Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's Just A Guy Thing...

Idaho über-blogger Clayton Cramer frequently posts entertaining articles about his various projects, including work he's doing on his telescope. Now that I'm off work for a couple of weeks as I enter the last half of my radiation/chemo regimen, I figured that I might have time to post about some of my home repair efforts in the hopes of amusing my readers.

My oncologists are always asking if I'm having problems with my bowel movements; it turns out that this is one area where I continue to excel. This weekend, after making quite a substantial deposit in the First National Bank of Crap, I found that my toilet wouldn't flush properly; no matter how much plunging I did, or how many hot water/dishsoap solutions I poured into the bowl, I just couldn't get any water to drain; my handy snake just couldn't make it around the 180 degree turn in the internal water path. Being a good nuke, I did my research, determined the Probably Faulty Function (big ol' turd stuck in the furthest reaches of the drain line), and got my procedure in place. Eventually, I got to #11 on the list of immediate and supplemental casualty actions, and I realized it was more than a one-man job job to continue. It was time to remove the toilet and do the "reverse snake".

Being a submariner, I prepared my job site with care. I went to Home Depot and got a new wax ring with brass install kit ($5.97 plus tax -- significantly less than the $103 the plumbers wanted to come out with their super-whamodyne snake. Yes, my wife called; I think she was starting to doubt my home repair prowess.) I found some rubber gloves and a plastic sheet, pulled my Shop-Vac out of the corner of the garage, brought up my most trusted tools, and called my two strapping teenage boys to help their old man out. After I Shop-Vac'd out the remaining water and got everything unbolted, the boys pulled the toilet out, and when I ran the snake up from the underside of the toilet, it came back brown.

At this point I should digress and talk about how one's childhood experiences relate to our reactions to poop as we age. I grew up on a farm with cows, horse, pigs, chickens... you name it. I've dealt with crap -- literally. We used to dig up barnfuls of it and spread it on the alfalfa field. My kids, on the other hand, we mostly raised in the city (except for a couple of years in the wilds of Ledyard, CT, where we'd have deer wander though our yard). Their reaction to turdsign was somewhat disappointing to this old farmboy -- it makes me wish I'd exposed them to more animal poop when they were younger.

Anyway, at this point I decided that we'd best get the obstruction cleared if we took the toilet downstairs and out to the backyard, where I could use the hose to really get it cleaned out. The boys muscled it down the stairs (its odd shape, combined with my injunction against using the tank for support -- since it was only connected by two bolts to the bowl -- made moving it tougher.) The hose did it's job, as the boys gave me abuse for generating such a remarkable specimen. I was proud of my accomplishment, however; maybe it's just a "guy thing" that's gone out of style with the new generation.

The boys got the toilet upstairs, unaided by their old man; in fact, I was detrimental to the proceedings, since I made them laugh and have to put down the toilet by choosing to demand that "From now on, you will call me 'The Turdmaster' " as they were coming up the stairs. After installing the new brass bolts and positioning the new wax ring, the boys were able to lower the toilet into position in the cramped corner of the bathroom where it resides, and I did the final bolt tightening and water line hookup. The subsequent retests were SAT, and I left with the feeling of a Job Well Done.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


We had an ‘A’ Ganger back in the day who was a rather large dude. He also had a penchant for relieving rather large specimens. On one such occasion the specimen was so large that it wouldn't fit into the ball valve to be chopped up and shot to the san tank. Needless to say, MM1 Hankey was rather proud of himself, so he took a Polaroid and posted it for all to see. Of course, he also had to dice up his prize and send it to Davey Jones’ Locker - and I'd rather not know how he accomplished that task.

12/11/2008 3:26 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope you did a proper tag out after getting the QA procedure authorized? Was the task in the daily work plan?

That Damn Good Looking Aganger From Iowa

12/11/2008 4:06 PM

Blogger Nereus said...

Good to see you are in good enough health and spirit to exercise the basic functions for a true Submariner..
Engineering and Poo.. That's what it's all about.

12/11/2008 4:26 PM

Blogger Chap said...

Great to hear you're doing well enough to putter around!

Does this mean a new edition of the Tasteful Christmas Lawn Displays?

12/11/2008 5:56 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

We got pretty much everything up last weekend (the boys did all the work; I "supervised"), including the roof inflatable. Only thing we have new are a couple of huge "ornaments" (about 30" in diameter) hanging from one of the trees in the front yard.

