Friday, May 24, 2013

A shower victory in Slovakia!

Some of you might remember my post from January in which I described in painstaking detail the hellishly uncomfortable and impractical set up of Slovak style showers, which force you to squat in a curtain-less tub like an ape and "shower" yourself with a handheld shower head. And in that post I mentioned that the situation in our bathroom was pretty dire. Even though we installed a shower curtain so that we at least wouldn't have to squat in the tub (and wouldn't have to worry about accidentally getting the bathroom wet), the hose was so short that we could only bring the shower head up to the level of our shoulders when standing up.

Well, last month our shower situation went from being less than ideal to totally soul crushing when our handheld shower head broke. But wait - that shouldn't be a problem, just buy a new one, right? Not exactly. In fact, finding a solution to this problem wound up being so devastatingly complicated that we had to resort to taking showers with nothing but the freakin' hose for two weeks.

We were forced to "shower" with nothing but this hose for two weeks.

You see, the shower head was attached to the end of the hose via this little connector joint, which, after years of use, had become fused or rusted onto the threads of the shower head. The thing was on there so tight that we assumed it was actually part of the handle of the shower head. When we took the shower head to a bathroom fixture shop, a guy there tried to pry it off and wound up breaking the plastic handle of the shower head right above where it was threaded into the connector joint. Thanks!

At any rate, for reasons that are too complicated to get into, without that connector joint, there was no way to thread a new shower head onto the end of this particular hose. And with the other end of the hose being totally inaccessible deep inside the rim of the bathtub (it's a stupid set up), we couldn't just swap the hose for a longer one with universal threads. We took that connector joint to a few different shops, all of whom, upon seeing the thing, immediately blurted out that they didn't have anything like it. No one even checked their stock to make sure - they just knew the second they saw it that they didn't have it, and they would shake their heads and look at us with pity. One person told us we'd have to find a machinist to fashion a new part for us. Another shop told us we'd have to tear out the entire bathtub faucet fixture and install a new one. If you're capable of some semblance of rational thought, you'll agree that these sound like pretty extreme solutions for what seemed to be a very simple problem.

When we spoke to our landlord about it, he put us in touch with a friendly and reliable plumber ("vodar" in Slovak) to try and fix the problem. While we were at it, we figured we might as well push our landlord into letting us install a shower head holder on the wall, and to get a longer hose, which would finally allow us to shower while standing up, like we're accustomed to doing. It apparently took the plumber an entire morning of running all over town to track down this elusive connector joint, but he finally managed to. He was then able to extend the hose and he installed a nice shower head mount. Problem solved. Words cannot describe how gloriously beautiful it feels to finally be able to take a normal shower!

We are both thoroughly overjoyed and we will never again take for granted something as basic and simple as being able to stand while showering!

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