It’ll Be Something to Look Back and Laugh About

IN — OH, SAY 100 years or so. Today, I mean. My day. It was teh suxor. Maybe I’ll be able to laugh later, but right now… sheesh!

So the toilet.

“Toilet?” you say. Ordinarily, Dolly’d be saying it, but she’s grounded, so you’ll just have to fill in.

“Yes,” I say back. “The toilet.”

See, part of what I wanted to accomplish this weekend was to fix the toilet in the upstairs half-bath. The flapper valve has forever kept pulling off its seat and failing thereonaccount. I figure at least part of it is the way the flush works. It’s a lever with a chain on the end. So you flip that lever and yank the chain, the flapper flops and water flushes. Yank on the chain enough and the flapper comes off in your hand. Metaphorically speaking.

(The guy from Fluidmaster was so cute. He proposed to me that I use this thing to fix the problem. He described it as “gluing onto the seat.” Yeah. Right. What he calls glue is a ring of denatured plumber’s putty. By “denatured,” I mean it’s not as sticky as the real thing. In fact, the stuff they use to stick on Donald Trump’s rug works better. And no matter how clean and dry and warm I get that seat, it won’t stick more than a year or so. And we’re back to a toilet that won’t flush. Or, rather, it will, but you gotta pour buckets of water in it to get it to.)

So I decided I was gonna try a new flush system. Well, it’s not new. It’s been around since the days of Thomas Crapper. But it’s been updated. It’s a push-button flush. They’ve rung the changes on it by making it a dual-mode thingy. You push one button for … well, number 1 … and a different one for … the other stuff. And the neat part about it from my point of view is there’s no chain yanking on the flapper, making it come off the seat.

Thing is, in order to mount it, you need to have this threaded tube go through the hole in the bottom of the tank, with all manner of washers and gaskets and stuff. Which is cool, because it’s a semi-permanent solution, so I only need to do it once.

And what is “it”?

I’d have to take the tank off the toilet.

Now, I’d investigated, and found that the tank was held on with wingnuts on long bolts. And they were corroded. And, of course, they’re under the back deck of the toilet bowl, which is backed up against the wall and into a corner and a tight spot, where I can neither see what I’m doing nor get a good angle on it hands and tool-wise.

I already knew all this, and I’d come to terms with it. Wasn’t looking forward to it, but it couldn’t really be called a surprise. I worked out a way so I could jam a pair of vise grips on the head of the bolt inside the tank and king kong on the wingnuts on the outside. A little Liquid Wrench and your mother’s brother is named Robert.

Only blew my morning. I got the nuts off with much weeping and wailing and cursing of toilet designers’ mothers. I got the tank off and cleaned both the back deck of the toilet and the bottom and back of the tank. Only got a little water on the floor. Bonus: I cleaned up the marble slab the toilet sits on of spilled cat litter. (Yay!)

And I hauled the tank into the study and clamped it onto a Workmate and made ready to mount the new flush valve, preparatory to mounting the dual flush thingy…

And here’s where you — standing in for Dolly (who’s grounded — remember?) — say, “The study!? Don’t you have a workshop?”

And I go: “In a thousand-square-foot shack? I don’t THINK so!”

…and discovered the flush valve wouldn’t fit. It’s got a 2 1/4″ outside diameter, whereas the opening in the bottom of the tank is 2″ INside diameter.

I seem to recall something in my physics class (or was it metaphysics) about two objects’ not being able to occupy the same space. That 1/8″ overlap in the two radii being the real ball-buster.

So we’re back to square one. Do we go back to the toupee-glue and flapper model? Do we get a newer tank that will accept all standard fittings, but will only flush with half or less of what it should waterwise? Or do we bite the bullet and just get a new toilet? A new flapper will cost about five bucks. A new commode will run us a couple hundred. (In this economy.) Or do I keep looking for somebody who makes (and sells) a 2″ OD flush valve?

::sigh::

I should have gone to work.

Anyway, I did manage to add enough verbage to the current scene in IDB to cross over the 70,000-word line, which means 5,000 words the weekend. Not on that score. I’m just thinking that, if the toilet thing hadn’t been a total disaster, I might have gotten a hell of a lot more done.

A hearty, heart-felt THANK YOU to all who wished me happy birthday in email, here at BTB and over on Facebook. (Which, for those of you who see this echoed on Facebook, is “over here,” but … to quote Toni’s parrot, “What. Everrr.”

Catch you on the flip side.

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