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"I remain an apprentice in this life …"

Somebody wiped the slate clean overnight. Whatever had backed up and accumulated over the last week simply disappeared. By the end of this week, another clog will have appeared, detritus remaining from the fresh aspirations coloring this sunrise and the few to follow. For one moment, I feel as though I've caught up. I leave The Villa refreshed. On the drive down to the lab, The Muse muses over the clog before her. Everything coming due at exactly the same time. No time in reserve for her upcoming week. It's spent before it's lent.

I've got my circuit. Gas up the car. Stop at the hardware store for parts to fix The Muse's leaky toilet. Pick up that special roast the coffee shop agreed to make up for me.
I try to write while waiting for their grinder to finish but find my inspiration lagging. I just want to flee back home. Once there, I circle the toilet, trying for the life of me to remember the trick to fixing that leak. I take off the tank top, drain the water, and stuff two small towels in there to absorb the remainder. I let those sit, tank open, while I re-circle the job. I almost remember doing this before but I can't quite recall how I messed it up the first time that time. By the second time, I remember having figured it out. Maybe I can get it right the first time this time.

The hardware clerk assured me that the kit he sold me would fit every toilet model, a true one-size-fits-all. I'm skeptical since I usually find that I'm working on the one size that nothing really fits. I'm open to it being different this time. By the end of the requisite hour of procrastination, those two towels have indeed absorbed all the remaining tank water. I fetch the tools and crawl in beside the bowl, struggling to find a purchase with my trusty vice grips. The disassembly comes easy. Reassembly not really harder. I realize that I might have found a use for one of those open-ended wrenches I only very rarely ever find a use for. I take one of the nuts down to the garage to see which wrench fits.

The tank seems to sit impossibly too high before I start cranking down the securing nuts. Tiny quarter turns are all the space allows. A dozen cranks on one side, a dozen on the other, then back to the first bolt for a few more, then finally finishing until I can't turn even a quarter turn more. The tank balances curiously until I refill it with water and replace the lid. Then the whole assembly seems about as stabile as it was before I took it apart. I check for leaks. I can't feel any. I'll watch this thing closely over the next couple of days. It might be that I've reassembled it correctly the first time. This might be the first time.

I've left black smudges everywhere but they clean up easily enough. I cart the sopping towels down to the washer, throw in a few shop towels from the garage, and set those to washing. I replace the tools before scrubbing down my smudgy hands, careful to wipe the sink clean, too, and brush my nails. I smell like Lava® soap. Rose The Skittish Spinster Cat must have crawled off somewhere private to hibernate this morning. I'm all alone.

To earn a handyman notch on my work belt before lunchtime on Monday seems like a significant precedent, almost previously unprecedented. The universe seems little impressed. I promise myself not to let this one outlier go to my head. By the end of this week, my accumulated procrastinations will have produced another backlog heading into the weekend. I remain an apprentice in this life, a rookie purveyor. I pick at my responsibilities, hoping to reason myself through. Sometimes this strategy works.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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