Friday, December 30, 2005

What I Did on my Christmas Vacation

It has been quite an eventful holiday season. I had the pleasure of a full week's vacation, a rare occurrence. On the second day I was flattened with the flu. As that subsided, the ceramic at the base of our upstairs toilet cracked causing the loss of integrity of the bowel's wax seal. I will refuse comment on the situation in the kitchen directly below. (Also... no one had better brave jokes about Linda's cooking...)

After picking up a new toilet, I began to remove the original, and during this procedure, I sliced a 1/4 inch circular portion of skin from the knuckle near the tip of my left index finger. That wouldn't have been any problem, except for the fact that it bled like a severed jugular vein. It bled for over 6 hours; throughout the whole toilet replacement, during the trip to the grocery store (more band-aids and paper towels- the cashier and bagger put on rubber gloves during check out), and a second trip to the hardware store for a tubing correction. (During one trip, a step-daughter saw the bloody pile of paper towels and thought that I must have gone to the emergency room to reattach my arm or something.) Nonetheless, the toilet transplant was finally a flushing success.

As I admired my fine work and marvelled at my fine skills, so heightened since I am technically responsible for putting the 'monkey' moniker in monkey wrench and can easily stretch a five minute task into a full three days, I felt a chill. Thinking that perhaps my flu had not entirely run its full course, I thought little of it... for a second. Then I remembered that when it was nearing time to install the new commode, I situated the new wax seal near a heater vent to insure that it was warm enough to 'flow' into every necessary nook and cranny, but the heat hadn't turned on to do my bidding. Upon further review I discovered that our furnace was out and wouldn't recover even under my great mechanical tutelage. As my chosen furnace technician didn't answer his page, we spent the night dreaming of Sir Edmund Hillary.

When contacted the next morning, Troy was able to make the service call by 10:30 AM. After a few professional pokes, prods, and hammer blows (the very same ones I had done the previous night, albeit in amateurish manner), he expected that we needed a new igniter, but had to go pick the proper one up. Upon replacing that, we had a pilot flame, but still no inferno. We decided to replace the gas regulator. (Ka-ching, ka-ching) After returning from another 'part run', he replaced the regulator. Still... only the pilot ignited. "Never had that happen before." He went back into the bowels of the furnace and made an adjustment to the igniter. Bingo! Central heat! What a marvelous idea.

As Troy was picking up to go he asked if I wanted to keep the old parts. Since the final correction of the problem was with the igniter, I thought to ask how we knew the regulator was bad. He deemed that it was a good question. (The new one cost $175) He decided to leave it on our furnace rather than take the time to replace the old one. At any rate, we have heat and I dodged an extra $175 charge.

As I sat down to enjoy our rapidly warming house basking in the glow of my toiletry and infernal successes, I remembered that on my last potty-part run I smelled a gas leak in my car. Of course,... now it's snowing. I think I'll call Sir Edmund and see if I can borrow an extra dog sled.

Yesterday I also completed contract negotiations for my next year of work. Since I was already bleeding, I signed it in my own blood. One article that we agreed upon was more yearly vacation. I think I'll call my boss back and see if we can rescind that portion.


Lance Burri said...

You know, I was sure a toilet replacement required a 3/8 inch circular portion of skin to be sliced from the knuckle near the tip of your left index finger. Shows what I know.

Steve said...

Newer models use 1/4 inch now. Minimal flesh, er... flush capacity, you know.

tee bee said...

Hillary would be jealous, as am I; we were both stupid enough to think we had to travel to enjoy "fresh" environs, and it probably cost us more.

Happy New Year!