Saturday, June 24, 2006

When Working On A Toilet

  1. To get water out of the tank, turn off the water supply underneath the tank, flush the toilet a couple of times, and then use a disposable diaper to absorb the remaining water in the tank. Just turn the diaper inside-out, lay it in the bottom of the tank, and then go eat lunch (or play a level of Star Wars: Battlefront). When you get back, all the water should be absorbed. Throw the diaper away.
  2. Buy two wax rings. If you buy one, you will mess up and need a second one. If you buy two, nothing at all will go wrong (with re-seating the bowl, that is) and you will only need one. In either case, you'll be going back to Home Depot. (Every home improvement project in the history of mankind has required at least two trips to Home Depot; it's a natural law by now.) But if you buy one wax ring you'll be going back mad and having to spend more money; if you buy two you'll be going back with your task completed and someone will hand you cash at the end of your visit.
  3. Do not unscrew the bolts holding the tank to the bowl unless it is absolutely necessary to remove the tank from the bowl. For example, don't unscrew 30-year old tank bolts just out of habit. It will leak, because the bolts will never go back in place the exact same way.
  4. If you're at Home Depot, and the possibility of toilet work looms on the near horizon (say, in the next 5 years), buy tank bolts. Because you might, out of habit, unscrew the old ones. As a matter of fact, keep a spare set of tank bolts in a drawer somewhere. I do.
  5. Remember where you put your spare set of tank bolts.
  6. Do not try to work on tank bolts while there is water in the tank. Unless you like lots and lots of water all over the bathroom floor. If that's the case, have at it.
  7. Do not use the good towels when working on the toilet. Remember the towels you picked out before your wedding? The ones where your bride-to-be looked at you strangely and then said, "Sure honey"? Use those, if you can find them.
  8. Remember where you bought the good towels. You know, just in case.
  9. Do not over-tighten anything. As my Dad always says, "Hand tight, then a quarter turn. More plumbing leaks are caused by over-tightening than by under-tightening." If you over-tighten, you run the risk of cracking and destroying your vintage, 1975, hi-flow toilet, and you'll have to shell out a couple of hundred bucks for a crappy, new, Al Gore Special that, frankly, can't handle the load.

Ok. Now to get to work on the disposer.


At 2:12 PM, Blogger 4BoyDad said...

No, I did not crack the toilet.

At 11:06 AM, Anonymous D Hannah said...

The first week we moved into our old house we ended up hosting a missionary from our church's missions conference. We figured he was a missionary, so he wouldn't mind sleeping amongst the boxes piled in the "guest room"-by comparrison, perhaps this still beat Africa. We were given a bed for that room the day we picked him up from the airport, cutting it a bit close for assembly. That same weekend, my husband's best friend from high school and his wife visited from out of town. The toilet, in keeping with the chaos, promptly plugged. We showed great hospitality to our guests. We let them fix the toilet with my husband. In keeping with the stereo type, the missionary was the one who knew how to fix the thing. Since we want to be missionaries too, we decided to let our toilets break consistently over the next 7 or so years of home ownership, just to learn a few things so we someday could be like him, the "Mr. Has to Know How to Fix Everything in Order to Live in the Outback Wilderness." Of course we are moving to Canada and France. But maybe the things we learned will come in handy anyway. Your insight and wisdom was appreciated by my husband. My father, like yours, had given us the same encouragement. Important knowledge from that generation to be heeded, no?


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