Monday, 22 April 2019

I should have known better

than to let David near sharp knives and screwdrivers ...

Let me explain:

In our house there are two toilets, one is in the bathroom which adjoins the bedroom, and the other is in its own little room with a handbasin. I use the former, and for some reason, David has eschewed that one and uses the latter. Not sure why. In addition, almost all of our guests use the latter. Many of our guests are men - this fact is important.

We each take responsibility for cleaning our 'own' toilet and basin (that also means I get to clean the shower and sweep and wash the floors of both rooms - not sure how that works, but suspect it is more of the domestic blindness that seems to strike some chaps).

Of course, because of aforementioned domestic blindness (previously ably assisted by now removed cataract) I don't leave David's cleaning of his toilet entirely unchecked. I don't want to be embarrassed by guests talking among themselves later about what a poor housekeeper I am when they see that the basin hasn't been properly cleaned or the cistern top wiped in David's toilet, because you know they would blame me ...

So on checking the other day, having removed my toilet seat and cleaned the whole commode and seat and brackets, I decided David's probably needed a thorough clean too, more so than mine, because as I almost the only user, the space behind the seat is unlikely to get messy - after all, no matter how hard I try, I cannot pee backwards and upwards.

The brackets are each covered with a stainless steel sleeve (SSS) that just lifts off. Well, that is the theory. But when the numerous people of a gender that shall remain unidentified use that toilet with gay abandon, blindly oblivious (is that a tautology?) to the splashing created by their full unfettered flow, some splashing of a yellow nature ends up using capillary attraction to seep upwards under the SSS. So said SSS becomes vacumm-sealed against being lifted off.

OK, I thinks to myself, time to break the vacuum. Off I go to get a tiny sharp vegetable parer (fear not, I already had plans to sterilise it). I give it a try, edging it under the SSS and lifting to let some air in, but no joy. In walks husband who declares a bigger knife that is all one piece is needed (i.e. one with an integrated handle). Do I think to myself  'Mmmm, this doesn't sound sensible'?  Mmm yes, I do. Mmm, do I act upon that thought? - No I don't.
So on hearing the immortal words from my husband's mouth 'Who's plucking this chicken?' I walk away. Only to hear a short time later 'Oh f*ck! I didn't mean to do that.'

So, taking that as a cue to come and see what he didn't mean to do but has clearly f*cked up, I make my way, sighing inwardly but loudly, to the area of the f*ck up. And there, wedged tightly under the whole bracket, is the point of the knife. Not the knife itself, you understand, just the point of it.

No, he's not being sick. He's using the knife that is about to lose the whole point of its existence. Why didn't I step in before that point? I ask myself. You can see he's ready to clean though, as the cleaner and cloth are on the windowsill.

'Don't worry' sez he, having quickly recovered his equilibrium and putting a brave front on it 'It was a cheap knife anyway.' That much was true. But that wasn't the f*ck up - the f*ck up was the broken off point jammed under the bracket, with, as the SSS was still in place, there no way to access the bolt to loosen it off and remove the knifepoint.

I don't think I said it, but I was thinking 'Well, mate, you can leave off plucking this chicken right now.' He must have heard me because he said 'Over to you.'

Back came the little vegetable parer, and with careful twists of the back edge of it under various points of the SSS, I managed to let some air under it and pry it loose. Then did the same with the other one. And armed with a philips screwdriver and a pair of long-nosed pliers, I loosened the bolt and removed the knifepoint. Both the knife and its severed point were walked, without protest, to the rubbish bin.

Then I demonstrated to David by dint of dribbling clean water over the brackets, just how mucky they had got and that they needed to be loosened so they could be thoroughly cleaned around and under. And that is when I failed to think 'Mmmm, can he be trusted to do this job without supervision? No, he cannot.' Instead I walked away and left him loosening one of the bracket bolts.

And a few minutes later he comes into me and says 'Well, here is what you don't do.' And in his hand he is holding the bracket and the bolt. And here is an important piece of information - both of our toilets are the ones that are fully enclosed - no pipes showing, no access to the area under the seat - lovely and easy to clean (well, mostly). But what that means of course is that the grommet that the bolt screws into that together hold the bracket on, is inaccessible and has fallen down into the black depths of the toilet enclosed space... AAARRRGGGHHH!!!

So David texts Luke who is away on holiday in the South Island and thinks he is safe from this stuff. But being the kind man he is, Luke phones David and, while I didn't hear the conversation, I did hear David laughing lots. Clearly Luke finds it funny too.

So the next day we head to Mitre10 and buy a pack of toggle bolts. The guy tells us how to use it and to be careful not to lose it down the hole. When we get home, I say to David 'Now, you need to be careful with this. Would you like me to help?'   'Help?' sez he 'No, I'm not doing it. It's over to you.'

So I do, and I managed to drop the little stubby philips screwdriver in the toilet twice, but that was easy enough to retrieve - you just need a mother's attitude of being inured to pee and poo (none of which was there, but we do tend to let our imaginations run riot about the remainder of them, even though several times about one and a half gallons of water has flushed anything away).

It's all sorted and the toilet seat is back on.

The lesson for me is that David can pluck the chicken in future, but my close supervision will be required, especially if it involves knives or bolts with impossible-to-get-at nuts...

And this top (with maps of NZ and kiwis and korus and tikis) is what I was making while David was plucking chickens.  I had to send the photo to Jane who had drafted the pattern for me - now SHE is clever!

And David needed a drink when it was all sorted. At least one thing has been successfully achieved - he had declared earlier that the Baileys needed to be emptied before we leave for the UK: mission accomplished, and all by himself!
Footnote: while we were at Mitre10 David said that he was surprised that I was so forgiving about the whole thing. I told him no forgiveness was needed, my revenge would come with the publishing of this post ... (He is right, I am a bitch ...)

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