Sunday, April 19, 2015

Peeing in the Sink...

I found this old email I sent to a friend in 2006 and I laughed a few times reading it...

Sent: Saturday, May 27, 2006 5:54 PM
Subject: Toilet Shopping is a Lot of CRAP! aka Peeing in the Sink...

This is extremely loooog, so if you don't read it all, I'll understand..
Do wealthy, well to do people, shop for their own toilets? Somehow I can't picture it that way. The Bentley pulls up in front of Home Depot and the chauffeur gets out, walks around and opens the door for a gentleman that is dressed in a black business suit, dark with pinstripes, a crisp Derby and spats. The remote doors of the giant hardware store swing open and the gentleman walks to the commode department, politely asking directions from a guy named Bubba. Once there, he makes a selection and has his chauffeur put the brand new toilet into a shopping cart and he wheels it to the cashier where he stands in line and is insulted and assaulted by other shoppers. He goes home in his Bentley after checking his supply of Grey Poupon and has Heathcliff carry the toilet into the shitter where he tells Heathcliff to install it or he calls a plumber..
It didn't go that well for me! I was sitting there on the throne, thinking about my day's activities and I reached back and gave old Clyde a flush. Clyde's flusher was a little stiff for some reason so I pushed it a little harder and heard an unfamiliar noise from the flushing device. That noise, as I so delicately described it, was more of a click, kind of like the noise a porcelain tank might make if it was cracking. The first clue was the water on the floor.. I cracked him good! That little flush was one flush too many for old Clyde, he quit on me, right there, it was over! We had been partners for almost 14 years and he's gone! I now knew what I was going to do today. I was going to shop for and install a toilet, but not just any toilet, Clyde's replacement.
I decided to take a shower and head to Home Depot, then I remembered what my plans were for the day and decided a tooth brushing was all I'd need. I think it's wasteful to shower and then devote your day to being elbow deep in a toilet. I figured the shower could wait until afterwards.
When I got to Home Depot, I was a little disappointed to see how proud they were of their toilets. Those things are from about a hundred bucks all the way up to about $500 and they all do the same thing. I don't think anyones gonna leave my house thinking gee, that Mel Fisher sure has a nice toilet, right? Perhaps a mid line product would be best. I approached the first employee, but evidently he was deaf, because the louder I'd yell "Excuse me, sir" the faster he would walk in the other direction towards the break-room. I almost took off my shoe and threw it at him, but decided not to. The next guy I talked to was about 5' 2" and the reason that I mentioned his height was because he must have had a complex over it, because he decided it was his job to make me feel like the dumbest weekend plumber in captivity. First he asked me what brand of toilet I was looking for. I WAS going to tell me TopShit, but decided to play it cool. I told him I had a Koeler or something like it. He said, then all you need is the top tank? I said, yes. I really didn't know you could buy just the top tank, but again, I'm stupid. He told me that if he gives me this adjustment kit, they will all fit. Oh, I was pleased. I took my new top tank and my little kit to the cashier and they told me that the salesman is not allowed to give away adjustment kits and I had to pay for it. I insisted he give it to me, because that's what the salesman said. The cashier finally agreed to wave to $2 charge.
So, I lugged this top tank into the house and take a look and I don't have a Koeler toilet at all, it's a Crane Miser. So, I was starved and had to eat something before I could go on. I take the top tank back to the return desk and stand in line for about 20 minutes. I finally get my card credited and go back to Shorty and tell him I didn't have a Koeler toilet, afterall, it's a Crane. Shorty makes a "you are dumber than dog shit" face and says, that's why I GAVE you that adjustment kit. It works on a Crane too! I tried to tell Shorty that the cashiers tried to sell it to me, but he was mad already and I was afraid he'd yell at me. I went back to the return desk and got back in line and repurchased my Koeler top tank. The credit card company is going to look at this month's statement twice, lemme tell ya. I lug the tank home again, Bogie starts asking questions, but I give him the cold shoulder. I now extract the top tank from it's packaging, which takes an engineer to do and I take one look at this thing and there is NO FUCKING WAY it's ever gonna fit my toilet bottom. It was like putting a square into a circle. The top had 3 screws and the bottom had 2 holes. If I removed the wall between the living room and the bathroom, I might have been able to make it work...
