June 14, 2005

So much to say, so little time.

K, where to start? Yesterday I was out becaue my daughter has been running a fever since Sunday. Although she seems in a little bit better spirits today, her temperature has only gone down about one degree and my husband took off today to take her to the doctor and stay home with her. Her throat is sore and her tonsils are swollen. According to the lady that watches her over the summer, strep is going around. Her son's baseball team was out about five players over the weekend because of strep. So, we'll see if that's the culprit in her case. Beyond that, I did something not so smart yesterday. I smashed my toilet to bits. Actually, I crushed my toilet to bits. It's a long, drawn out story that starts five years ago when we bought our house. So settle back for the long haul on this one.

Our upstairs toilet has been a chronic leaking pain in the ass since we bought our house in 2000. (Our house was built in 1949, so it's old.) The first thing we did was change the wax ring and that took care of the leak for a few months, then we had another wax ring put on (actually two because the plumber said he thought the problem was that since the flange was raised a little too much above the floor, compression from us sitting on the toilet was causing the wax ring to be squished out and flat from beneath the toilet, thus eliminating an effective barrier.) The two wax rings worked for a few months and then we saw leaking again. So we had the subfloor redone so that the flange would be more flush with the floor. At that time, we also bought a new toilet just in case the leaking was being caused by a crack in the stool that we couldn't detect. That seemed to work for about a year and then I noticed it was leaking once again. So I bought a new toilet because the previous one I'd bought was the cheap "kit" toilet where everything you need comes in a box for $79.00. I thought, OK, let's splurge on something a little bit nicer because I believe you do get what you pay for. So I bought a nice toilet and about a month later it starts leaking. I called in the plumbers and it would seem when the last wax ring was put in, it was put in upsidedown, so a good seal wasn't in place. They put in a new, mondo-ass, extra thick wax ring. That was last summer and a few days ago I discovered leakage anew from under the toilet. To say I am vexed by this little problem would be a massive understatement. I have concluded the flange (which is cast iron) must be cracked because in all of this it is only thing that has not been replaced/ repaired. However, before calling the plumbers again, I decided to take a gander at my Minor Home Repairs book to see if it might be something simpler. And I find, a-ha, check that all bolts are secure. So, I pull out my trusty rachet-wrench and start to tighten the floor bolts a bit. Before I go on, I should explain that I do know about the dangers of over-tightening a toilet to the floor bolts. I know that over-tighenting can cause the stool to crack. I now know that you don't really have to tighten all that much before the stool cracks, nay, shatters from the force. I also now know that before the porcelain bowl explodes, you're warned by a slight but ominous and almost musical, tinkling sound of splintering ceramic.

I guess I should consider myself lucky that more water didn't come spilling out. It was easily contained and wiped up. I guess I should consider myself lucky that I had just cleaned the toilet the day before so I wasn't mucking around in urine or fecal matter. I guess I should consider myself lucky that I only demolished the stool and that the tank is still completely servicable. However, I don't consider myself lucky at all. When I realized what I'd done, I reacted pretty normally. I muttered "shit" under my breath, cleaned the mess up as best I could and called my husband to tell him I broke the toilet. He said he now gets one free "get out of jail" card for future use. Anyway, since I'd ruined the toilet, I pulled it up to check out the wax ring and look at the flange. The wax ring did look unusually compressed to me, yet again, and I didn't see anything with the flange to indicate that's the problem. I'm going to Lowe's today after work to get a new stool (which, if you're counting, will be the fourth toilet in five years) and extra, super-duper wax ring and I'm going to put it all in today. And when I say I'm going to put it in, I mean I'm going to put it in. After five years of "professionals" having their way with it, I couldn't possibly do a worse job. Of course, I will use a gentle touch when tighetening the floor bolts this time. Hopefully, this will be the end of my leakage problems, but I seriously doubt it.

On the good side, staying home yesterday finally gave me time to paint my toenails.

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