I hate to be a know-it-all but I occasionally like to pass along some valuable information and/or advice as a kind of helpful service to other folks who maybe facing similar challenges. Like the time not so long ago when I shared how to change out a ceiling fire alarm smoke detector thingy. OK, I’ll admit that ended in a bit of a disaster that may or may not have involved electrocution and a subsequent loss of electrical power to the entire house for a surprisingly long duration, so my follow-up bit of helpful advice is to avoid anything with wires. Especially the kind with electricity in them.
But today, let me ask you a question. Do you have a trickling commode? (Doesn’t everybody?) If you do, and you probably do, you’ve come to the right place.
We have a three big white bowls in the house (not all in the same room) and the one in the tiny ensuite was constantly gurgling and twiddling and ghost-flushing on its own, driving us nuts until it was either hire an average plumber with an hourly rate larger than a top criminal lawyer or talk the Better Half into fixing it. I finally decided (with the B.H.’s “encouragement”) to go with the third option: DIY.
Now, DIY can either stand for “Do It Yourself” or “Dumb Idea You Moron” but the fourth option was smash it to bits with a large hammer so the other day I found myself at the local hardware store where I purchased something called a “Compete Toilet Tank Repair Kit.” So far so good.
Step One: Using a razor knife, pliers, acetylene blow torch and a 24 inch crowbar, open the repair kit molded plastic package. Elapsed time: 45 minutes.
Step Two: Remove the toilet tank lid, peer in. Flush. Watch events occur in tank. Scratch head quizzically.
Three: Crawl onto sore knees and loosen plastic nut at bottom of tank. Watch water pour out onto floor.
Four: Shut off main water valve on the floor at the other end of the silver hose. Clean up flood. Time: 22 minutes.
Five: Read instructions. Empty water from tank, then remove several tall plastic bits from the tank. Crawl around on wet floor in small room, lay with feet in open shower door to remove two long rusty bolts from bottom of tank. Time: 38 minutes.
Six: Attempt to stand up. When eventually successful, apply ointment to sore knees. Fourteen minutes.
Seven: Lift heavy tank off bowl. Place horizontally on sink. Grunt and swear under breath. Clean up flood. Follow directions more or less and replace some tall plastic bits. Wrangle heavy, awkward tank back into position. Kneel (eight minutes) and thrash around on floor. Bolt tank in place, hook up various hoses. Wipe sweat from brow, attempt to stand up. Reach for acetaminophen. Time: 2.5 hours.
Eight: Place final large plastic tubular flush thingy into tank. Attempt to attach. Notice it does not fit. Repeat. Notice it fits even less than before. Repeat. Notice tank is leaking water onto floor. Resist smashing toilet into tiny bits with large hammer.
Nine: Clean up flood. Limp all… the… way… down to the dungeon office. Open YouTube Toilet Channel. Confirm it is, in fact, the completely wrong Toilet Repair Kit.
Ten: Turn out bathroom light and close door on scattered tools, wet towels, piles of plastic plumbing paraphernalia, and a dead toilet. Get adult beverage. Turn on TV. Resist screaming.
Next week: Part two.
Harley Hay is a Red Deer author and filmmaker. Send him a column idea at firstname.lastname@example.org.