Much of the despair that comes with my deteriorated physical condition stems from the fact that ordinary household and personal tasks have been made much more difficult, if not completely impossible. An example of the latter: there's a ceiling fixture in the living room that's demanded a new bulb for the last four months. It hasn't gotten one, because I can't climb a single rung on the stepladder to reach it.

Getting dressed under these conditions is an adventure I recommend to absolutely no one. It's about four minutes per sock, and it requires the foot in question to be at a height it's never been before. Another minute and a half for the shoe, which wants to scamper away from me. It's winter, so occasionally I need a jacket; I have one, and it fits admirably, but I can barely reach up far enough to get that second arm into place. I consider this a solid argument for a bathrobe, or for nothing at all. Neither of these options are suitable for work.

Reach, or lack thereof, gave me grief earlier in the week. The mirror/medicine-cabinet hybrid over the bathroom sink is fitted with three light fixtures, each of which takes a standard-base 40-watt globe. You lose one of these, you lose a third of your illumination, and inasmuch as there are about a dozen prescriptions behind the glass, I can't afford the luxury of (relative) darkness. I lost one of those, and it was a long and briefly painful stretch to replace it. At least it wasn't on the ceiling.

Neither is the toilet, for good and sensible reasons, but if you ask me, it might as well be. I have no idea how old the wooden seat was: it's been here as long as I have, which means a minimum of thirteen years, but it seems unlikely to have been the only seat ever fitted to this particular bowl, which, says the plumber, dates back to 1974. Finding a replacement seat that would fit seemed easy enough: pick round or not so round, and that's it, right? Weirdly, about half the seats offered by Amazon last week seemed to require four to six weeks to become available, and it wasn't like they were fashioned from rare and precious Unobtainium — not at twenty bucks, anyway. I ordered a wooden seat, round, with what purported to be easier connections.

And regretted it almost immediately upon getting it out of the box. Contents: one seat, two bolts, two nuts. I quickly noticed the utter absence of anything like an instruction sheet. Blame the Chinese? Um, no. It said right on the box, "Hecho en EE.UU."

There was a YouTube video at the first Bing link. It ran two minutes and a fraction. I had to watch it twice. And even then, there were issues: the nuts held by that pleasant young woman resembled in no way the nuts included in the package. And how the hell does the bolt attach to the seat? I expected I might run into some issues, inasmuch as the previous seat installation had to accommodate the "temporary" grab rails that will probably outlive me. But it took me 42 minutes to complete the install, and I'm not convinced I did it perfectly. Think about that for a moment. Forty-two goddamn minutes to install a freaking toilet seat! I'd bet any of the grandchildren, except for the three-year-old, can beat my time without even trying hard. I could have avoided this, I suppose, by installing one of those New Shiny Bowls that use about half as much water, assuming you don't have to flush it twice, as you do with the ones at work. Besides, the price the aforementioned plumber quoted me for a New Shiny Bowl with Exquisite Seating is right around what I pay for 1/360th of the mortgage.

And this, in a nutshell, is why I so often complain about how I hate my life. I can think of nothing worse than being utterly helpless, and while I'm not there yet, I can't see any alternate destination up ahead. There are times I'm tempted to flush my whole existence — although not, I should note, while sitting.

The Vent

  15 February 2017

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