Saturday, November 21, 2009

My Toilet Breaks - Insert Curse Words Here - Monday, 9 November 2009

Monday afternoon I was using the toilet when the toilet paper (which I keep on the toilet tank) fell--a usual occurrence. However, then a very unusual (hopefully!!) thing happened--water started spraying all over the bathroom! It was like a downpour in the bathroom.

I raced out of the bathroom and watched the torrent as I considered my next move. I figured out that although it appeared to be raining down, it actually was spraying up--coming from a pipe behind the toilet. The water was hitting and bouncing off the ceiling with such force that it appeared to be raining. I wasn't in the mood to get my clean clothes wet or risk having my contacts wash out, but I had little choice. Into the toilet-room I ran and quickly found and turned off the faucet that was causing the problem.

Problem fixed? Nope, as I soon discovered that turning the faucet had turned off the water to my toilet.

Ah... What had happened was that the toilet paper roll had bumped into the pipe that carries water into the toilet tank, for flushing. Thankfully, this means that the room was flooded with clean water, not sewage! Un-thankfully, the pipe had broken and was not fixable. Water could not get to my toilet tank, and my toilet could not be flushed.

Also, due to the price of towels here, I had very few towels. Yet I had an inch or more of water on my bathroom floor, plus the walls and door were soaking. I have no spare cloths or old clothes or rags or paper towels or anything of the sort, either.

I called the principal, who said he'd call the handyman, and as he was saying when the handyman might appear, my phone disconnected. Oops, I'd run out of money when I let Sophia talk to her friend Sunday evening.

I'm getting frustrated with this mobile phone system. I used to think SIM cards and pay-as-you go were a great idea. But I think I much prefer paying every month, via automatic payment of my credit card, in exchange for a fixed number of minutes, with the ability to use more minutes and pay at the end of the month, is a much better system. I can manage my finances. I don't go over my minutes. But at least, in the American system, I have the option to go over should I suddenly desperately need to use the phone!

I called the principal's home number (unlimited free local calls to land lines) and got no answer. So I called another teacher (land line) and asked him to call or text the principal to call me back. At least on this system, you don't pay to answer your mobile phone.

Instead of calling me, the principal showed up at my door to look at my toilet. He said that the handyman had already gone off work, and I should remind him to call tomorrow. In the meantime, he tried to explain to me how to flush my toilet, however I think he (a) was embarrassed to talk about going potty and flushing and (b) didn't know the English word for 'flush.' So I wasn't sure what he was trying to say I could do--pour water down the toilet bowl? Would that really work to flush the toilet?

So I'm grateful I have Internet, as I emailed my parents with my question--it was morning for them. I also googled 'how to flush a toilet' which got quite a few videos on how to flush a normal toilet--I guess that's humorous for some people. However, I also got a site that said you could pour a bucket full of water quickly down the bowl to mimic flushing.

My parents were not so sure that that method would work at all. However, I had to try something--the flush-button (not a handle, as in the US) is on the lid of the toilet tank, so I was unable to lift the lid and pour water into the tank. So I tried pouring water down the toilet bowl, and miraculously, not only did it work, but it flushed better than the usual method! ( Probably because I used more water.)

In other good news, after we went to the grocery store and returned, most of the water had dried. Hooray for extremely dry climates.

Tuesday we hurried home to wait for the handyman to come at 2:00. By 4:30 he had not arrived, and I knew that he stopped working at 5:30! I still didn't have minutes on my phone (having rushed home from school and not stopped to by a card to add minutes) so I called the school, and the secretary put me through to the principal. I interrupted a meeting he was having, but oh well. He called the handyman, who said he was on his way.

The guy arrived only a few minutes later, saw the problem, bought a new pipe, fixed it and was gone.

So now I have a working toilet. And I have to clean the entire toilet room again, due to it having been sprayed with water. And the flush works very poorly, probably because I fiddled with the tank in my attempt to figure out how to flush without a working pipe.

In America, pipes don't break because toilet paper rolls fall on them. In America, I can fix a slightly-messed up flush by lifting the lid to the tank.

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