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  • We got back home Friday morning, with a whole weekend of vacation left before going back to work. Having awoken early (3:00 a.m.) on Friday to make our flight, the rest of that day was spent running errands, catching a good nap, then going down to the club in Georgetown that night.

    A fellow who’s been wanting to get together with me for a couple weeks showed up, and we got him started, hopefully, on a road to recovery. The man is currently living in the largest shelter in the country, over near Union Station, where he’s been residing since last October. He’s been content with that lifestyle, but just has a deep-seated sense that he could be doing more, spiritually, if he went through the 12 Steps.

    Though he spent seven years in N.A. back in the early 90’s, he never bought into the whole idea of not drinking and going to meetings, which is o.k. As long as you take care of the spiritual part, through the steps, if you happen to actually be an alcoholic or an addict, the rest seems to take care of itself. We never make the determination that an individual is one of us (an alcoholic or addict) – one has to determine that for themselves. Hopefully, he finds what he needs, whatever that is.

    Saturday kind of went into the toilet – literally. After a morning men’s meeting, I stopped at Home Depot on the way home to pick up three toilet seats. All three of our toilets needed new seats. Pretty basic, simple job, right? Well, on the second one I went to replace, the old seat decided to be difficult getting off of the toilet. The metal screw from below went right up into the hinge for the seat, fastened with a plastic nut from under the toilet bowl. That plastic nut refused to budge, no matter what I did. I tried cutting it off, but it was a very hard plastic, in a difficult spot to get at.
  • So, I started working on the hinge it was screwed into, and the whole thing just got more and more frustrating when it continued to refuse to budge. Finally, I broke out the heavy artillery – first, I tried hack-sawing through the screw, but, again, there wasn’t a good enough angle to get any meaningful strokes with the saw – it would have taken all day to get it through.

    Next, I got a flat crow bar and hammer, and started trying to force the hinge off the top of the screw. Let’s just say I used a little too much force – the next thing I knew, a piece of the porcelain toilet bowl cracked off the side of the top of the bowl, crashing down onto the floor.

    Nooooooooo!!!!!! That was not fixable. I was now going to have to replace the entire toilet! It was one of those moments you just wished you could have it back – go back a minute in time, and stop yourself from doing something that caused the current consequence you were facing. I had not intended to spend my whole day on toilets, damn it!

    Once I got over myself, it was off to Home Depot, this time to get a toilet. I got one that would fit the space, and went about installing the new toilet. Since it’s been many years since I’ve done such a job – when we first moved here, in 1996, we had a whole house warranty, so whenever we needed things like toilets replaced, we just called the plumber on the warranty, and paid them $75.00 to do it.
  • So, I watched the youtube video to make sure I knew what I was doing. The video forgot to mention the gasket between the tank and the bowl, and the new toilet kit’s directions were extremely well-hidden. The gasket was in with the wax ring, and I knew I didn’t need that doodad for the wax ring - you kind of know where this is going, right?

    I got it all installed, and when I flushed it the first time - water everywhere! It took a little more head-scratching, asking an online plumber some questions, and finally my wife saying, “Is it the gasket between the tank and the bowl?” As soon as she said it, I knew what that doodad that had been packaged with the wax ring was for. So, I had to drain the tank again, take it off, put the gasket doodad on, reattach the tank, and finally, I had a new toilet that flushed without providing an unintended shower all over the bathroom floor. Whew.
  • After all that, I just wanted to do nothing for awhile. I turned on the TV, and saw that the NFL channel was beginning to run it’s recaps of Super Bowls I through L (1 through 50), beginning within the hour. I immediately set the DVR up to record all 50 Super Bowl recaps.

    I love watching those things. The early ones especially, narrated by John Facenda (aka “The Voice of God”) are classic, each with its own story line, and lots of footage from the sidelines, and conversations between the players and the coaches, the referees - you get to see the game from their perspectives, with lots of slow motion action, and really great music playing in the background for the more dramatic scenes. They each tell quite a story!

    I began watching them last night, and watched a few today – I’m up to Super Bowl VIII. Next up – the Pittsburgh Steelers' first appearance in Super Bowl IX, to be followed by appearances in X, XIII and XIV, all of which they won. I’m going to be enjoying these SB recaps all week.

    So, my weekend went from the toilet bowl to the Super Bowl – not too shabby! I also put away the rest of the Christmas lights and wreathes and all of it, today. I’d previously taken it all down, except for the window wreathes and the rope lights that spelled out “Love” on the front lawn. Now, it’s all away, and I’m ready to go back to the real world, tomorrow.

    A little earlier tonight, I had the wonderful experience of feeling my father’s presence in the room with me – something that’s really only happened a couple times before, over the 21 years since he left. That was the perfect ending of an interesting first weekend back home. Now, I’m ready for whatever the week will bring.

    Bring it!
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