Saturday, October 23, 2010

Josephine the Plumber Got Nothin' on Me

I am inordinately pleased with myself. It does not happen often, so I am giving myself high fives and posting this in celebration. Doubtless you are wondering if I won a Pulitzer, Nobel, or Academy Award. Well, no. While those would all be nice and surely lead to unthinkable earthly delights, statuettes are nowhere near as useful as the award I gave myself, the one that will keep on giving. I changed a toilet seat.

I have had no previous plumbing experience. Flip and I spent seven years renovating an old house, but he did the plumbing and wiring while I ripped out paneling, painted, tiled and landscaped. He is no longer able to do mechanical things, so I am learning despite a decided lack of natural ability. Or interest. Necessity, as everyone knows, is a great motivator. In the grand scheme this is a pretty small achievement, but it reminds me that I can still learn new things. I won't say it shows that I can do anything because I'm a bit too cynical and self-aware for that, but I'll happily settle for being educable at an age when sadly, many people are resting on laurels. And while I hope that my epitaph will be a bit juicier, no accomplishment should be sneezed at.

I would like to commission an occasional poem to commemorate this extraordinary event. Where is that damn poet laureate when I need him? W. S. Merwin was appointed Poet Laureate of the United States for 2010-2011 by the Library of Congress. I had to look it up. It seems odd that we are all familiar with the names of our leading generals in Iraq and Afghanistan, but our nation's leading poet is virtually unknown. I wonder if Merwin can change a toilet seat.


Cloudia said...

good for you!

Aloha from Hawaii

Comfort Spiral


English Rider said...

The real prize would go to She who can teach Him to put it DOWN!
Not meaning to diminish your achievement. Congrats to you, "Plumb Happy!"

Jo said...

There once was a lady named Susan.
Whose plumbing skills were most amusin’.
But repairs to her throne,
She did on her own;
And now the seat’s tight, and not loosen...

Molly said...

I;m so glad you can, change the seat on the can that is, because if you can, the maybe I can too. With husband off in another state setting the world there to rights, I find myself more and more in charge of tasks I never signed on for. Congratulations on having a brain, still flexible enough to master new skills! May it ever be so.....

Warty Mammal said...

What did you go for? A crisp white seat? A wood one with brass fittings? One of those cushy vinyl ones that develop cracks which pinch one's bum? Maybe even a fancy clear resin cast one with interesting things embedded in the lid?

nick said...

Changing a toilet seat is surprisingly simple once you've done it, but like so many things it seems daunting the first time. The plumber of course would charge a fortune and describe it as "sanitary fitting found to be faulty, removal of same, new fitting installed and tested."

So now you're flushed with success.

the walking man said...


You can live completely in joy
without a barco lounger
or la-z-boy.
But life is difficult,grungier
and not be the same sort o treat
if you have to park
your *ahem* personal drain
on an old cracked and dark
splintery toilet seat.

Oh the plumbers bluster
and all the talk
of dollars draining
simply because balk
but pay complaining.

Not Susan,
she is not going to pay
when with a little
bit of training told
she can send that ass crack plumber on his way!

See she is smart
she knows how to read
directions on how to beat
that nasty old
dark and splintery seat.

Pliers in hand
and back a'bent
she saw two nuts
and to work she went
knowing she
that the seat
meant for butts
was already beat.
She set to it and
replaced the seat.

Bah to plumber
fool is he
Damn him
and his fee.

Now found is she
very comfortable
when she
sits to read and pee.

Hey I ain't no laureate but I can write poetry sometimes for my friends.

Anonymous said...

I was going to write a poem for you but Jo and Walking Man beat me to it ........and they did it for FREE!

Sheeesh! It's hard to find work these days even when you are willing to work for nuts.

Seriously though, I am rejoicing with you over this great plumbing feat!

Anonymous said...

I want to get me one of those Potty Awards. That is very cool. I too ask the question asked by others, what seat did you get? I changed our two to nice wooden ones with brass fittings when we moved into the house. It makes a time of meditation seem just a bit classier.

secret agent woman said...

No laughing from me. Whenever I do one of those sorts of projects, I feel almost absurdly pleased with myself and want to tell everyone. So, congratulations.

mischief said...

Rats, I was going to take a stab at toilet-seat poetry too but I do not think I can compete with your talented readership. Instead I offer my heartiest congratulations and a loud lusty cheer for you. Yayyy Susan!

heartinsanfrancisco said...


You bet. My feelings exactly.


That's not usually a problem here, thankfully.


Ogden Nash is turning over in his grave, but I'm just laughing.


The procedure is really quite simple. The hard part was that one of the bolts could not turn without hitting the toilet - I don't know how they got the old one on - so I "animaled" the seat off and then the hardware could be unscrewed. (I don't understand it either, but it's fine now.)


Wooden with brass hardware. I am not one for lip prints on a toilet seat, or Daffy Duck.


Yes, I am utterly flushed with success. It was so easy that the manufacturer didn't even include directions, just a hardware packet.


I am honored, both to be your friend and to have inspired such a near-epic poem.

It wasn't so much the cost of paying a plumber, but the fact that I enjoy self-sufficiency.


What kind of nuts do you prefer? I have walnuts, pecans, pinoli, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews and coconuts, but it's true, nothing beats free.


See above. Actually, the bathtub is more of a meditation aid than the toilet, but the whole room bestows privacy.


I always knew you were a kindred spirit.


You can never go wrong with a lusty cheer for Susan. (I'm easy.)

Elaine Steward said...


Em said...

Congratulations! Any sort of plumbing success is right up there with the Academy Award!

heartinsanfrancisco said...




Except everyone knows that movie stars never need toilets.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...


Sus, you are such a wonder woman. I think your proficiency should be celebrated greatly. High fives and back pats coming from us, with grins and love.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Jocelyn said...

This soooo resonates with me--that kind of stuff doesn't come at all naturally to me, either, and on the rare occasion when I actually, you know, lift a hammer or find the screwdriver, it's like I hung the moon.

Great job pushing yourself to explore unknown territories. Like the toilet.

Molly said...

So, where is he?? J Cosmo Newbury? I told him his services were needed over here.......

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Yep, Super Bowl winners, eat your hearts out. I won the Toilet Bowl.


You think I, um, use the great outdoors? (Only on occasion, and never by choice.)


I had to Google J. Cosmo Newberry, who was so, and now is not so.

Meggie said...

All excited... I can do that too! Not an elegant ability, but still, a necessary one!

Such a down-to-earth post, after the heady heights of Art works!

Wanderlust Scarlett said...


heartinsanfrancisco said...


I think we have the beginnings of a sister act, the Plumbing Gals or maybe Toilets a Deux.

Good observation about the sequence of posts. There is no logic at work here -- I write about whatever captivates me at the moment.


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