Now, it's back to Home Depot, get back in line, by now the returns lady was making faces at me, she knew what was coming. By now we were old friends and she asked me what happened, but I didn't feel like talking. I told her I was going to Lowe's and headed over there! Screw Shorty! He was compensating for his height by acting like he knew what he was doing,,,,,,, he didn't!
I drove the 3 miles to Lowe's and was unpleasantly surprised to see it was a shabby, not as well lit, Home Depot. The layout was more difficult to navigate and they kept their toilets fairly well hidden. I interrupted 3 or 4 employees that were having a social moment to ask for directions to the shitters. They politely offered me an, "End of the isle, turn right" and went back to discussing the Sun's game. Now I know where the employees from Home Depot go when they get out on parole... The general atmosphere was one of a sleazy bar on the wrong side of town, but was missing the pool table.
Lowe's does carry Crane Toilets, so I WAS in the right place. Now, I needed an employee to help me. Here's a problem that nobody ever thinks about. Their selection of toilets is about 5 to 15 feet above the ground. They're displayed on the actual shelves that go as high as 30 feet in the air. How does a guy test drive one, if you will? I just spent 14 years of my life sitting on Clyde and all of that is well and good, but before I drop about $300 for a new toilet I want to sit on it and see that it's comfortable. I could see that wasn't going to happen.
I saw a salesman that was dutifully waiting on a woman in the bathroom fixture department and I waited politely for him to become available, when I realized there was another man waiting to see him too. I decided to look for my own sales person. I found a tattooed cover little guy with two front teeth missing and asked if he knew anything about the toilets. Without answering, he walked away and I followed him. He stood looking high into the air and I couldn't see what he was looking at. I approached a little closer and as I came around the corner, I could see he was politely waiting to talk to a man that was about 30 feet in the air on the business end of a scissor lift. I waited about 30 seconds too and finally asked if they had another one of those lifts available, so I could go up and ask him about the toilet. No response! Now the toothless guy started talking, finally. He told me there were only 2 people that knew anything about toilets, the guy that was 30 feet up and the guy that was busy with the lady. He asked if I had tried up there and he pointed to the front of the store? I was losing patience quickly and told him I didn't want to make a career out of finding someone to talk to there about toilets and left... Dejected and rejected, I left and went home to a bathroom with no toilet and a future of peeing in the sink!
I was literally bushed! Four visits to Home depot and Lowe's wiped me out. I went home and napped on the sofa and tried to figure out a plan for today.. I decided to start with a shower and go from there. There is still Ace and Lowe's again, now that I know that they carry Crane toilets!
Peeing in the sink, day 2....
Today I opted for the shower, why not? I must have been exhausted yesterday because I literally slept like a baby. Zoie came to me at about 3:30 AM and I just told her to go back to bed and she did. Whew! I had a busy night last night. I knew I HAD to see the finale' of LOST and it was a 2 hour LOST, but I wanted to see the grand winner of American Idol too, not to mention the Suns were playing the Dallas Mavs in game one of a 7 game series for the finals. I accomplished it all, but not without a lot of finger action on my remote. Remind me to change the batteries, I'm sure I wore them out. All 3 shows were GREAT, if you didn't see American Idol, you really missed a good show? Same thing with LOST and the Suns won by 3 points, all in the last 4.5 seconds, a real nail biter.
