Wilder by Far

A look at life with the Wilder family. Updated most weekends and some vacation days. You can contact me at movingnorth@gmail.com..

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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

"Dad! The toilet lid was up and Jamie's tongue is blue again!" - Dewey, Malcom in the Middle


Pugsley prepares for his "undersea" adventure.

February has been the month of . . . difficulty at the Wilder Hacienda down in Houston. All the caballeros took their pay and went into town and shot up the place. All the dealings with things septic have been rough.

It started with the ants . . .

Shortly after we moved in, I went to bed. That is to say, I went to bed often, but I was speaking of a specific time. I generally say, “goodnight honey” before kissing The Mrs. and rolling over for slumber. That night, I said, “Ow. Ow. OW!” I looked down at the front part of whatever the newfangled term is for the part of your body where your foot meets your leg, and saw a little, tiny ant engaged in pumping as much formic acid as she could into me. (I say she, because mails don’t bite. I think. Go to Wikipedia if it’s bugging bothering you. I went back into the master bathroom (pretentious sounding, isn’t it? Do the other bathrooms have to report to the master before anyone pees?) and found the sisters of the little critter that so vigorously attempted to poison me. (Did the ant think it could eat me?)

Fire ants. In my bathroom.

Thus began the Great War of 2006 and 2007. I used every chemical shown by the Federal government not to make me grow a third eye in defeating the ants. I slaughtered them by the millions. They moved six feet under the concrete and began to build a new empire under the toilet.

Our house doesn’t have normal toilets. For whatever reason, every toilet in our house bolts to the wall. It’s like sitting on a Star Wars™ HoverToilet®, since none of the toilet-y parts go to the floor. I moved from the Battle of the Place Near the Sink to the Battle of the Under Toilet, and unleashed a weapon of mass ant destruction. As I bent down and began to spray, I noticed it.

The Drip.

Not a big drip, just an eensy-weensy bit of dampness under the toilet.

So, after the ants surrendered and signed the Treaty of Antversailles, I turned my attention to the toilet.

I hate water. Fish do unimaginable things in it. I really hate water in my house. I really, really hate water being someplace it’s not supposed to be. Outside the toilet bowel definitely counts, except for dribbles during the first 36 or so years after potty training.

I went and bought a wax ring – that’s the doohickey that seals the toilet to the hole where stuff that goes down the toilet goes so your bathroom doesn’t smell like Ernest Borgnine’s underwear. I attached it. Eensy-weensy drip remains. Repeat this process six seven times, and, well, the result is The Mrs. begins to lose a bit of patience, though The Boy is highly amused.

I finally sat down and really thought about my repeated failure. Then I realized the problem: the previous installer had tried to hug the toilet into the dry wall, and thus whenever anyone placed their bottom on the toilet, well, it would move just a little and slowly compress the wax ring. I reasoned, consulted Wikitoiletpedia, and decided to install something for the toilet to rest against, namely nuts on the protruding bolts

Another trip to Home Despot, another purchase of stuff. I got the bolts and was confronted with a dilemma: If the bolts weren’t even, when I cranked ‘em down to put the toilet against the wall so my butt wouldn’t rock it and mess up the seal, well, if they weren’t nearly perfect I’d end up putting stress on the ceramic toilet, crack the fixture, and, given my luck, well, it would be The Mrs. falling down and hitting the bathroom floor as the toilet disintegrated into shards of porcelain. That would be a bad day. I got out a laser, made two plumb bobs out of dental floss and flat washers, and made every nut protrude exactly the same distance out. I’m sure a plumber knows a better trick involving grease, a pig, and a stopwatch to make sure every nut is exactly right, but we didn’t have a stopwatch.

The Mrs. went to bed, giving up as I made sure that the toilet was right.

I pushed it onto the bolts. Bolt one – in. Bolt two – in. Bolt three - in. Bolt four – well, lets not talk about that. Although the nuts were in a perfect plane, they were a wee bit too far out.

It doesn’t leak, but it’s not right. I’ll fix it this weekend. The Mrs. is of the opinion that I should call a plumber, and has been since day one.

No. I say no. I’ve taken the ants. I can get the toilet.

7 Comments:

Blogger SusanE said...

I'd love to see a photo of the toilet... I'm having a hard time picturing it.

1:48 AM  
Blogger Tiffany said...

Ohh I hate those ants. Thankful though that the boys didn't get attacked. For an adult, its probably just karma. lol

I hope that toilet is still leakless.

Still enjoying the blog, funny, I came to the blog researching Alaska. But I have stayed. Also decided at one point, I don't want to live in Alaska and no worries, I never had an interest in TX. Bit I keep reading.

PS. Thank the Mrs. for the book plate.

4:57 AM  
Anonymous Doug said...

I, too, found you in my research of Alaska many moons ago, but can't help sticking around for the adventures.

I don't know if it works with fire-ants, but vinegar is a great, nontoxic regular ant repellant. If you don't mind your house smelling like a giant salad. But at least you, The Mrs., The Boy, and Pugsley won't grow a third eye.

Keep up the posting. I truly enjoy your writing.

9:09 AM  
Blogger Duck Hunter said...

I seriously know some chemicals for killing fire ants. I learned about it during my stay in South Florida. Most of those chems can (should) only be used outside.

I knew your bolts wouldn't work at least until the third go round. Good luck.

3:34 PM  
Blogger Joann said...

Ants may be just the beginning. One of my taxi customers told me that when she visits her son in Texas she keeps her slippers on the bed. Makes getting up at night less scary.

8:44 PM  
Blogger John said...

susane,
Ask and ye shall receive. Next post.

tiffany,
It is that nasty karma. I've killed zillions - they probably deserve a munch or two.

Thanks for staying with us. We try to keep all amused. And warned.

The Mrs. smiled.

doug,
Hmmm, vinegar. I like that. The Boy probably would think our house smelled like a salad, though.

If we added oil.

duck hunter,
Thank you. Nah, I've just bought some stuff that says it gives you a fourth eye if the ants don't die. I'm looking forward to killing them all.

joann,
Not so bad, here, unless Pugsley's been a bit queasy.

9:43 PM  
Anonymous Mouse said...

I'd just like to say that I once sat on my mother's toilet and, mid flow, it proceeded to hurtle across the floor like some weird sci-fi zero-gravity moon-walker.
I was deeply traumatised
Since that day I have been training myself not to need the toilet ever again

PS What is a fire ant?

11:54 PM  

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