos. I have a list of holiday songs to work on for preschoolers. And I have a functioning toilet.

Christmas list. Filled.

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