My Pandemic Plagues

Is it crazy of me to believe I am in a pitched battle with a bathroom? 

If you had lived through what I have, you too would understand that my second floor bathroom has declared war. Maybe it believes it is being asked to step up unfairly now that we are all home.  The jury is out on which one of us will triumph.

But, before there was the bathroom, there were the other plagues.

The mouse joined us in March. I set my husband on him. Me, I really don’t like mice. My husband, he worked with lab mice while in training. Ergo, he deals with the mice in our home. The mouse quickly exited.

Ants were next. Invading our counters, popping up in drawers. We sealed everything in bags, scrupulously wiped down the counters, and then remembered in their Tales From The Beach, my sister and her family dispatched an invasion of ants with a mixture of borax, sugar, and water. Found the information online. Laid the bait: dry and wet to catch both the troopers storming our home and the ones back in the nest. The ants took about a week, but we dispatched them too.

Then came Floods. Truly, I believe a gremlin has invaded our upstairs bathroom. We seem to be in a battle of wills.

First it was the leaking tub. There had been water on the floor off and on for months, but I could never tell whether it was a leak or over-exuberant bathing. Finally, I identified the leak and placed a container underneath. Then I watched in amazement as some weeks the container filled with water after a single shower and other weeks it remained dry for days on end. What kind of leak is an occasional leak? The kind that’s trying to lull you into a false sense of security. 

Pan to catch drips from tub outflow pipe.
Strategically placed pan catches intermittent drips from tub.

It was the first foray by my bathroom sprite, but I didn’t know it yet.

The next item to fail was the toilet handle. 

I bravely Scoured the Internet. 

Recruited one of my Sons. 

Ordered the part as a pickup from our hardware store, and together we fixed that. Boy, did we feel proud. 

Our gremlin was only cracking its knuckles. 

Next the sink began to drip. The drip became a steady stream. Once again I 

Turned to the Internet.

Recruited my Son. 

Prepared for battle. One water shut off valve closed; the drip persisted. The other shut off was frozen. Back to the Internet. After borrowing a can of WD-40, the valve turned. We were in business. 

The cartridge inside the faucet (who ever heard of a faucet cartridge? What happened to just replacing a washer?!) In any case, none of the four hardware and plumbing supply stores to which I texted a picture could ID it. Did I know the part number? I hadn’t a clue. 

Inspired by my plumbing prowess, my mother sent me this t-shirt.

Finally, one plumbing supply store sent me to plumbers’ mecca. Within minutes of my text, the cheery reply came back that they could ID it and had it in stock. An hour of driving later, with an accidental foray onto a toll road without an EZ pass (still waiting on the ticket for that), I came home with the part. The actual installation wasn’t a big deal. My Son did most of it.

But, the gremlin wasn’t done. Now the water shut off valves wouldn’t stop dripping. Pull out two more plastic containers to catch the water and we were back in business.

Yet another drip catcher. This one under the sink shut off valve.

Then, the other faucet started dripping. Knowing where we were headed, we ordered the part. Yes, I had saved the part number from the first time. Son did the installation. Things were golden.

Less then three days later the bathroom began to reek. I cleaned and cleaned, but couldn’t find the source. The stench was so strong that you couldn’t even tell where it was coming from.

Finally, I noticed some water on the floor behind the toilet.

Back to the Internet. 

What do you even call the things that attach the tank to the base? Toilet Tank Bolts, in case you ever need to know. Texted hardware store. No answer. Determining that we Could Not Live with that SMELL for a moment longer, made my first visit to a store since March and purchased the bolts. With the help of Son recruit, installed them. 

Within hours it was leaking…again. This time the Internet helpfully told me it was probably the spud also known as the gasket. 

Another trip to the hardware store. Didn’t even have to ask my Son to come; he knew he was needed. 

And that, my friends, is where we are now. 

I’m hoping for a truce, but I fear the Revenge of the Second Floor Bathroom has only just begun.

7 thoughts on “My Pandemic Plagues

    1. Thanks for the support! Yes, we even had to shut off the water to the whole house for one of the fixes. I thought of you and your comment of risking flooding the house. There were moments where I thought we might be close. Now I just need to pacify my bathroom gremlin so that it will leave me in peace.


  1. Hahahaha!

    Absolutely a battle, and you and Son are heroes! You have so got this!

    And your mom, too, for finding the perfect t-shirt!


  2. OMG! That is unreal! And I am quite impressed with your success. When we have a plumbing problem, in my experience, we have been unable to fix it and have had to replace it, what the “it” was. Just yesterday, the plumber informed us that in his close to 50 years in the business, he had never seen a toilet mechanism like the one in our toilet, dating to the mid-1970s (he found the date), and advised us to replace the toilet. He also advised us to replace the much newer faucet that is leaking in three places. And how did Mom find that t-shirt?!


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