All Tapped Out

Have I told you about the sad tale of woe that is my bathroom taps?

Ah, Dear Reader, pull up a chair, grab a coffee and let Mrs. Spit tell you all about it. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll wonder if you should be holding your nose.

So, Chez Spit is a grand old house. Well, she’s old and a house, and I think she’s grand. (Mr. Spit is perhaps less convinced of this. Silly man wants to spend his weekends doing something other than destructing and reconstructing the house) Part of this grand old house is a claw foot tub with a shower attachment. (Other parts include an original front door that lets every breath of the North East Wind in, and a hot water tank that is, shall we say, fickle). Please note, I said “a bath tub and shower”. Singular. There is only one. One bathing spot in the entire house. This fact shall become strangely important.

Said claw foot tub has required re-finishing for all the time we have lived in the house (a shade over 3 years), but we never quite got around to doing it. We came very close to doing it last year, but in a fit of pique, Canada’s tax man said “no tax refund for you!” and that was the end of that. Perhaps, amidst all the renovations, the bathroom felt left out. We did paint it as soon as we moved in, and gave it some lovely wainscoting, and a new towel holder and shower curtain rods, attempting to make this room feel loved and cared for. Alas, the bathtub does continue to scream that it is ugly, and perhaps, it feels left out of the constant repairs.

Three Saturday’s ago, I got home from the horrible torture chamber gym, and was rushing to have a shower before going to another event. I turned on the hot water tap, (the part of it that remains, half was broken off before we ever bought the place) and then I turned on the cold water tap. And nothing came out. There was a weird shrieking sort of noise, then the noise of a thousand flatulent dogs, then . . . nothing. No water, nothing.

“Oh Mr. Spit” called I. “Could you come up here? We have got a challenge.”

And so, Mr. Spit in that time honoured tradition of not actually believing a person that says something is broken, moved past me and turned the tap off, and on again. Unsurprisingly, it still didn’t work.

“It’s broken”, said he.

“Uh huh. Can you fix it?”, said I.

“I’m not sure”, said he. “I’m not a plumber”.

Thought I: I think you’d better go find that Reader’s Digest book and learn really fast. I need to be at my scrap booking thing in 20 minutes, and I need a shower.

I didn’t get the shower. Tools started coming out. Thoughts of a completed bookshelf fled the collective minds of the Spit’s. Must Fix Shower became our mantra.

Well, ok, it was Mr. Spit’s Mantra. I went scrap booking. I came home some several hours later, and, alas, the shower was not fixed. Nay, it was more broken than before. The tap was irrevocably altered past any reasonable sense of the words “use and working” and the shower was in 4 parts. And Mr. Spit?

Mr. Spit was broken too. A defeated shell of himself, full of bile and hatred for the perfidy that is 1911 plumbing. He had called my uncle the plumber, and other wholesale places, and even visited his place of home handy man bliss, and the water gods that control the fates of such unimportant things as, you know, personal hygiene, continued to respond with a clipped and brisk:


No assistance, no help, no quarter given. Do not pass go. Do not expect help. Perhaps most importantly, do not shower.

My uncle the plumber drove up to our fair home. He looked at the bathtub. He looked at the hot water tank. The hot water tank he pronounced “too small to be of much use”.

“Not so”, say I.

Why every night that tank keeps me guessing, in a state of constant and total suspense:

Will tonight be the night I get to have a hot bath? Or shall it be merely tepid, like our fair Premier, sticking firmly to his script while being grilled on the question of campaign donations from big oil, during the last election. Or shall it be shockingly cold? Where I put the very tips of my toes in, and shriek at the icy cold that runs up my leg and pools in the centre of my back, like that feeling I get when that creepy guy from works keeps looking at my chest and not my face? “

Indeed, our hot water tank is of much use. The taps on the other hand, they were:

“Completely busted and not worth fixing.”

“Well“, said we. “We are intrepid Internet shoppers. And this uncle in the plumbing business, surely he can get us a deal on new fixtures”. In our famous home renovation last words, which, each and every time we carelessly throw around, we pledge to remove our tongues if we ever say again, we said:

“How hard can this be?”.

Indeed, dear reader. Let us consider the question of purchasing new taps. Let us look at websites and look at costs, and look at the fact that the mere thought of replacing these taps shall cause you to sweat blood, as you contemplate the exorbitant cost of replacement and the meager sum in your pathetic bank account (And you thought that you were upper middle class!) And then let us contemplate the fact that you need a bloody Ph.D. in molecular biology with a specialty in astro physics as they apply to the planet Uranus, to install the wretched things. . .

Given the fickleness of the hot water tank, I only need use the hot water tap to fill the bath tub up. And so, every night, I play the bath lottery. On those sad, yet frequent, occasions where the bath lottery fails me, I go to the gym. (I’m not actually allowed to exercise, what with the sky high blood pressure), but I go to the gym. There I shower in a tiny little enclosure with a shower curtain that doesn’t quite fit across it. Struggling with water that is decidedly not hot, coming out at the rate of a rhino with a bladder problem, such that I am almost blown out of the tiny enclosure, wearing nothing but a pair of flip flops with green frogs on them. I watch women breeze in and out, coming for a quick rinse off. I am strangely envious of these women, as I struggle to shave my legs in a 2 foot square space that I can’t quite turn around in.

And the taps? Well, let us just say we are still trying to find a set. We are concerned about the gush, nay flood of funds from our account. We have a sinking feeling about our ability to stop the flow of money in this matter. You might say that we are drowning in the idea of spending $700 for a set of taps. We are showering websites with queries about lower priced options. We are drained of options. We are bathed in hope that someone can sell us a set of wall mounted taps for a claw foot tub for less than a month’s worth of mortgage payments. We are . . . .

All tapped out.

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3 Responses to All Tapped Out

  1. loribeth says:

    Oh dear… our bathroom too is need of a reno… the caulking around the tub enclosure started leaking, so we recaulked it. Twice. And I can still see holes. SIGH. The whole thing really needs to be replaced, but the idea of all that mess & upheaval (not to mention, yes, the COST) makes me shudder. We do have a second bathroom with a shower enclosure in the basement. I’m glad you have the gym to go to, but what an inconvenience!!

    Your dh sounds about as handy as mine too. ; ) Isn’t home ownership fun?

  2. Mr. Spit says:

    If I were not in the midst of the experience, with my utter lack of plumbing skill, this would have been quite humourous.

    As it is, I am going off to the Circus, call myself Fred, and dream of a world where you can buy a house and NOT. HAVE. TO. DO. A. BLESSED. THING. TO. IT!!!!!!!!

  3. Tash says:

    Piss. I have a lipstick red clawfoot that I’m ready to rip out yesterday, but it has a floor attachment, brass. If this helps remotely, it’s all yours, email me. I mean it.

    If you did most of the above conversation and plumbing work naked, I think I love you.

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