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Getting this blog out of the toilet

October 26, 2010

by Ashley Akin

Well, Smallest Users, it’s been a while. Due to a seriously hectic fall schedule that has required my Smallest User efforts be more out-in-the-world than online, I have been an absentee blogger. Which I hate. As many of you know, I would much prefer to sit on my broken behind and figure out how to connect Lady Gaga’s latest fugfreak outfit to energy-saving light switches or something; however it simply was not to be.

But you know what? I’m just gonna go ahead and tell all these people who’ve been requiring me to run around with fliers and T-shirts that they’re not my real parents anyway, and I’m gonna get back to my well-cushioned bloggy existence. In the spirit of melodramatic oaths (I watched The Princess Bride last night, so Inigo Mantoya is reverberating through my brain right now), I promise you readers – on the sword of my father – that I will  post this inane chatter at least twice a week for the foreseeable future.

I know, I know; it’s quite a commitment. In general the only things I like to do twice a week are watch The Vampire Diaries (brood, Stefan, brood!) and drink margaritas, but this is what I’m prepared to do for you, Smallest Users. And you’re welcome for that. Now take a minute to let the relief wash over you, and we’ll get started.

Last week I stayed with one of my friends in Nashville, and a small toilet issue arose. Now I grew up with brothers, so usually that would be a euphemism for some Taco-Bell-related incident, but what I’m actually talking about here is the incessant running of water.

I think we’re all familiar with the chain of events: you hear the water running an hour after you flush the toilet, you go in the bathroom, stare at it, huff around, do the professional plumber handle-jiggle, use some choice language, and then you call your landlord. [Or, if you’re a person like me who grew up in a house that had toilets from what must have been the early 1800s, you get out your coat-hanger and safety-pin and you Macgyver around in the tank until it stops. Just like your Daddy taught you.]

One thing is for sure: you are right to get (what seems like) irrationally angry about this little trickle for two reasons: 1) some of us have a bladder the size of a 90-year-old woman’s and will have to go 10 times as much with that waterfall noise in the background, and 2) “toilet leaks can waste as much as four to five gallons of water per minute and cost up to $100 per month in increased water and wastewater bills.”

Uhuh. One HUNDRED dollars. And oh right, the energy-saving part: a leak of this magnitude would waste 7200 gallons of water in just 24 hours. If you need a visual, picture 7200 gallons of milk (because frankly I have neither the time nor inclination to Photoshop that mess), and you’ll get the picture. (No pun intended. Seriously – I hate puns.)

So here are your options when your bathroom starts to sounds like Adventure River (which was just as sweet in the early 90’s as the picture to the left suggests it was):

1) Call your landlord. If you’re still one of us who is burning money by way of rent, take advantage of that, and demand a plumber. You’re probably the one paying the utilities anyway, and a leak will most likely affect your bottom line instead of theirs.

2) Call a plumber. If you own your home, you’d probably like to make sure your indoor plumbing lasts a lifetime (or at least until you sell that sucker off), and even most Amish people aren’t allowed to use outhouses anymore. Toilets are the easiest thing to screw up in a house if you don’t know what you’re doing, so there’s no shame in getting the job outsourced. [This is in contrast to the truly horrendous”Outsourced” that is the new NBC sitcom which is about as funny as Rush Limbaugh and even less politically correct.]

3) Do it yourself. Now HOLD UP. We are not all Bob Villa. If you do not already have a working knowledge of the words like “flapper/tank ball” or “float cup fill valve,” this may be out of your depth. But if you have spent time honing your skills, there’s no sense in paying Roto-Rooter to do your dirty work for you. There are hundreds of (legitimate) websites that can help you plumb like a pro, so if being elbow-deep in toilet water makes you feel like a man, go for it.

And, as Mister Roger’s would say, that’s all for today kids. I think we’ve accomplished a lot: we’ve reestablished trust, we’ve talked about toilets, we’ve made our required mention of vampires. I’m not sure there’s much more you could want out of a Tuesday. Except perhaps a trip to the Neighborhood of Make Believe. And on that note, I’m out.

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