Archive | October, 2020

Voting During Plague Times

17 Oct

I live in BC and a snap election was called, that is an election that was called earlier than the normally scheduled one. Basically, it is when someone gets all “hmm, if I call for an election right now I have better odds of winning than if I waited for the normal election date, so let’s giver a go!”. Or in other words, it is someone calling an election not because it is for the good of the people they are supposed to be representing but because it is beneficial to them.

Can you tell I am not impressed with snap elections? πŸ˜‰

It isn’t voting day yet, but we can vote early at a variety of locations and I figured better to go early than wait for the day. I keep hearing stories of long lines, it taking ages, stuff like that, and I thought better to go to an early voting site and risk losing a bunch of time on my day off than trying to squeeze it in on a day I work and not being able to make it.

Voting was the top of my list of errands to do today, assuming it would take a long time I had my ear buds so I could listen to music in line, a protein bar if I got hungry, and a diet coke to quench potential thirst. I was ready! And it was all unnecessary.

The only people at the site when I got there were the people working. The whole thing took maybe 4 minutes and 2 of those minutes were walking to the correct door since they had made the doors one direction and I parked nearer the exit than the entrance.

The guy who greeted me at the door had gloves, mask, and face shield on, he let me know which table to go to. The person at the table (at all the tables) was wearing a mask and gloves, and was sitting behind plexiglass.

The barcode on my voting card was scanned through the plexiglass and I had to hold my license up to the plexiglass so he could get a good look at it. Then he handed my ballot to me by sticking one hand around the edge of the plexiglass and directed me to the little cardboard wall deal that you stand behind to vote. So I voted, went back to the guy, and he had me tear the top off my ballot. The top went in to an envelope that was attached to the front of the plexiglass, it was quite full which makes me believe others are early voting also and I just happened to arrive in a quiet moment. Then I put my ballot in the box, was shown where to put my voting card for recycling and that was it. I had voted.

On the way out a person opened the door for me so I didn’t have to touch it and there was hand sanitizer by the door, which I appreciated since I had touched a pen who knows how many other people had touched.

Also, turns out the one way door system worked out to be a good thing cause the exit led directly to the parking lot and if there had been a long line and I was tired after finishing a grueling experience to vote I would have been glad to exit right where my car was.

The whole thing made barely a dent in my day, which was an unexpected perk as I was planning to stay there as long as was needed. Makes me feel bad for people going to vote in unsafe conditions though, long lines that aren’t socially distanced, high levels of sick or potentially sick people, no masks…having to be in line under those conditions would be scary, and unsafe.

I know my voting experience won’t be what everyone has, you may go on a day that is busier than today, or you may go to a smaller location so people can be less spaced out, or maybe other voters who are there at the same time as you don’t wear masks or use sanitizer, it is all up to chance what the voting location you go to will be like, I hope it is like how mine was, clean, quiet, and fast, but even if it isn’t, even if you have to stand in a long line, or be the person taking a step back because someone else isn’t distancing properly, I hope you still vote.

Your voice is important and deserves a chance to be heard.

My Broken Toilet: Part 3

7 Oct

Will Part 3 also be The End? You’ll have to read to the end to find out!…or scroll down and cheat by reading the last little bit but just know I silently judge people who do that. πŸ˜‰

For the third day in a row I went to Canadian Tire after work to buy a part for my toilet. Lucky for me they refunded two of the flappers I had bought, I mean, I knew they’d refund the unopened one but I thought I might get some hassle over the opened one. Then off to the plumbing repair aisle, which I now can find with my eyes closed. Can’t find anything else in that store but who needs anything else when you have the fascinating plumbing aisle to peruse?

Just like with the flappers there are a lot of choices for the handle mechanism. Some are obviously different styles but most are fairly similar. I remembered to bring my broken handle, it was in a Ziploc bag, so finding the identical one should be a breeze, right?

Kinda…I guess. I had been hoping to find one that looked the exact same but that didn’t happen. Instead I found one with a similar look to the hidden parts of the mechanism but the handle was a completely different colour to my toilet and I’m sorry but no, just…no. The handle I used to have was silver (in look, it was actually plastic I think), my toilet is some weird cream type colour, and the handle I picked up was shockingly white. I couldn’t bring myself to put a white handle on a cream coloured toilet, it would look weird.

After some hunting I found one that instead of a plastic arm for the inside of the tank it had a metal arm, but it was the same length and width as the broken one, and connected to a silver handle. Also, the nut and bolt part seemed to be a close size match to the broken one.

It seemed promising so I decided that was my new toilet handle. I took the fastest route from the plumbing section to the cashier, because I know what that route is now, and headed home.

Once home I glanced at the instructions, I mean, how hard can it be to replace the handle of a toilet, and got to work. After a little meneuvering I got the handle mechanism in place, attached the chain for the flapper, gave it a test flush, tweaked the tightness of the handle, tested again, mentally patted myself on the back for now having a working toilet (it had to be a mental pat, no way was I touching anything until I’d washed my hands!), put the lid of the tank on, washed up, and walked away from the toilet.

