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01.04.2004 - 3:52 p.m.


I was washing my hands and idly checking out my reflection in the mirror (hmmm, maybe a new moisturizer?) when an ominous gurgling sound emanated from the just-flushed toilet. I glanced over to see the water level rising slowly, and my pulse quickened.

"Stop," I said out loud, staring at the toilet. "Please STOP." Obstinately, the water continued to approach the rim of the lid. Panicked, I combed my brain for toilet-related knowledge, but could only produce Handle: Jiggling The, which proved to have no effect on the tide of doom whatsoever.

In a frenzy, I whipped off the lid of the tank and peered inside, hoping to find an obvious problem or perhaps a tiny person waving a sign holding some helpful instructions. The inner workings of the toilet tank were as inscrutable as a car engine: some doohickeys here and there, a ball like thing, a metal arm. I gingerly reached in and groped around blindly; pulling the ball, pushing the doohickey, lifting the arm - and lo, the water stopped.

I stood crouched over the toilet, which was full enough that water had started seeping over the brim, holding up the arm that apparently ceased the endless flow of water.

(At this point, I will assure you the water was just water, and not as horrifying as you may be imagining. Still, though. Toilet water? GROSS.)

Moments passed as I considered my situation. A plunger. I needed a plunger. I stretched mightily to reach under the sink, managed to extract a plunger, and began thrusting vigorously with my right hand while still holding the magic arm with my left.

Nothing happened.

Tentatively, I let go of the arm, hoping against hope the water would stop on its own. It didn't. I resumed my arm-holding position.

I had exercised the only options I could think of, and it was time to call for help. But the phone. It was all the way out in the living room.

I began to prepare for some collateral damage.

Still holding onto the arm, I reached out and pulled the towels from the rack and settled them around the base of the toilet. I moved the wastebasket out of the way. I threw the rug out into the hall. I took a deep breath, let go of the hand, and ran.

Narrowly missing Cat, who figured this was a prime opportunity to wind between my feet, I dashed into the living room, grabbed the phone, and tore back down the hall to the bathroom, where I quickly snatched up the arm while dialing JB with the other hand.

"Hello?" JB answered. "Listen," I panted, "you have to promise you won't laugh at me."

A minute later, I found myself sweating profusely as I strained to turn a knob under the sink. Under JB's advice, I was trying to turn off the water supply, but the damn thing wouldn't budge. I wrapped a towel around my hand and gave it everything I had - and finally, with a creaking sound, the knob tightened.

Heaving a giant sigh of relief, I let go of the arm, and instantly water gushed into the toilet as before. I stared in fear. This was obviously some sort of possessed demon toilet, what was I going to do?

A dim bulb shone somewhere in the recesses of my brain, and I turned on the sink faucet. Nothing. I had shut off the water supply to the sink, but not the toilet.

Feeling more than a little like I was putting my finger back in the dyke, I grabbed the arm again, and knelt on the ever-dampening floor so I could reach one hand behind the toilet. I fumbled around endlessly until, near-weepy with frustration, I managed to locate the knob.

I was filled with the sort of strength mothers get when they pluck Volkswagens off their children. "FUUUUUCK!" I howled, as I cranked the knob feverishly.

And - it was over. I stood up, my legs trembling, my back popping. The toilet water lapped serenely against the lid. Rumpled wet towels lay everywhere. I slowly backed away from the bathroom, shooting a nervous glance over my shoulder at the Toilet From Hell. I wasn't going to trust that fucker again, ever.


As it turns out, later in the day when I ran a load of laundry, a bunch of water backed up into the bathtub and took forever to drain, so we suspect a pipe blockage. JB managed to get the toilet water level down, but for now we're just going to ignore the problem since we're both gone all week. Him: Thailand. Me? Macworld. Doesn't seem fair, does it? Wish me luck. And have a wonderful week! Watch out for misbehaving toilets.

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8 comments so far.

I have moved. - 1.03.2005
Obviously, a work in progress. - 12.27.2004
Happy holidays! - 12.24.2004
Listen, I am not a complete dick, it's not like I want Joe to die alone surrounded by cats or something. - 12.23.2004
Plus I am convinced my butt is extra big when it's upside down. - 12.22.2004

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