Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Serenity - Down the toilet

If you want to test your serenity just take on a household repair project.

I decided to take on the repairing the tiles beneath my toilet in my master bath. It is a brand new remodeled bath and I had a leak two years ago after my contractor rigged the connection between the new bathroom plumbing and the original plumbing.

I called a slab leak specialist and they just jack hammered the floor around the toilet without moving it. They fixed the leak filled in the hole and left. I have been looking at it for almost two years.

My ability to fix things was passed down to me by my father. Really what he passed down was patience and not necessarily skill. I have found that repairs are 90% patience, 5% skill and 5% the right tools. So I am at 95% you will have to figure out what 5% is missing.

I said a prayer before I started, I find this sets the tone for any home improvement project. The first test came pretty quickly I couldn't get one on the nuts off the bolt that holds the toilet to the floor. Thoughts of profanity washed over me (maybe thoughts out loud), not a great start. The nut had a burr that was keeping it from coming off. While trying to get it off I cut my finger and started bleeding all over the place.

Once the bleeding stopped I pulled myself together and thought "what would a contractor do?" in my experiece that means brut force which I do not have. I decided to try a socket wrench, it gave me the extra grip I needed. I then rolled the one piece toliet out of the way. This is where the fun really starts, removing the broken tiles. With goggles and a heavy hammer I start wacking the tile and the pieces were flying everywhere. It was exhausting but I was ready to cut the new tiles.

I set up a tiny wet saw I purchased a number of years ago in hopes it would keep me from going somewhere that might have a real wet saw. But the tiles are huge and too much for the little saw and I burned up the motor, after the first cut. Off to Lowes I go.

I am already running out of steam and after loading up the four heavy tiles I was ready to lay down. I called ahead (as only an Alanoner would do) to make sure someone was there to cut them. The guy said he wasn't suppose to cut tiles not purchased there but he didn't mind helping. I seemed that this might actually be the highlight of his day. I thought so until the manager came by and pointed out to him that my tiles weren't Lowes tiles. Niether of us said a thing.

I headed home with my free cut tiles and a new wax ring for the toilet. Feeling pretty happy about the free part I stopped and got a Cheeseburger Happy Meal and some cookies for later. I deserved it for making it this far without a total meltdown. It is not over until it is over.

I dry fitted the tiles. Everything looked good so I mixed up the thin set and troweled it out, I can see the finish line. I am leveling them out when I notice one is way higher than the others. I tried everything before doing what I knew had to be done.

I pulled the tile up and chiseled more of the leveler (not so level) left by the leak guy. Of course I had wet thin set all over me by this time. But it worked the tile was pretty level with the others. I just sat there exhausted feeling sorry that I had no one to share this awful moment with. Oh well maybe next time.

I cleaned up the mess and intended on grouting and putting the toilet back yesterday but when I got up, I couldn't face it. I had to get out of the house. So everything is just sitting there waiting for me to get up enough courage to complete the job. I know the toilet won't be completely level and that will further test my serenity so I decided to wait.

Lately I have been taking care of my house. Cleaning and doing repairs. It is a part of accepting my life as it is. Not thinking about the past. Yesterday was my ex's birthday, so maybe I was thinking a little bit about the past.

Just for today I am far enough along that I can trust the process and know I will be happy again sooner or later. I am hoping sooner. I use to fill time with the next task but I have changed. I do get things done eventually and even if it takes two years, like the tiles, I will get it done. Who cares anyway? Just me, when the untreated Alanon in my head decides to speak up, this happens when I am too tire to fight back.

I didn't finish the job. I lost my motivation yesterday I was physically tired and needed to rest. The voice of loneliness crept into my head for a few hours. I thought about what I have lost and wondered if I will be alone for the rest of my life. The birthday tigger I think.

I decided I needed a diversion. I drove to the movies and saw the only adult film that started a 4:00. Watering the Elephants. I read the book and thought the book was a little slow. The movie was good and set in a time of the depression. It helped me to put my life into perspective. It ended at 6:55 and I headed to a meeting.

I ended the day watching the tube and munching on a bag of animal crackers shaped like circus animals. I know my life will change because nothing stays the same good or bad.


  1. You gave me some wonderful wry smiles, and took me to exactly where you were. So glad I stopped by to see you in your world, making a difference on the domestic front. You ROCK, for showing up to do this job. Kind and gentle, I am betting the final product will be worth it.

  2. You are a brave person to tackle those tiles and the toilet. I don't have much of a knack for that kind of work so I am impressed. Glad that you gave yourself a treat at the end of the long day.