Three evenings spent working on this project and it was finally done! And done because I’d fixed it, not because I called my landlord and had him come in to fix it. πŸ™‚

Hours later when going to wash up I discovered a little hiccup…it wouldn’t flush. Something was wrong with the handle when I pushed it, it wasn’t moving properly. Confused, I took off the tank lid and tested the handle and everything worked fine. However, it worked because the tank lid was off and the inside arm part of the handle mechanism needed more height than the tank lid allowed to be able to lift the flapper.

What madness is this? Seriously?! My irritation drove me to fiddle with things instead of assume I had to take the handle back and buy a new one. In all the ways it mattered this handle is the same as the broken one, this has to work! And what do you know, perseverance paid off and with a bit of tweaking I got it working. Turns out I had to angle the arm piece to aim lower down than I had when I initially put it in so it had room to move.

Then, and only then, did I decide it really, officially, for certain, was fixed.

Thank the universe this project is done and I get my evenings back to deal with the oh so important tasks of watching Netflix, and YouTube, and pretending I am going to exercise but then not exercise for some made up but almost legit sounding reason…oh, and of course cuddling the cat. I think he’ll be almost as happy as I am I won’t be coming home from work to spend time in the bathroom working on the toilet.

My Broken Toilet: Part 2

6 Oct

Remember in Part 1 of “My Broken Toilet” series how at the end of the post I said I hoped Part 2 would also be “The End”? Well…it isn’t…so brace yourself for a Part 3 tomorrow.

After work today I went to Canadian Tire, again, to look at toilet plumbing repair stuff, again. Apparently this is what I do after work now for fun.

I found the identical flapper to the one I bought then started comparing the length and width of the arms on the flapper to other flappers, hoping to be able to find one slightly larger than the universal one I bought. My best guess for fixing the problem was a different flapper that could properly seal when closed. Well, that and the whole clean the inside of the tank with vinegar thing, but we’ll get to that.

The flappers are all in little plastic bags that are only see through in a small area near the bottom and the bags can’t be opened until bought so I was basically standing in the aisle, trying to maneuver flappers around inside their packaging until I could see the section I want, then try to get the same sections of two flappers that are inside two bags as close to each other as possible for comparison. It didn’t do much to help me with my decision. In the end I bought two and hoped one of them would work and that maybe I’d be able to return the other.

Once home I decided to clean the tank first so I poured the vinegar in the tank, making sure to pour it down the sides of the tank and then being the impatient soul that I am I immediately started scrubbing instead of waiting for the half hour the YouTube video said I should wait. In my defense, the tank can’t hold liquid, it has a leak, so I can’t leave the vinegar in there to soak, it’ll just leak out in to the bowl. Also, I didn’t want to be spending my whole night working on the toilet.

The vinegar did a pretty decent job. Makes me think if I had been able to let it soak in there it would have gotten the really stubborn parts clean also. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t shiny and new looking but it also isn’t as disgusting looking as it was prior to the vinegar wash. Or maybe I’m just getting used to the inside of a toilet tank…

After finishing the cleaning I removed the new but not sealing properly flapper and tried comparing that one to the ones in the packages, to see which of the new ones was a bit larger than the one I was holding. I started to wonder if I could get the old one that broke to fit again, after all the rubber chain on that one broke at the end, maybe I could just use it with the rubber chain part being a bit shorter. While trying to force the end of the rubber chain thing through the hole on the part of the handle mechanism that is inside the tank the handle mechanism snapped off…

Yes, you read that right. While trying to fix the flapper I broke the handle mechanism.

I just kinda stared at the piece that had broken off in to my hand, and did that stupid move where I held it to the part it broke off of like that would magically make them reattach.

Deciding I can only deal with one thing at a time I went back to the flapper problem. Eventually I just picked one since this whole comparing while they are in the bag thing was really getting me nowhere and lo and behold, my first bit of luck with this project happened, the new flapper sealed, the tank was holding water, and there were no ripples in the bowl.

A toilet miracle!

So now I have a working flapper with nothing to attach the chain to because oh yeah, I broke that piece off.

I have dismantled the entire handle mechanism and put it in a plastic bag to take with me when I go to Canadian Tire tomorrow after work so I have a hopefully better than slim chance of buying a handle that will fit so I won’t be going back a fourth time.

Though at this point I’m becoming a regular there, I might feel lost if I have a day this week where I don’t have to make a trip there after work. I mean, what did I do with all my time in the evenings when I wasn’t trying to fix a toilet? It’s been so long since this project started I just can’t quite recall…oh the fading memories!

Too dramatic? Yeah, ok, too dramatic. πŸ˜‰

My Broken Toilet: Part 1

5 Oct

No blog post that is titled “My Broken Toilet” should be more than one part and yet, here I am.

Last night as I was getting ready for bed I used the toilet, shocking I know. I pushed on the handle and felt a teeny tiny jolt come through, like that of something snapping. And then the toilet did nothing, as in it didn’t flush. I thought what some of you are probably thinking, the chain slipped, no biggy.