Back to business. I'm the guy with a hole in the floor where there is supposed to be a toilet. Today, I let my fingers do the walking. I called Lowe's and asked for the toilet department and girl answered the phone and I asked for someone that knew a lot about toilets and she hung up on me, literally. I called back and spoke with a guy named Bob. Bob asked me what the serial number was on my toilet, the one I already threw into the trash and the truck had already picked up. Things were not going well for me. I did keep the tank lid, though and luck went in my favor, because that's where the serial number that he needed was. Whoops, bad luck again. Bob called me back after calling the Crane factory to tell me that my toilet isn't made anymore, booooo... Then he asked me what size my roughin was. Huh? What's a roughin? It's the distance from the bolts that hold your toilet down, to the wall behind it. All they carry is a 12' roughin, for a 10' roughin, I need to call the Depot. That's what they call Home Depot at Lowe's, THE DEPOT!
I went to the Depot and went right to the toilet department and was glad to see that Shorty wasn't there. I might have punched him right in the eye.. that bastard! Instead I found an African woman there that was VERY helpful and she didn't intimidate me. She said, look! You want you a toilet that does the job in one flush, right? I gots teenage boys and here's the one that we use at home and it don't leave nuthin in the bowl when you is done. That's for me, I said. I'll take it! I muscled it off the shelve and it was no easy feat. Those things must weigh a hundred pounds and that's just the base. she said here's 2 packages of Bee's wax and this way you don't have to worry about leaks! That's for me too, I HATE leaks! I asked her if it cam equipped with seat belts for beer drinkers, she didn't laugh. I carried this stuff to the cashier and she rang me up and I went home with my new toilet and to begin my installation.
First I had to take out the old base, that went pretty well, even the part where I had to clean up the old bee's wax. They actually use bee's wax to seal the toilet to the floor.. Barry called and told me I was an idiot for even trying this and we talked for about 30 minutes. I went back to the job and sweat and worked and shoved things where they needed to go and I was just about finished when I realized I would be able to fit the new toilet under the counter where it goes, but not the LID. The toilet I bought was about an inch too high to fit in the space where it has to go. I washed my hands real good and made lunch, it was almost 2 PM and I was starved and still needed to remove my recently installed toilet. Oh, woe is me..
Stay tuned for Day three of peeing in the sink...
Good morning. This is day three and after a night of interrupted sleep, I awakened rather early for me, as I have the illegals coming this morning. Just 2 weeks ago they were the cleaning ladies and with the influx of the press, Taylor Hicks winning the American Idol, they quickly became the "illegals".. In my mind, I toyed with the idea of asking them if they had green cards and doing what the law suggests and firing them, but then who would clean the house? On that topic, let me ask you this. If you were really thirsty and there was no water to drink where you were and someone drew an imaginary line and across that line there was lots of water for the taking, would you cross that line? I know how the illegals are taking out lettuce picking jobs and how the American tax payer is being raped for supporting illegals with our taxes, but would you rather your money went to a group of people wanting to work, or to the war effort in Iraq? Besides, Bogie and Zoie love them and want to spend all of their time with them. I think Bogie is learning Spanish.
I'm trying to get psyched up to make my 383736 trip the the Depot for my farcockda toilet. Wait until my illegals get to the downstairs bathroom and there is no toilet to clean. I'm going to ask for a discount!
I just got back from the Depot where we had a big meeting. I started asking this older guy, my age, for some help and he made the mistake of asking a younger guy a question about some detail and everything went up for grabs. The two of them got into a heated argument over who was right on some detail, a SKU number of all things. I got frustrated and just left. No toilet, no hopes of a toilet, but  a tip that the store at Cave Creek and Bell has 2 of the ones I want. I asked if they could just transfer one to this store, but was told the Depot frowns on that. So, I just paid the illegals and am off the new Depot for my throne!
