One year ago the toilet in the master bathroom began running incessantly. Not my problem: I sleep in the guest room. I shower in the master bathroom, though.
Eleven months ago Gary bought an entire new toilet innards assembly. He did not install it. He just bought it, perhaps to instill fear in the current toilet so it might shut up.
Nine months ago Gary asked me to start closing the bathroom door after I use the shower. He said the toilet noise bothered him.
The closed door method worked until eight months ago, when the noise through the door began to keep Gary up at night. The noise. Not the binge-watching of old science fiction tv shows. It was the noise of the toilet.
So, eight months ago he adjusted the screw on top of the float. He convinced himself that worked for one day.
Seven months and 29 days ago Gary placed the still-boxed set of new toilet innards on a table in the master bedroom. The toilet couldn't see it, but it sensed it, yet still gurgled defiantly.
Three months ago Gary experimented with the toilet and found that he could make the toilet stop running if he took a heavy bottle of shampoo and propped it up so it rested on top of the flapper inside the toilet. He called this "the mute." (He plays the trumpet. "Mute" is a noun.) He advised me that if the shampoo bottle was sitting by the sink the mute was off and I could use the toilet, otherwise I would find it difficult to flush the toilet.
One month ago I had to use that toilet so urgently I forgot about the whole mute business. I flushed hard enough to move the shampoo bottle, but it was still annoying.
Three weeks ago I went to the hardware store and bought a new flapper. I hid it under the mattress in the guest room. I had to hide it, because I planned to install it secretly when Gary visited his parents. I can't just say to Gary "Perhaps you might like to try installing this flapper. Look, it says on the package: 'Stops Running Toilets!'" If it isn't Gary's idea, it is dismissed out of hand. (Besides, he had only "recently" threatened the toilet with replacement innards. The toilet had not had enough time to think about what it had done.) So, instead of trying to replace the flapper under Gary's nose while he explained he was GOING to do it, he INTENDED to do it, and why this FLAPPER SCHEME would NEVER work, I had to do it behind his back. (Besides, if the flapper didn't work I didn't want the know-it-all lecture.)
Two weeks ago Gary's back went out. He has not left the house and thus I have not been able to do any ninja plumbing.
This morning Gary said, "I'm getting kind of tired of having to move the mute when I want to use the toilet."
He seemed resigned. Like he might not put up a fight. I jumped on my chance. "Hmm. Have you ever thought about replacing the flapper? Would that work?"
"I guess I could try that. I guess I could order a flapper online."
He watched as I ran to the guest room and got the flapper from under the mattress. He laughed immediately, because he knows how I often avoid the fight and fix things behind his back. Sometimes it doesn't work (the refrigerator light) and sometimes it does (the kitchen soap pump).
He did help with the replacement, even though there was a moment he saw me struggle to get the old flapper off and said "See, that's why I didn't do I, could see we couldn't get the old one off." I immediately pulled harder at this bullshit and got the old one off.
After he saw that new flapper works great, Gary tried to spin a new story about how he bought that whole new toilet assembly with the intention of replacing things bit by bit, starting with the flapper. I called him on it. I made him get the package and show me the flapper. New assembly has no flapper. Lies.
"Oh," that's right he said brightly. "I remember now. I opened it, saw there was no flapper, and then I planned to get a new one on-line, but I didn't."
He just yelled in to my room, "Can't tell you how tickled I am about the bathroom, babe."