The toilet was broken, and I was the man to fix it.
I knew I could fix it. I was mostly sure I could fix it.
The plastic pipe letting the water into the cistern had stopped working, and I had already bought the replacement, still flying high from successfully putting up a venetian blind the day before, with minimal errors.
I was surely in the black in man-points, a toilet would be no problem, after all it was only two screws to undo and tighten up again. Then what could I do next? Maybe service the boiler, maybe build a new shed, solve the Middle East peace process? The world, or maybe the flat and garden was my oyster.
But first the job in hand, I had my replacement pipe still sitting in the Homebase bag on the side, my spanner in hand I began, I imagined emerging from the bathroom in a matter of minutes, another man-job completed more man-points on the board.
"Do you think you'll be able to do it though?" asked my girlfriend Kat.
"I'm sure I will be able to, after all if you look at it" I held up the box holding the replacement plastic pipe "There are just two bolts to tighten really, and if I do it we will save money on a plumber"
I was confident I could fix it, I was almost certain I was sure I could do it.
I turned the spanner twice more and the original pipe came off, this was going to be easy.
I took the replacement out of the box. This DIY stuff was a doddle, what was all the fuss about anyway?
Two hours later and I was getting nowhere fast, one of the two bolts on the new pipe just didn't fit. I had been upside down, sideways, every which way, but I couldn't get the last bolt on, it just wouldn't go, and then when thought I’d take it out and start again it got completely stuck.
Kat knocked on the door, "Are you okay in there"
"Yes nearly done" I lied, hoping she wouldn't come in to see the truth.
I had been turning it one way and then the other for so long that I could no longer actually remember which way tightened, and which way undid it.
Luckily I could Google that answer on my phone and finish the job.
A soon as I pushed ok on google using the phrase 'how do I screw' I realised the error of my ways, I'm sure none of those websites that were returned in the search would help in this situation.
If I could just undo something else I would remember which way to unscrew and which way did it up again.
Kat opened the bathroom door to see me unscrewing the shower head. "What are you doing? I thought you were mending the toilet?"
"I am, I’m just checking this too"
"OK" She looked concerned "I’ll see you later, remember if you need to we can call out that plumber"
I fumed silently, I didn’t need to call out a plumber, I could do this, really I could fix this, as soon as I undid this bolt so I could start again.
Could I really do this? I thought about having to call out a plumber, and have that feeling of uselessness. Whenever a plumber, builder or tradesman came round I found myself trying sounding what I thought a tradesman would sound, to compensate for my lack of knowledge. I’d end up sounding a lot more cockney to try to sound more 'blokey'. Last time the window cleaner came round and asked about my guttering I shut the front door and realised I’d been doing some kind of rubbish Danny Dyer impression.
I just couldn't go through that again, I would finish this task.
Maybe if I got the big wrench on it and gave it one big turn it may work? I got it from the shed.
It turned slightly, so I gave it everything I had, SNAP.
"That didn't sound good." I thought
The new plastic pipe fell in half on the floor, that wasn't supposed to happen, but looking on the bright side at least it wasn't stuck anymore, I knew I'd have to go back to buy another one.
I did the long walk of shame back to Homebase, and saw the same cashier that had served me earlier, she looked confused like she'd just had Deja vu.
When I got back home Kat asked why the toilet was still broken and I was holding another new inlet pipe under my arm, when it was 'almost done' three hours ago..
"Erm, there were technical issues" I spluttered.
I had to go and have a cup of tea, just to have a rest for a moment before I tried again. Maybe I should watch a few more videos on YouTube of how it should be done.
Ten minutes later I prepared myself to start again, but it was done. In the time I’d had a cup of tea Kat had replaced the pipe and turned the water back on, she had finished the job where I had failed.
"It was just two bolts really" she started "and just think of the money we saved in plumbers fees"
"I think that first one was probably faulty" I said, although I know it wasn't.
Better start on fixing that shower head now I thought.