I arrived at this new Depot with bells on. I noticed that because this is NOT as good a neighborhood as mine, the prices were a little higher. I approached a recent parolee and asked if he knew anything about toilets and he answered, "Just using them", and then busted out laughing like he had just thought of a great joke. I can't tell you how irritating it was. I moved on and found the toilet department by myself. An elderly African American man, about 65 was the guy to get a hold of, I was told and got lucky, because just then he walked by and I tackled him. He was very polite and knowledgable. Just one thing. The first thing out of his mouth was that he just finished looking for that toilet for another customer and there weren't any. It turns out that there is ONLY one toilet in the world that I can use at my house and wouldn't you know it, I wasn't the first guy there? Otis checked the inventory and said he should have had 2 units in stock and can't imagine why that is, when there are clearly none around here, but the store at Cave Creek and Cactus has 18 of them! Without a word I ran out the front door, to my toilet ready GREEN van and hopped in and buckled up for my trip to Store 346, Cave Creek and Cactus!  The GREEN van actually peeled rubber as I took off on my mission. I arrived at my destination, only after putting on my diguise, a mustache and plumber's beard and nonchalantly walked to the toilet section whistling, not wanting to bring any unwanted attention to myself. Oddly, my body semi-floated to the toilet section, like it knew where to go. When I got there, there was an aura around a pile of toilets and they were the pile of 6276-0's, the elongated white bowl that goes with the 3324-0 super saver tanks! Not saying a word about the price being $40 more at this store, than the one in my neighborhood, I muscled the 100 LB devil into my cart and made my way to the cashier.
My cashier was smoking! She actually had a cigarette lit, but don't worry, she had her hand pointed in the direction of the front door that was closed and at least 30 feet away from her. She looked at me and explained that she's supposed to be on break now, but they're short on help because Mary called in. I smiled and said, no problem... Biting my lip, I paid the inflated price, even though I knew if I'd said something, they may have brought the manager in on the deal to screw things up. Afterall, I had my 6276-0 and was ready for installation!
By the time I got home, I was exhausted and waited a couple of hours before I even unloaded the unit from my GREEN van. About 5 PM, after feeding the dogs, I began the installation and by now it went pretty smoothly, afterall, I've done this before.
Guess what? I was to the part where I connect the top tank to the bottom bowl and realize that there wasn't a parts bag in my toilet bowl. I didn't have any of the hardware necessary to complete the job. After all of the toilets that I've opened and conscientiously put all of the parts back into before returning them, mine was missing the parts! Tomorrow, day 5 ofpeeing in the sink, I'll go back to the Depot where I'm friends with all of the guys and beg for a parts bag!
Peeing in the Sink, Day 5...
I slept well, after going to bed early. I was just beat. Installing toilets can leave you wiped, aye? I went down to make some coffee and while I waited for the coffee to brew, I fell back to sleep for 90 minutes, what's up with that? The coffee not only brewed, but cool down and shut itself off. Oh well, such is the life of a bum. I leaped up the 19 stairs to the shower, full of energy and showered for my trip to the Depot. I was really starting to miss those guys over there. When I got there, there was the old guy from yesterday and he not only remembered me, but seemed glad to see me and find out the outcome of my adventure. He quickly remedied everything by giving me a package of parts and walked me out the door so the alarm wouldn't go off on me, as I hadn't paid for the parts. I went home and quickly installed the toilet and turned on the water supply. Holy shit, it was flooding, indicating I hadn't tightened down the screws hard enough. You don't want to tighten them too much, breaking the porcelin parts. The trick is to do it just right. A few more turns of my wrench and I accomplished that. Second test drive and it was dry as a bone. Mission accomplished... Now, that wasn't so bad, was it?
Total time doing the replacement, 5 minutes. Total time running around and looking for the correct toilet and parts, 5 days..
Mongo the wrench...

