The Head – A real crappy situation

The head – 3 days, 14 hours and hundreds of dollars later. Its wonderful when they work…and its a bitch when they don’t.

Luckily we have two heads on board. If one is broken or someone happens to put a bunch of toilet paper down it even when they were specifically instructed not to…we can resort to the other one.

We always give friends that come aboard “the talk” – it’s a talk that every boat owner must do before having “boat virgins” on board. There is one main rule NOTHING GOES DOWN EXCEPT YOUR OWN WAIST, that means no toilet paper – no NOTHING. In all fairness once the drinks start flowing the last thing your thinking about is where to put the T.P… I get it!

When we first moved aboard both the forward and aft heads did work, we just needed to clean the thru hulls so the water would flow and push the remains away. We always want to have at least one working head before beginning to work on the other one so we started with the forward and moved to the aft.

This is a shitty job…a really shitty job – all puns intended it just sucks!

The forward head just needed a new macerator, which seemed easy enough. Luckily we have my Uncle Jim that is a retired boat mechanic, he was nice enough to actually WANT to work on the head. Typically if you tell someone that you are working on the head they smile and nod their head, while inside secretly thinking “Glad its not me!” and “I would offer to help buuut…no” we were completely astonished but so very thankful for all of his help. Chris and Jim were able to get the forward head working smoothly so we now had water flow and a smooth moving toilet on board.

Which happened to be just in time because we went out cruising and the aft head backed up.

We have been dreading this job for awhile because when it backed up, it backed up pretty bad. We kept putting it off, every weekend we would continually find the excuse of it’s too nice outside to work in shit. Well it’s late winter and still 70+ degrees outside and we live in San Diego…we really don’t get bad days here so we just had to bite the bullet, put on some gloves and start playing in shit.

Chris learned a lot about the head from Jim and is pretty damn crafty himself in figuring out how things work. So we pulled that baby out, put her on the dock 🙂 and started taking her apart (the neighbor kids were completely grossed out). The macerator was completely gone literally nothing left – there’s problem #1! Chris continued to take apart the rest as I would run around getting him tools, cleaning parts that still worked and I got the lovely job of hosing down and chiseling out corrosion and uhh…such. It was a gross job, but I got that baby now flowing like the Niagara Falls. The kids were still running by now thinking that I’m crazy because I kept telling Chris to come look how fast it was flowing 🙂 Chris = unimpressed, Kids = grossed out, Me = laughing hysterically and so stoked!!! Chris then installed the new macerator and replaced the hoses. I had also suggested replacing them with white instead of the clear hoses that were previously on there to look more aesthetically pleasing (such a wife, I know I know).

We put everything back together and got her back in the boat…gave her a flush and…still clogged. WHAT?!? That means that the hose from the head that leads to the holding tank was clogged. There’s problem #2. UUUGGH! Back to West Marine we go. We measured how much hose we would need which was 15′. We bought the hose and also some other things because West Marine is like Target, you can’t leave without spending a minimum of $100.

We arrived back at the boat to a little note from our neighbors that read “Still want to go sailing? We will be leaving in 15-20 min.” We looked at each other both thinking…to sail or to play with poo…no brainer. We’re in! The pooper can wait!

After an awesome sail we came back and decided we should really get back to work. We talked about how we would get the hose out of the boat because we knew it was going to be a pretty dirty, smelly job. I grabbed tons of trash bags and even put one to the side just in case Chris or I ended up throwing up (luckily that didn’t happen). That horrendous smell will haunt us for life now, but its out, its done, and we don’t have to do it again. Chris began to install the replacement hose to find that it was 8″ too short!!! WTF! …We both said a few explicit words, then Chris headed back to West Marine. I went to the store to grab some food, wine and cheese because neighbors were coming over later and we have priorities 🙂

We reconvened and finished putting the hoses back together. Chris yelled up from below “OK, give her a flush”…and nothing…nope…nothing. UUGGHH! Really? Problem #3. A few more explicit words came out.

Frustrated and over it at this point we both went up to shower and got ready for our neighbors to come over. When I arrived back at the boat Chris had been tinkering with the wiring (as this toilet is electric and he’s not one to get that far and have nothing to show for it). Then he yells out “It works! We just blew a fuse! Give her try! Look how good she flows! F*** YOU! I win, I win! This boat is my bitch!”

I think the phrase “Happy as a pig in shit” really describes the finale in this situation.

Fast forward a couple of days Chris has asked multiple times if I have used that head yet…which I had not. Out of habit I just kept using the other one. He told me that he couldn’t wait for me to use it and kept mentioning to me how nice the “flow” was…

Now if this doesn’t bring a couple even closer together, I don’t what does!


Finished Product…and the only photo for this post. Trust me that’s all you want to see 🙂





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