OK, this story really has nothing to do with our move out of Lincoln Park, but it is sort of distantly related because it has to do with our old apartment. As lawyers might say, it is herein incorporated by reference. Or something like that. Anyway, I was just going through the desk drawer and found an old picture of me. It was taken when I was pregnant, and I was standing in the bathroom of our old apartment (everytime I write that, I think of the Barenaked Ladies song, of which I believe Dr. Vortex is quite fond). I looked at the picture and I noticed the ledge of hula people, which reminded me of an amusing story.
Let me start by explaining that our old apartment building had kick-ass, industrial-strength toilets. There was no tank, it was just connected directly to the pipes, like public restroom toilets. It had a monster flush, and my husband was convinced that it was ok to put absolutely anything in the toilet (he has carried that perception to our current house with a normal toilet). Seriously, any type of garbage that could possibly be created in the bathroom was certainly flushable, in his mind. Q-Tips, bandaids, disposable razors, etc. I wouldn't be surprised if, when I wasn't looking, he used that toilet as a garbage disposal. OK, I think you get the picture.
Explanation 2: We had a hula-themed bathroom. Hula boys, hula girls, hula dogs, hula Gumby, hula Homer Simpson. We had all the hulas. And they sat on the window sill, which was right next to the toilet.
Explanation 3: I was at my parents' house for the weekend. Need I say more? But, ok, I will anyway. Eric was about 3 months old. Chris was working all weekend, so I went out to see my parents. Chris got home and decided to open the windows in the apartment to cool the place down. Including the bathroom window. Oh, and hey, guess what. Since he's a guy, you gotta know that the toilet seat was up. (Just kidding...actually, I have to give him credit--he's always very good about the toilet seat. but it was up in this case). So, hulas in bathroom window + open window + toilet seat up + strong breeze + flush-o-matic toilet - wife to point out flawed thinking = big trouble.
When I got home, Chris told me there had been a terrible tragedy, and that Hula Bob had committed suicide. (We didn't really name all of our hula people, but we had this fat, middle-aged hula couple that we called Hula Bob and Hula Betty.) Anyway, Hula Bob bit it while I was gone. Chris explained that he fell right into the toilet. He tells me, "It broke into a bunch of pieces, I pulled out the big pieces and I flushed the smaller pieces." So, I happen to notice that in the garbage can is Hula Bob, all fat and happy, just missing his base. And I think, "Oh no. Please tell me that you didn't try to flush the base of a hula person down the toilet. A big, round, thick disk of a base. Please tell me you didn't flush it." Chris assures me that it's fine, and that the toilet has been working perfectly.
Well, magically, when I went to use the toilet, I must have broken it! We tried to plunge and stuff for a couple of days, but it just wasn't working well. I called the maintenance man out to our apartment and decided to play dumb. First, before he came over, I hid all of the hula people in my closet. At the back. Under 16 pounds of clothes. Then I told him that I was out of town, and I came back to the toilet not working (totally true). He used his industrial strength plunger, and thought he had it fixed, but no. So he went and got a snake. He can feel something in there, he tells me. He then went and to get a wet-dry vac. He tried it out and thought he had solved the problem. At that point, it was really loud in the apartment, so I left with Eric and told the maintenance man to lock the door on the way out.
I came back later and there was a note. The toilet's still broken. A little while later, the maintenance man came back and knocked on the door. He tried to explain to me, in broken English, that it seemed that there was something in the toilet drain. He claimed that it must be something disk-like which was acting like a stopper, and that it's still letting some water through, but he can't get it out. He explained that he would have to come back the next day and take the toilet out. Except, he also explained that when they remodeled the bathroom, they laid the new floor on top of the old floor with a layer of concrete. And that, in order to remove the toilet from the layer of concrete, he would probably need to take a sledge hammer to it. And he would probably be back the next day, but he just needed to make sure that he has another toilet on hand for when he demolishes the current one.
So, once again, he came back the next day, and once again, Eric and I left. I wasn't going to stick around for the demolition of the toilet. I made sure that we stayed gone a good long time. And when I came home, hours later, the apartment was quiet. I feared what I might find in the bathroom. I glanced in and saw the toilet, in tact, with the seat down and the base of one Hula Bob sitting on top of it.
A little while later, there was a knock on the door. It was the maintenance man. "I feex da toilet. Ees not good to flush da tings down de toilet. Dees time, we feex it for free. Next time, we probably gonna have to make you pay."
I seems, though, that the Polish handyman's threat to make Chris pay is not enough to stop him from attempting to flush inappropriate things. So, in other words, stay tuned for future toilet stories.