It was the Fill Valve

My toilet is running.

It’s been running for almost 2 months. I have considered buying a new toilet because I have installed a new toilet. I know how to do that. It is astonishingly easy.

In my head, fixing my toilet was a great feminist feat. Nellie McClung, Indira Ghandi, Rosie the Riveter and me, fixing her toilet with some parts from Home Depot. Fixing the toilet was proof positive that I would be ok on my own. Look at me, remembering to lock the doors, not running out of toilet paper and fixing the toilet.

Except I am not mechanically minded. There are diagrams and I can’t explain it, but I swear that the parts freaking move on the page. All of that plastic fitting together and I just know, in my gut. What I am going to hear is cursing and breaking plastic and running water (some of which will be me crying). I watched the video’s on youtube (I listened to you Aunt Peanuts) and they were talking English, but my brain couldn’t compute.

I went to Home Depot on Wednesday night. The guy pulled something off the shelf, but I’m sorry, he said the word nipple. The 14-year-old boy in me went running past and the adult in me had to go and chase the 14-year-old boy and there just wasn’t anyone left to listen to the guy’s explanation.

Today a friend told me about her handyman. He’s named Ken, he’s a grandfatherly sort of fellow. He reminds me of my Uncle David. I called Ken this morning and he popped by. Petted the dog, laughed at the kitten, took the top off my toilet, told me it was my fill valve. They get old. He’d replaced one that morning, or he would have had one in the truck and could have done it then.

As it is, he’ll be by on Monday morning with a new fill valve and some nibblers to cut a tile to replace a broken one. The whole thing will cost me about $60. I’ll put the tile in while I listen to a webinar for school (you have no idea how easy laying tile is) and then it will be all done.

I’ll give him the $60 and make him some brownies because I’m so grateful. That I can afford the money to fix it, that he can fix it quickly, but also that I learned something. There’s more than one way. Sometimes it really is ok to say that you can fix a problem by finding the trusted professional who knows how to do the job for a price you can afford. The toilet gets fixed either way.

The fate of feminism and my ability to survive on my own don’t rest in my ability to fix my own plumbing.

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