Y’all long time readers of UADN will recall my commentary about Wellman Type 1 experiences.
A couple of weeks ago I had another.
The master bathroom in our house is not a bathroom at all (at least according to strict real estate agent definitions). Technically the master bath is a “powder room” but since I hate the term and it’s me doing the writing I’ll call it a lavatory (a likewise unappealing term with its hints of air travel, but at least not frou frou and *pink*).
Anyway. The teeny little WC in the master bedroom is about 4 feet by 6. This is really a small space. There is a toilet. There is a sink. There wasn’t even a medicine cabinet until we moved in and mounted one on the wall, but since there is one now there is an equivalent amount *less* space for one to maneuver.
And the toilet was old. Like probably late ’80s old. And the fucker didn’t flush worth a damn. Water consumption aside, I’d have kept the bloody thing regardless of the increased water consumption as compared to more modern toilets if it had actually worked, the main purpose of a toilet is. To. FLUSH!! Over the last 2-3 years I’ve probably flushed that damnable piece of equipment about three times as much as it needed to be flushed just to get it to do it’s job. It was, as you can understand, FRUSTRATING!
So in April when we had the Nice Ukranian Plumber out to look at the hose bib I asked him to take a look at the devil toilet too. NUP poked at its innards, flushed it and said “Whoa! That is a WEAK flush!” He then proceeded to tell me that the little holes around the under side of the rim where the water comes out when you flush had, over the years, gotten gunked up with mineral scale and that the only real practical way to address the problem was to replace the toilet. NUP is a good guy, he told me exactly which toilet to purchase to fit in the teeny little space, then quoted $500-700 for the toilet plus the labor to replace it. I thanked him and he went on his way to fiddle with the hose bib.
But inside my head I was thinking…. “$500-700! That’s INSANE! I know I can get the toilet for a couple hundred at the most and *I* can replace a toilet! It’s not that difficult! You unbolt things, replace the wax ring, bolt everything back into place and you’re done!”
(Do y’all see the foreshadowing?)
A couple of weeks ago I’d finally had enough of the toilet. Our water bills have been horrendous (okay, we’ve got a garden and a hot tub, but at least *some* of the outrageous water bill was that fucking toilet), the damn thing was taking more and more flushes to do the same bloody job, THAT’S IT!!
So we got the toilet from an unnamed big box hardware store that delivers (very important) and a new wax ring.
And one lovely Sunday afternoon I announced that I was going to replace the fucking toilet.
First and foremost I didn’t realize that I was the _only_ one of the two of us who could replace that fucking toilet. The room is approximately 4 feet by 6. Take away about 2 feet of the 6 foot length for the sink and the cabinet underneath and you’ve got about 4 x 4 feet. Take away 18 inches from the 4 foot width for the footprint of the toilet and you’ve got what, a little under 3 feet? And into this 2 1/2 foot by 4 foot space one of us was about to have to fold themselves to disassemble, remove, and replace a large, slippery, WET object with no convenient handles. Even with the best will in the world, a lot of Vaseline, and a 6 foot shoehorn there is no way that Andrew could have done the job. He couldn’t even come in to help!
Secondly, I didn’t remember that the most basic rule of any big do it yourself home project is that however well you think you’ve prepared for it, there is always, ALWAYS something that you don’t have which will necessitate at least one mid-project trip to the hardware store to fetch.
It went about as well as you could imagine.
I remembered to turn off the water then realized I was going to have to fold myself into an origami crane to get at the bolts on the seat and the tank. Once I’d gotten the seat and the tank removed (with the help of power tools and rather a lot of Language since the bolts had been stripped over the years) I discovered that the only way I could get to the bolts that hold the bowl to the floor was to lie on the floor on my side with my legs either pointed out the door or resting on the edge of the sink depending on which side I was working on. Further Language managed to get the bowl removed, I’m proud of the fact that I didn’t blorp a whole bunch of toilet water all over any of the floors, the old wax ring replaced, the new bowl placed and bolted down.
Success! Half a toilet! The hard part is over! (foreshadowing foreshadowing foreshadowing)
Additional Language was required to get the tank bolted down, but bolted it was before I realized that the old water line, which was a solid steel tube not one of those convenient flexible hoses, wouldn’t reach the new tank. I had to take the tank off so I could get the old water line off (little teeny space, remember?) so I took the damn thing off and removed the old water line.
Then I took my first trip to the hardware store. Dunn Lumber is just down the street so, without bothering to change from my grubby work clothes, I ran down to Dunn Lumber, went into their plumbing aisle and grabbed the first flexible steel water line that was the appropriate length, got some amused sympathy from the counter drone, and came back home.
I attached the new water line to the water source then put the tank back on. Folding myself into an origami crane again I lay down on my side to attach the water line to the tank only to discover that the female end of the water line didn’t fit the male attachment on the tank.
I believe my exact words were something along the lines of “WHO IN THE NAME OF ALMIGHTY *FUCK* DECIDED THAT THERE NEEDED TO BE MULTIPLE DIFFERENT DIAMETER WATER LINES FOR A FUCKING TOILET?!”
So I detached the water line from the wall (fortunately that nice, convenient, FLEXIBLE modern water line kept me from having to un-bolt the tank again) and went back to Dunn Lumber.
They were closed.
I don’t know enough Language to be able to properly express my feelings about the fact that Dunn Lumber was closed. Thank Zarquon that our local ACE was still open.
Got the new water line, attached same to wall and to the toilet tank, turned on the water (nothing leaked), flushed the toilet and all was good. Great. We now have a functional toilet in the WC (a much better term I think) in our bedroom.
The whole process took 7 hours, three trips to two different hardware stores, $75 to my massage therapist to work out the freaky ass muscle spasms engendered by having to lie on my side and work a ratchet wrench and more frustration than my current vocabulary can express.
I now know _why_ the Nice Ukranian Plumber wanted $500-700 dollars to do it.
When I was very young my father replaced a toilet in one of the bathrooms in the house I grew up in. I don’t remember much of the process except that when he was done Dad took the old toilet and chucked it over the railing of the second floor balcony to smash into a zillion pieces on the driveway. It was awesome! The part that I, of course, hadn’t remembered is that once he was done chucking the old toilet over the railing Dad stamped back into the house (thoroughly uncharacteristic for the Pater familias. My father is not one to stamp.) and told my mother that the reason he’d gone to college for 12 years was so that he wouldn’t have to do plumbing.
The man has a point. The reason I went to college for 8 years was so that I wouldn’t have to do plumbing. And now *I* know that too.
The next time I’m going to pay the Nice Ukranian Plumber his $700.