I opened the tank for the first time since living in this apartment and discovered that the flapper (that is the part that lifts up when you push on the handle, and then lowers again to stop water flowing so the tank fills) didn’t have a chain like every other toilet out there. Nope, this one has to be different *rolls eyes*. This one is like an all-in-one, the flapper, which is rubber, had a snake like piece of rubber attached to it that came up and hooked on to the same spot a chain would.

So I guess it is just like a chain, only rubber, and not as easily fixed. I tried to get the end of the rubber “chain” thing back through the hole on the plastic piece it attaches to so moving the handle would once again flush the toilet but nope, not happening. I ended up leaning the rubber “chain” against that floating ball thing that is part of the rig that stops the water when the tank is filled so hopefully the next morning I wouldn’t have to submerge my hand in to a tank of cold water just so I could flush.

Glamorous life I lead isn’t it? πŸ˜‰

After work today I went to Canadian Tire, (side note, I always forget what a wide selection of items Canadian Tire sells, you could wander those aisles for ages if you had the time). Okay, back on topic! Went to Canadian Tire and bought a new flapper. I couldn’t get one labelled for a specific toilet because I have no idea what the name of my toilet is, is generic an option? They had a flapper that was labelled universal and looked like what I thought mine looked like. To be honest I hadn’t looked that closely at it, I just assumed there was only one type, who knew there were so many to choose from? Do we really need to be spoiled for choice in all things? Eesh.

One instructional YouTube video later the universal flapper and I went in to the bathroom. First step was sweeping around the toilet, I was worried I might mess up horribly and have water rushing over the edges of the toilet somehow and thought it wise to have the water go onto a clean floor, cause ya know, logic. In the process I discovered two spiders, which means I also killed two spiders. Who knew they liked chilling near toilets? The little weirdos.

After I turned off the water I drained the tank as much as it would drain and discovered the inside of my toilet tank is disgusting. I know I know, it is clean water, it is fine, but it is still disgusting. Minerals and I dunno what else builds up over time and it is gross. I popped off the flapper from where it hooks on, modified the universal one as per instructions on the package to make it fit like the one I was replacing, attached it to the hooks, attached the chain (a real chain this time, not some weird rubber snake thing), and was oh so proud that I just performed a household maintenance type chore.

Don’t get happy for me, that pride went away pretty damn fast.

I turned the water back on and waited for the tank to fill so I could do a test flush and confirm it worked perfectly. Well, uh yeah, all I could confirm is that there was a leak because (1) the tank never filled and (2) in the toilet bowl there were ripples, which YouTube taught me means there is a leak coming from the tank in to the bowl.

I tried wiggling the new flapper around a bit, help it get a better seal, and discovered that if I was willing to leave my hand submerged in the tank so I could apply pressure to the flapper then the leak would stop. Since that is not a life choice I am willing to make I tried to figure out other ways to fix it…which meant I pushed on it a bit more, turned the water off, put the tank lid back on, scrubbed my hands and arms, and went to ruminate on what to do. Oh, and by ruminate I mean I made tea, got a snack, and watched something on my computer for a bit.

Eventually I went back to YouTube and started searching for more help and was given the tips of (1) apply vaseline or lube to the underneath rim of the flapper to give it a better seal when closed or (2) clean the flapper and the edge of the part it closes onto to give it a better seal. I then started googling how to clean the inside of a toilet tank because I was starting to think I was going to have to get my landlord to help and I’m embarrassed for anyone to see something in my apartment be that gross.

Turns out you are supposed to drain the water from your toilet tank, fill the tank with vinegar, let it sit for hours, then flush, twice a year to keep it clean. Am I the only one who didn’t know this?! I swear, when you turn legal age wherever you live you should be handed a book with all this adulting stuff in it so when you’re trying to figure out why your toilet is having issues you can flip to the toilet section and see that oh yeah, you’re a dumbass who hasn’t been cleaning the inside of the tank on schedule and you need to up your adulting game.

You know that meme about not growing up because it is a trap? Never has a meme been so right.

Lucky for me I had the type of sponge the one video said to use for the cleaning of the edges, so I scrubbed. I also applied vaseline because I was desperate.

Nothing. The tank gets almost but not quite full, the water is rippling in the bowl still, and there is water oh so slowly constantly running because the toilet is trying to fill the tank but is unable to.

All this means I have turned off the water, I can’t stand the thought of wasting it, and will turn it back on whenever I need to use the toilet…guess whose gonna be skipping drinks for the next little while and getting a tad dehydrated? This girl!

Tomorrow after work I will buy a large container of vinegar, since apparently that is what those are for, seriously how did I not know this? I’ll try cleaning the entire inside of the tank, see if that helps the flapper to seal properly. I will also pop by Canadian Tire again to see if there is anything in the toiler flapper section that looks like it might help this situation.

I’m really hoping Part 2 of My Broken Toilet saga is also The End! *crosses fingers*

%d bloggers like this: