For the seventh time in our two-plus years in the house I undertook a plumbing chore this evening. The working mechanism in the tank of one of our toilets had forgotten how to turn off — a plastic tab having turned to dust or what have you — which threatened an overflow and so on.
The good news is that this is the third one of these I’ve replaced in the last 18 months. At least it is easy.
The big thing is keeping everything dry. You have to drain the tank, and then climb between the cabinet and the porcelain and work your way through two plastic bolts. These were made in China, of course, so they are the best plastic money can buy.
And then there’s the water dripping, because a little drip is better than a lot of sponge drying. After that the new device, which will surely find some way to crumble before 2014 arrives, goes in.
Seen another way this is really an exercise in defying the Mayans, who were big on plumbing:
A water feature found in the Maya city of Palenque, Mexico, is the earliest known example of engineered water pressure in the new world, according to a collaboration between two Penn State researchers, an archaeologist and a hydrologist. How the Maya used the pressurized water is, however, still unknown.
“Water pressure systems were previously thought to have entered the New World with the arrival of the Spanish,” the researchers said in a recent issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science. “Yet, archaeological data, seasonal climate conditions, geomorphic setting and simple hydraulic theory clearly show that the Maya of Palenque in Chiapas, Mexico, had empirical knowledge of closed channel water pressure predating the arrival of Europeans.”
I had no idea I’d find that story when I started the Mayan joke.
Anyway, after a few attempts, the washer was seated. The newest fine plastic from China was in place and tightened.
Also replaced some light bulbs in the other bathroom, because electricity with wet hands is fun for everyone! And because if you’re going to one of the home improvement stores you may as well combine your misery. The bulbs are on the primary aisle when you walk in and the cheap plumbing stuff isn’t far away. Naturally, since I knew exactly what I needed tonight, I ran into two staffers who offered to help.
“Yes. Can you just wait here? Soon enough something I don’t understand will inevitably break in my house.”
We did our Christmas cards tonight. I was responsible for the stamps and the return address. The cards look great, because my lovely bride picked them out. I think everyone most in our address book is getting one.
Everyone else is getting an email with a JPG attachment.
Then I made a Christmas card for Allie. I’ll put it here tomorrow.
Tonight I also added several new banners for the blog. Many of the new ones are a departure from the thin 900 by 200 pixel design. Tell me what you think. (And reload to see more. Or see them all in one place, here.) My next trick will be to organize them in something that resembles a seasonal classification.
Oh, hey, there are new things on the Samford journo blog:
Maps that tell stories
A few lessons from Newton media coverage
You saw the Newtown picture now read the story behind it
There’s also Twitter and Tumblr and this, the complete Star Trek trailer.
See you tomorrow. Remember: Allie’s Christmas card will be here.