Getting a Head
16 December 2015
December 8, 2015
We have a new head! You can't possibly imagine how happy this makes me. Or maybe, you can. After all, if you're a boat owner, you have probably battled with your head on more than one occasion. And aren't these the stories we just love to tell?
Like the time Jay dissembled the plumbing to find a tampon blocking the passage. “Do you know how big those things get?” He asked, incredulously. “Really?” I replied. “A tampon?”
From the very first day of puberty, our mothers drum into our brains, “Never throw a tampon down the toilet.” Unfortunately, it seems, that many of us girls need to be reminded as most public restrooms have signs stating, DO NOT THROW TAMPONS DOWN THE TOILET!
Our personal favorite boat mantra is the phrase, “If you haven't eaten it, it doesn't go down the head.” And still, Jay finds a tampon.
Then there was the guy who dropped a load, a BIG load, and couldn't flush it down. Seeing the bowl start to overflow, he surrendered. He popped up through the companionway and into the cockpit. “Uh, Jay...? Could you come down here, please.”
I wasn't there for that one but Jay describes it as an unpleasant experience. A sour head combined with the heat and fumes of the engine. Mix in six foot seas and the result will challenge even the hardiest of stomachs.
In all fairness to the guy, it isn't easy to push what equates to an unripened avocado through a pathway the size of a quarter. Not to mention – because it is a boat and space is limited - our head is plumbed with a twelve foot hose that goes up (a vented loop, I think its called) before it goes down and then twists and turns several more times before heading to the holding tank or out to sea.
Jay likes to fix things. He doesn't throw things away. He fixes things. Not only do I admire this trait, but it is an absolute necessity on a boat. It is almost a guarantee, if it is going to break, it will break when we are out to sea. We can't call a plumber. Nor can we close the door and walk away. Or, in our case, use a different head. We have one. And it has to work. We can't tell our body, “Okay body, you have to wait. The head is broken.” No. This is when nature teaches us who is boss and it is not us.
Jay fixes things, yes. But I have assisted on occasion. I have even taken Holly Scott's “Troubleshooting the Head” class. But let's get real. Holly's joker valves are clean. It's not quite like being on the receiving end when a hose slips out of Jay's hand and crap, literally, spews out. But I must admit... I mean, really, can you blame me if I disappear when I hear swear words bellowing out from the bowels of the boat?
So, after discovering that the repair kit costs more than a new toilet, Jay finally succumbed and our 36 year-old head has been replaced. It is clean and white, not yellowed and corroded from years of age. And it doesn't smell! For now, it is fresh-water plumbed, which means no little critters have been sucked in from the sea only to die and rot in the corners of the tubes. And the best part...it was installed while we were out of the country! I am truly a happy boater.