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Walking the Costco Mile...

After procrastination about doing a Costco run for about 3 weeks, I finally broke down and went to the Paradise Valley location, which is farther, but has the good Rye bread. In addition, it doesn't offer the crowds of aggressive pushy people that frequent the Scottsdale location. I think you know what I refer to. High dollar cars using 2 parking places, people running into your heels from behind, looking at you as if you've inconvenienced them. We used to call them jerks but I choose a more aggressive word ending in "hole".

Proud of my parking place I enter the big box giant and smile at the cute girl that is supposed to be checking membership cards but is just using her smile to welcome customers. I prefer it that way. My goal is to purchase things to eat, because last week I bought 4 T-shirts at Target to get me through the summer, completing my summer 2015 wardrobe selections. I start throwing things into my cart like breakfast sausage, chopped lettuce that I'll throw away in 10 days unopened, eggs in the 18 packs, (I didn't throw them) some kind of frozen Chinese chicken, asparagus, grapes, sliced roast beef, ice cream and a bunch of other stuff that escapes me currently. 

After doing my share of people watching, always a favorite at Costco, I head to the cashier's section that by chance was not busy. It was 3:30 in the afternoon on a Monday (mark that down). I carefully unload my cart and placed everything on the conveyor belt when the young girls asks me for my Costco card. With a smile I reach into my back pocket and unexpectedly feel my ass! What? Where is my wallet? A personal panic strikes me and it shows on my face, when the girls says, no card? I-I-I left my wallet at home, I changed into these shorts at the last minute and remember leaving my wallet on the table next to my bed.

Always the salesman, I tell the girl that I've been a member since 1985 when it was Price Club and can't she just look up my membership number. The young girl panics and calls a supervisor, (I switch to my supervisor hat) She approaches and the cashier tells her that I don't have my Costco card, can we just look up his ID number? The supervisor says yes, sure, then looks at me and asks, how will you be paying for your purchase? GAME OVER!

The boss lady, ever sympathetic, explains that she can save my accumulated items for me until I return with my wallet, while sounding like a little kid that just got told no more playing, you've had enough for today, I ask, what about my ice cream? She assures me that they'll put it in the freezer for me if I promise to come right back. Feeling like a 10 year old that just got scolded, I left the store mumbling stuff, empty handed. 

Aware of the traffic that has gotten heavy on the way home, I decide to wait until after rush hour to go back. At about 7 PM, I try it once again, travelling in cool breezy 80 degree temperatures. I enter and explain to the friendly greeter that I just had my first senior moment today and briefly explained my dilemma. She yells in the opposite direction, GET THE BAND! I crack up with her and she calls Sara to investigate as to whether or not they still have my things put away. I enter and look for Sara. In my estimation, Sara is a big chunky girl with a very serious attitude. All she says to me is to wait over there and points to a shopping cart blocking the next cashier's position. After about 10 minutes of feeling like a penny waiting for change, a little girl comes up to Sara and whispers something into her ear. I'm sure she's the abandoned shopping cart girl, yet no one says anything to me. I leave my assigned position and approach Sara again and this time she wears her chastising face and explains that I did wait an awfully long time to come back and everything was returned to stock. I just stared at Sara for a time and explained that this entire thing was my fault and I appreciate all of the trouble everyone has gone to, to accommodate me, (just to replenish Sara's faith in humanity) Way down deep I was really thinking SHIT!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

I Want to be 39!

While strumming along on Facebook today, I couldn't help but notice it was "Sibling's Day", who knew? I really don't have any siblings anymore, aside from a an older brother in a Chicago suburb that I haven't spoken to in over 40 years and a deceased younger brother that passed away in 1989, rendering me an only child, but who ever heard of a 69 year old child? Now all of this gibberish brings to the topic of my story tonight. Two of the girls that I went to high school with were twins and they posted a picture of themselves and about age 18. I clicked on one's profile and noticed that she was friends with an old friend and neighbor of mine, Jeff Stein. Jeff's family lived directly behind our house and he was my same age. I recall when we were about 10 years old, a bunch of us built a fort in the vacant lot next door to his house and his father helped us. I even remember his address of 8424, mine was 8423 on the street behind his. 

The thing that stands out the most in our relationship was, while walking back to school one day after our lunch hour, I made a remark about something my mother told me and he replied that my mother was a liar! Whoa! That's one thing that's not allowed insulting a 7th grader's mother out loud and in front of other kids. Doing so would earn you a punch in the jaw, which without even thinking about it, I supplied! He retaliated and we were off into a brawl. I don't think our friendship withstood that insult and I don't think we ever spoke again after that day.

So I clicked on his name and there he was with a picture that all I had to do was add about 58 years to and sure enough there were his eyes, that don't really change and a receding hairline, which is to be expected. I remember that he was an avid sports fan and he made the basketball team in freshman year. Upon investigation, I saw that he had written a book about or relating to sports and strategies. That's when I saw it and wondered if I had the right guy, because it said his birthday was April 26th, exactly one month after mine but the year he was born said 1961. I was born in 1946 and I knew we were the same age! I must say, he looked great for 69 and I figured it out. He used an old picture to advertise his book, probably thinking it would be more marketable with a younger author. I know that you can legally change your name and certainly your religion, but your age too?