Things break down in a house. Especially in my house. We live in a very old house that was actually advertised as a "fixer upper" when we bought it. It is old. So old that it has the original copper plumbing and a boiler in the basement.
It also has gorgeous oak floors and woodwork, big heavy doors with porcelain knobs, a scary crawlspace in the basement, and windows with heavy lead glass that is a little distorted when you look through it. Everything has a wavy quality to it, sort of like being a little high and looking out a window. I'm always a little surprised when I go outside and see all the sharp edges. I rather like my blurry view.
We have four toilets. One in the attic, one attached to the master bedroom, a main bathroom and the last one off the laundry room in the basement. By the time we moved in, all of the toilets except the main bathroom had been replaced with energy efficient ones. Yet, at one time or another all of those toilets have had problems. One ran continuously unless you jiggled the handle just perfectly. Another leaked. The bathroom off the master bedroom is particularly persnickety. It does not like more than four squares of toilet paper to be flushed at the time or it gurgles and makes choking noises that scare women and dogs.
The oldest toilet in the house is in the main bathroom and is used the most. It is the only one that has not been replaced with a newer, more efficient model. I looked it up recently and discovered it is called a Victorian crapper. It looks like this. It actually has a little rope that you pull to flush it.
It works perfectly and uses several gallons of water each time it is flushed. I swear that you could flush a cat down there and it would not complain. It has never given us a minute of trouble while the newer models, the "efficient" ones have been troublesome right from the start.
"What do you expect?" Bing grouses. "The new ones use about a cup of water and there is just no decent flush action. The old one...now THAT one has sooooommmmme water power and pressure."
I like having something that works, that I can depend on. We have cranky appliances in general. We have a dishwasher who balks at working at any selection except light wash. This means that we have to manually wash our dishes before sending them through the cycle. I find this irritating. I mean, jaysus...all I ask is that the dishwasher do it's job. I'm not asking for any extras, mind you. I just want to not have to sanitize my plates before I load them.
Our washer only works on gentle cycle. If it is not set on gentle, soapy water comes slushing up the drain in the floor in a scary whirlpool that looks like some sort of bad genie could pop out of it. We can wash in all degrees of water, just not the normal or heavy cycle.
The dryer takes two tries. It automatically shuts off when it is done and for some reason, it thinks I like my clothes slightly damp, not dry. This means that I have to trudge down to the basement TWICE to get my clothes dried. I can hear it snickering at me.
Our boiler is a workhorse or so the heating people tell me. They swear that the house will fall down before the boiler kicks the bucket. This is fine, except that the boiler likes to make noises in the radiators to let us know that heating our home is just plain fucking hard work. It ticks and clanks as if we have little Borrowers running up and down the pipes with pails of hot water. I admit that I don't really mind the noise, though. I find it kind of cozy to wake up in the middle of the night and hear the radiators clanking a bit in a friendly workmanlike fashion. It took the dog a long time to get used to it, though. He still gets up and looks with a cocked head at the radiator as if he isn't sure whether to bark or whimper. Sometimes Socks quickly sends a paw inside the radiator, making me wonder if some little man is in there teasing him.
Living in an old home means that the floors groan at night as the house settles. It means that the wallpaper is quite old and quite lovely and can never be duplicated because they just don't make that pattern anymore of tiny rosebuds.
Once when our shower was leaking, Bing went into the crawlspace to check out the pipes and discovered a brown paper sack holding a man's underpants and an old fashioned butter knife.
This prompted some discussion. None of it too good. We finally decided it was best to just not know everything.....
Our cabinets stick and our windows rattle, but our Victorian crapper just keeps on keeping on and for that, I dedicate this blog post to him. (Toilets are always boys, it is just a rule.)
Thank you, crapper, for so many years of good service and lots of whirling twirling water. You have a thankless job and I know it, so this one is for you, buddy.
Keep up the good work.
What sort of house do you live in?
Old, new, what? I am curious. Care to share? And does anyone else have a crapper like ours?