12/11/2008 6:22 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

When are you planning to tell your strapping teenage sons that muscling the toliet fixture down the stairs and back is going to be their monthly PM? - COM-N

12/11/2008 6:31 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

...been a long time since I thought about the ball valve dragger club...

Sounds like your creation would have made the grade (-;


12/11/2008 6:33 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boat food has a tendency to produce some of the craziest looking

12/11/2008 9:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

All the best A-Gangers I served with would be proud of you...Hope this doesn't become a quarterly PM though...Keep up the battle, us fellow bubbleheads would expect nothing less...

12/11/2008 11:23 PM

Anonymous Mrs. Mills said...

Excellent work. You've got me giggling. You can check out my attempt to defeat a water leak in my kitchen drain over at my blog. I've been defeated; the professional arrives on Monday morning.

12/12/2008 12:19 AM

Anonymous Brent said...

Laugh out loud funny; who doesn't laugh at a good poo story.

Even a skimmer like me

12/12/2008 8:39 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

AS I recall, from my Poseidon Detergent Patrols, all the "deep draft" specimens had red racing stripes.

12/12/2008 9:03 AM

Blogger Buck said...

I myself have one of those fancy Flushmaster jet-powered loos. She Who Must Be Obeyed was none too fond of the, er, routine fishing out of, um, specimens. She welcomes the new regime!

Very funny story, and what is it with the new generation's fear of poo?

12/12/2008 9:16 AM

Blogger Gerry said...

Fantastic! Reminded me of the A gang on my first boat (before the kinder, gentler Navy). Whenever they'd dive the san tanks, they have me go get the polaroid (I was a ship's photographer) from the XO. The san diver would (among other things) try to find the largets brown trout they could and pose with it in the hatch for a picture.

Civilians just cannot relate to some of the things we did. Good times!

12/12/2008 10:31 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Now perhaps THAT post was a reason to stop blogging due to hulk-like chemo induced hormonal rampages!!
(I was much more offended than by the other one that worried you so much!!)

But, hey, we're submariners. So offensive is all relative, right?!?!


12/12/2008 11:12 AM

Blogger J120 Bowman said...

Very similar story, except my 3 year old stuffed the toliet with too much TP. I guess he wanted to be REALLY clean.

Except, we live on golf course! So when I hauled it outside to use the hose, I had some rather strange looks given to me. I felt like Cousin Eddie from "Christmas Vacation".

"Shitters full!"

Stand Proud Bubblehead!

12/12/2008 12:48 PM

Blogger Derek said...

I guess this a case where a flush beats a full house. Great Story ENG.

BTW, I retired on 21NOV and started at TVA Watts Bar 8DEC. Your relief on JC started about three weeks ago.

Derek Murray

12/12/2008 4:23 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

Congratulations on your retirement! Hopefully you'll find, like I did, that you have a lot more time at home -- even with the new job.

12/12/2008 4:52 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome to the wonderful world of civilian power. At long last nobody gives the sideburns a second glance.

Haven't laughed that hard in awhile.

12/12/2008 6:52 PM

Blogger Mike said...

Did you call the EFSM to verify your record?

(If you don't get the reference, go to and watch the episode "More Crap." I think you'll find it highly entertaining.)

12/13/2008 11:05 AM

Blogger wtfdnucsailor said...

Great story. My wife won't let me touch a plumbing problem since I shattered a toilet changing the seat some twentyfive years ago. God's speed on your CHEMO.

12/13/2008 11:38 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you had a good training and monitored maintenance program, you wouldn't produce such large specimens in the first place. ;)

12/14/2008 3:03 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great Story Bubblehead!

Glad to see that you're back in your old form. On ustafish, we'd call those beasts, "Dixons" - Big Turds!


12/15/2008 12:06 AM

Anonymous Subsunk said...


Where's your QA package? Who signed off on your work? Who were the QA inspectors, since obviously, your sons aren't qualified to know sh*t from shinola yet (no farm poop exposure? Deficient training on your part.)

And did you ACTUALLY put said equipment back in operational commission before the paperwork was done???? I ask you? What happened to your Quality Assurance standards, shipmate?

Hope you are at least feeling better anyway, Bubblehead. Press on, son. Things will always get worse before they get better. And you are on an uphill slope by now.


12/19/2008 11:32 AM


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