Sunday, January 28, 2007

The cautionary tale of the hand-towel holder

I am not the most handy of people in terms of fixing things.

I try though.

Halfway though last year the metal ringy thingy of the hand towel holder in our toilet just ... fell off the wall mounting. On closer inspection I saw that the actual screw thread was inside the wall mounted dealy - and that the ring connector had this infuriatingly square hole - meaning you couldn't just shove the ring connector back in and twist.

The wall mount would NOT come off either. It was fixed to the wall quite snugly.

"How the hell are you supposed to fix this without hacking it off the wall?" I asked myself. "There's no way! Who would make something THIS impractical ?" I mused.

For the next few months we had the hand towel on the windowsill. It would mock me, silently.

"Wow Seraph - you are REALLY useful around here. You can't get little'ole me to hang in my rightful place on the wall ..." and such.

Finally I could bear it's silent accusations no longer. I swore that by sunset that day - come hell or high water - the hand towel holder would be fixed. I'd show that freaking inanimate object a thing or two !

Looking at the wall mount more closely - I could see some sort of plastic housing around the screws holding it onto the wall. "Ah-HA! The PLASTIC is keeping this thing from coming lose ! The thread for the screw is OBVIOUSLY behind the fitting - all I need to do is cut the plastic !"

Out came the industrial craft-blade - and I attacked the plastic coating like some sort of demented axe-man.

A good half hour and two sliced fingers later ( left thumb, right index ) when I was sure I had cut though the plastic and the wall mount stayed implacably glued to the wall - I decided that drastic situations called for drastic measures. I would have to saw through the screws themselves.

I wrecked the first hacksaw trying to get it off - but the second larger one I used was more fit for the job - and a frustrating job it was, I had to precariously level the mount out as much as I could to wedge the hacksaw blade in the gap - and then use all the skills of a circus contortionist to perform the sawing motion in the enclosed space of the toilet. Many expletives were uttered with increasing fury.

But my patience was rewarded. Another half hour or so I had sliced though the screw, and the mounting fell to the tiled floor of the lav. Now the hole is the tiled wall were bunged up with screws without any kind of surface I could neatly grip onto with my pliers, and were quite securely fixed in the holes by what I could now see were expanding plastic screw housings. I tried for ten - fifteen minutes to grab and pull out the crippled crews with the feeble tools I had, but it was futile.

I trip to the hardware shop was executed - a pair of needle nose pliers, new screws and plastic expanding housings were purchased.

The new pliers worked - though is was still tricky in the enclosed space to pry them out. But out I got them.

Finally - the path to restoring the hand-towel holder was clear. All I had to do was figure out HOW to get the ring back on the mount. There was no screw-head at the back of the holder !! What was going on ? How the hell were you supposed to FIX this fecking thing ??!?

I turned the mount upside down.

There was a tiny screw there. Quite visible. It was obvious. You undid the screw - the outer housing came off the wall - you screwed the ring back on, and attached it back to the wall.

I had taken a good two and a half hours, spent $20, slashed up two of my fingers, and wrecked a perfectly good wall housing which I would have to reattach now - on a situation which should have taken me about 30 seconds to remedy.

I think you could have heard the screams of bitter rage from the south pole.

Still - I'll know what to do next time.

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