Thursday, March 5, 2009

Broken Toilets

Some time back (maybe a month or two but who knows, time gets kind of distorted for me) the downstairs toilet or commode as I prefer to call it, became unusable because the handle wouldn't flush. No big deal, we just stopped using the downstairs one and only used the one upstairs. This morning, however, the handle upstairs now won't flush. What is that called when that happens? I don't know. I have not been a good housekeeper since my husband died and all home maintenance has fallen by the wayside for lack of funds, lack of time and lack of knowledge.

I am feeling extremely distraught over this. It is just another metaphor for my life falling apart. I can think of all kinds of fitting phrases here. "My life has become a toilet." "My life has tanked." "I can't even flush the garbage out of my life."

There is no nice boyfriend who lives in town (or nearby) who will offer to drop by and fix the problem. My male friend told me to unscrew the handle and take it to the hardware store and then he told me I'd have to play around with it and I just ended up feeling helpless and irritated at him. He also told me to have the boys "fix it" but none of us here know how to "play around" with a broken commode. There has been no functioning dad in this home for the past seven years and I am weary and tired and drained and we are all angry and stressed and hurting.

But I'm just supposed to march on with a smile on my face to the hardware store and go find a job and somehow try to climb out of this hellhole we've fallen into. And to somehow be strong as a parent to two (sometimes difficult and challenging teenagers).

I'm crying right now just wanting someone to hold me and tell me that things will be okay. I want someone to take care of me for a change and to hear the words, "Don't worry, I'll fix the toilet." I know a week or so ago I wrote about feeling confident and take charge as I changed all the burned out light bulbs inside and out. But non-flushing commodes are at another level. It is not so easy as screwing in a new light bulb. I have to work at this and think about it. I don't want to have to add any more complications to my life right now but they keep popping up.

Last night, all was at least as tolerable as things could be in this situation but by morning all hell has broken loose because the commode won't flush. A small problem in the grand scheme of households but for someone like me the straw that will break the camel's back (or what will push me over the edge of keeping it all together - or pretending to keep it all together).

My therapist has been questioning my desire to remarry saying I haven't had much luck in that department, what with a husband dying on me and another divorcing me. But I throw the question out there to any widow or widower reading this. Why wouldn't we want to be remarried? Who wants to keep facing the drudgery and hardships of day-to-day life and parenting by oneself with no one to lean on? This life absolutely sucks and I'm sick and tired of it. Of course, it would be great to share the ups and joys of life with someone too. I just think there would be more simple pleasures to celebrate if there was less stress in my life which is partly related to the fact that I live on my own and don't have a loving and committed partner by my side.

Today I am grateful:

1. That the sun is shining.
2. That it looks like Spring is actually coming.
3. That it is warmer (just another reason to be happy it is Spring - the furnace upstairs is broken so I can stop worrying about that for a change).

As I finish this and try to end on a positive note (which is why I close with what I'm grateful for) I am still feeling down, depleted and defeated. I am thinking to myself is it any wonder people in our shoes get sick more often and may end up with more health problems as they age? The daily stress and strains of living like this take a huge toll. Just another reason for remarrying and spreading the crap between two instead of just one.


  1. First, reread the comment I posted Feb. 5th re: Snow Day. I know just how you feel about being sick and tired of being the one in charge!

    Second, in response to your question, who wouldn’t want to remarry? As you recall, I too have been divorced. Knowing that all marriages weren’t like my last one, I’m not sure I’m really ready to shake the dice again. Sure, it’d be great to have someone to fix things and even nice to have someone to talk to in the evenings. But I was as alone in that first marriage as I am now, I just had to deal with all of his crap right along with being alone. (Were the perks of your husband #2 really worth the occasional helping hand? I’d bet not.)

    This is going to sound harsh, but you are going to have to put on your big girl panties and learn how to fix toilets. I know you don’t want to, we all have to do stuff we don’t want to do. No, it isn’t fair, but these days, fair is where you go to see the pigs. You are a bright, capable (I know, I hate that word too) woman and you DON’T need a man to pull you out of this. Imagine the example you will be to your sons when they see their mom stand up and face life. And not only face it, conquer it! Come out on top.

    Ok, now the reality. Until you get the handle fixed, have a pitcher of water standing by. Pour it in the toilet as fast as possible and it will flush automatically. And when you learn how to fix it for real, have those boys standing by so they learn right along with you. They will thank you later.

  2. I think what I am dealing with here having had the day to reflect on it is the inability of having any choice in the matter. There was no choice at being widowed - my husband died. Now when something has to get done, there is again no choice - I have to do it because I'm the responsible adult in the family and don't have anyone else to rely on. I've been handling "everything" on my own the past 5 years and really it is seven since my husband was hospitalized during much of the last two years of his life.

    What I want is to one day just not have to do what needs to be done. I know in the end I'll have to attend to it anyway because there is no one else to. But for just one lousy day I want to stomp my foot down and say, "No, no, no, I'm not going to fix that blasted toilet!"

    This is the first time in seven years that I've really felt this way and seven years is an awfully long time to have been keeping the boat afloat. So maybe I feel entitled to be a crybaby today and not pull on my big girl panties. And maybe I just want to wallow awhile and have a pity party just because I can't seem to stand it anymore (or at least today I can't).

    Husband #2 did not live with me except on weekends and then we were attending the boy's athletic events so he did not help around the house at all. In fact, he made a point not to because he claimed it wasn't his house. But he did provide financial support which I could use to hire help if needed and that was something. I've lost that now so it is more difficult.

    About the toilets - I did manage to fix the one upstairs but the downstairs one looks a little more complicated. One for two right now is pretty good in my book. We'll just keep using the one upstairs as we have the past few months.

    About marriage - I guess I am a hopeless romantic and believe that being together is better than being on one's own. And not just for the reasons of sharing household chores or company - but to be sharing a life together and all that life brings to our door - the good and the not so good. To me, having someone be willing to share that journey with me is the ultimate act/display of love. And it would be one that I would hope to reciprocate.

  3. You are absolutely entitled to stomp your foot and say "Not today." It is a survival tool. And I hope you do find someone to share your life with. You are correct that a life shared is a richer one for both of you.

  4. The description "A life shared is a richer one" is short, simple and beautiful. I plan on keeping that in my head as a symbol of hope and faith in the future and the belief that love will prevail. If I ever get remarried that would be a great phrase for the wedding announcements! Thank you for conveying this beautiful wording.