Commode Wrangling

Longtime readers of this blog will know at least two things about me.  First, I have a tendency to get stuck dealing with all things turd-related in my house.  Floaters, pluggers and just strange s*** included.  Second, I’m the least handy person ever born.  I can take a thirty minute project and turn it into a two day docudrama.  And of course there’s the fact that everything about my house is all kinds of effed up.  Okay, that’s three things.

Last week we discovered that the toilet in our basement bathroom was leaking.  The leak seemed to be emanating from one of the bolts that secures the tank to the seat so I thought I had an easy fix.  On Sunday I made my way over to Lowe’s and purchased a neat little $4 kit that includes the two 5/16" bolts and all the nuts, seals and washers needed to secure any standard tank to any standard bowl.  Ah, but what was I thinking?  Nothing in my house is freakin’ standard so when I get home and start to put the bolts in I find that the holes in the tank are probably a millimeter too small, which explains why the previous owner had used 1/4" bolts and then put a bunch of green putty around the holes to seal them.  Dumbass.

So I headed back to Lowe’s to see if I could put together my own little DIY kit that ended up costing me about $9.  When I got back home I quickly discovered that my DIY kit would have been just as crappy as the previous owner’s so I took my preferred tack on any such endeavor and just muscled the 5/16" bolts through the holes using the biggest screw driver I could find.  Once I got them through I proudly re-mounted the tank, hooked everything back up, flushed the toilet and watched a fountain of water spew from the main hole that connects the tank to the seat.  Apparently I’d upset some sort of delicate balance between the seat and the tank because no matter what I did to re-seat the tank it continued to spew forth water.

Since I’d already been told by my boss/wife that we’d soon be replacing the toilet when we put a new floor in that bathroom I decided that Easter Sunday was as good a day as any to replace it.  We had friends coming over for dinner so I thought I’d head over to the store afterwards.  Celeste and I headed out after our guests went home and of course Lowe’s and Home Depot were already closed.  Perfect. This morning I arose early and headed off again to the store and purchased our new single-piece toilet. (I wasn’t going to risk another bad hookup experience between tank and seat).  When I got home I removed the old toilet from it’s seat above the poop-pipe…always a pleasant experience… and started to unpack our new toilet.  That’s when I discovered its base was broken.  Much cussing ensued as I re-packed the toilet, loaded it back in the van and headed back to the store.

The folks at Lowe’s were very nice and predictably unsurprised at my tale of woe with the broken poop pot and they efficiently processed my return.  I grabbed the one remaining toilet of the model that I desired and prayed that it was intact.  You see it was the only single piece toilet that didn’t cost as much as a semester of college so if it was broken I was faced with another two-piece assembly that I just wasn’t up to.

Thankfully the unit was indeed intact so I headed home, unpacked the toilet, put the wax seal on the base and then tried to put it on the poop-hole while getting the floor bolts to go through the bolt holes.  That’s when one of the bolts fell through some sort of gap in the floor and disappeared.  Much cussing ensued.  I grabbed one of the old bolts and re-used it and, voila, I had a new toilet installed.  Time elapsed from first effort at repair to final solution, not including breaks: Roughly eight hours.  Trips to home improvement stores to complete task: Four.

If my life was a home-improvement show and it had one of those little "This will take you x hours to complete" graphics it would show two numbers; X would represent the number of hours it would take an average person and X to the 10th power would represent how long it would take me.

1 thought on “Commode Wrangling

  1. Fec

    Here I was worried you might be on death’s doorstep. We remodeled both bathrooms this year. I’ve made thousands of trips to Lowes and Home Depot.


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