Sunday, July 25, 2021


 The weekend has been one of phone calls. Since I tend to leave my phone off when not in use, I was surprised to have three messages and a text on Friday. A call to a worried cousin relayed news of a terrible accident out west involving another cousin's wife who died after falling overboard from a fishing boat on a family vacation. Her family is stunned and planning a funeral they never anticipated.

A second message from my maternal uncle about the situation led me to try and call him back only to discover that in the interim, he had had a heart attack and undergone a cardiac catherization in a hospital near his home. He has been released and is enjoying some of the Olympic Games in Tokyo from the comfort of his living room, though weak and tired.

I feel for all concerned in both situations and though I will not be traveling anywhere and all are out of state, I will be writing. At times like this I wonder at the randomness of life and how anything for anyone can change in a heartbeat. I hope those who are traveling will be safe and remain well.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

A New Loo...

 The plumber has been and gone and I now have a new toilet. The old one was clogged, did not flush well. A masked friend attempted to use an auger but was unsuccessful. The roof stack vents were mentioned as a possible source of the drainage problem and time was spent calling several plumbers, all of whom were busy.

After receiving a recommendation from another plumber, I contacted a 24 hour plumbing concern and was given a slot for later afternoon. A gentleman showed and his assessment was that the roof stacks were not contributing to the problem and that the clog could be resolved with the use of a six foot auger but that the situation was likely to recur because of basic flaws in design.

One was that there was no provision for water to move in the bottom of the bowl via jets. The only water came down from the top and in a low flow bowl, the waste wasn't moving quickly from the bowl through the opening to the outside pipes. Known as a trap way, this can clog easily if the design or the flush meant to clear it are poor.

Though there are standards for the size of the trap way, mine was narrow rather than round, making it more difficult to clear or to insert an auger if necessary.

Two readers did not understand the concern with the roof or what it had to do with inside plumbing. Your stacks are built up into the wall and come out at your rooftop, called vents. If these clog, the drains into your home can be effected and one way this problem manifests is slow drainage of toilets, tubs or sinks. This was the first thing the plumber checked upon entering my flat because I had reported the toilet clearing very slowly. When my sinks and shower cleared without incident, he and I knew the source of the clog was inside rather than at roof level.

I ultimately decided to pull both the toilet and the aging hot water heater. When the toilet came out, roots were discovered in the floor where the flange is located. Those were cleared, but the p trap and tank also contained plant matter so over the almost nine years I've had that toilet it hosted a small ecosystem. From what I read, that isn't uncommon, especially in places like Florida.

After some issues with the height of the toilet, I now have a new Kohler which is comfortable to use and I can report that the hot water is great. The plumber was polite, cleaned up after the job and wore a mask without being asked to do so.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Plumbing work scheduled...

 Tomorrow will be a busy day at chez moi,,,and not on the roof. I am off to make dinner and chill...

Waiting for a plumber...

The plumbing situation here worsened overnight and I had to empty the water from the bowl with a bucket to prevent overflow. A friend came and attempted to plunge and auger with no success. He called several plumbers and then went in search of  another option which may not work but is worth a try.

One plumber called me back with a recommendation and someone is supposed to be here between three and five this afternoon. My friend thinks someone may have to go up on the roof and root out the problem. If so,  I will need to notify my property manager.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Waiting out the weather...

 While it slowed and lost strength over Cuba, Elsa is once again a category 1 hurricane and thus far our bouts of rain have been blissfully few today.  The problem is that we have had so much in the preceding days that flooding is now a concern.  I remain safely indoors where my attention has been on a clogged commode, a caster in danger of coming loose and a cat ill contented with his evening repast.

Casters are the small swiveling wheels at the front of a wheelchair. One side can be screwed in with a small Phillips Head screw driver. Since mine loosened to the point of falling out on the bathroom floor, I found the right sized head and set to work. My efforts yielded a less squeaky chair and although able to tighten the little wheel enough to stay put for now, it will likely loosen again since the screw head is still partially out.

The toilet issue is an ongoing thing, I've tried the plumber's trick using hot water and soap to no avail so far. My hands and arms have gotten a work out today. I'll wait this out, periodically plunging and see what happens. Since the water drains slowly, it isn't a bad clog yet.

 I just finished David Downing's spy thriller, Zoo Station which is part of a seven book series set in 1939 Nazi Germany just prior to World War II. A book club pick and likely something I'd not have read otherwise, it is nonetheless well written though the characters leave something to be desired. Even the protagonist, whom I want to admire for his aid to others and his smarts and narrow escape, seems to fall a bit flat. Perhaps knowing some of the history, particularly the T 4 program, influenced my opinion. One of you might like to give it a go and let me know what you think. I've happily moved on to another read. 

I hope anyone in the path of Elsa will stay safe.