Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Just when we start making major progress on our "planned" outdoor projects, something else requires our attention (and backbreaking labor).

This time it was toilets. Last week it was our toilet. The shutoff thingy broke, overflowed the tank, and would have flooded the bathroom, if I hadn't been standing right there. I temporarily fixed the problem with a bent wire hanger, until L could replace the works the following day.

Yesterday, it was Z's toilet. You know how DIY Network's, Ed the Plumber, says to replace the bolts on the toilet tank when they start to rust? He's right! This task was on our "roundtuit list". We thought it would wait until we were done with the outdoor projects. WRONG! One of the bolts, holding the tank to the bowl, snapped.

Z amazed me with his quick-thinking. He stuffed an ice cream pail under the leak, shoved towels around the toilet, and called me. I turned off the water while Z grabbed the shop vac. I sucked the remaining water out of the tank with the shop vac, while Z started mopping up...tragedy averted.

A quick inspection of the toilet revealed a couple of small cracks at the base of the toilet, so I opted for buying a new toilet. So I headed out to my home away from home, Menards. Let me tell you folks, TOILET IN A BOX is my new best friend! That's the actual name of the product. It comes complete, with everything you need to install a new toilet: flange bolts, washers, tank, tank bolts, tank seal, bowl, wax ring, seat...and here's the best part.... the mechanism is already installed in the tank!! This new toilet installed like a dream!

The hardest part was removing the rusted bolts in the base of the toilet. It took L and I until 11:30 last night, to finish the job. Working, while standing on your head, with 6 inches of clearance between the vanity on one side, and the tub on the other, is NOT FUN. Today I ache in places I didn't know I had!


At 8/08/2006 9:37 PM, Blogger Gardenia said...

The diagram was wonderful. I think I will try to print your blog today - ya just never know when you'll need something like this! Glad its a DONE job!

At 8/08/2006 11:23 PM, Blogger Nancy Drew said...

That is one swift Z-ster!!

Sorry for your aches and pains...any chance of getting in a good long soak?

At 8/09/2006 3:25 AM, Blogger Vest said...

Missing: The Dunny library rack & pencil for scribbling rude doggeral on walls, like "One would think with all this wit that Shakepeare had been here to sit....,etc and so on....

At 8/09/2006 9:38 AM, Blogger Notta Wallflower said...

Wow, I've never heard of that. I'm glad you guys were able to avoid flooding - what a pain!

At 8/09/2006 9:45 AM, Blogger European said...

What a pain! Working on toilets is bad enough (I don't care how clean they are!), but it's worse because of how tight the space is.
Glad you could avert major crisis in both cases!

At 8/09/2006 9:51 AM, Blogger Vancouver Voyeur said...

I humbly bow before you in awe, oh great DIYer! ;-) Plumbing is one of the areas I've never tackled. I'll have to remember that "toilet in a box." Do they also make "plumber in a box" and "electrician in a box?"

At 8/09/2006 2:58 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Diana, L saved that diagram a while back. I thought it fit our "theme" of the week.

ND, no chance. All I get time for lately, is a quick shower. :(

Vest, I always leave my book in the bathroom. Write on MY walls and I kick butt!

Notta, we were VERY lucky! I shudder to think of what would have happened if we hadn't been right there.

Euro, now we need to make time to change the tank bolts on OUR toilet. I hate to push my luck.

VV, when L and I were first married, he worked as a day manager at a hotel. With 85 rooms, he quickly learned how to fix toilets, faucets, and door knobs.
I wish I had OUR electrician in a box. Maybe I could get him HERE that way. :(

At 8/09/2006 4:02 PM, Blogger Wandering Coyote said...

I love that diagram! "Function Key", "Floppy Disk" - brilliant.

I'm doing this 20 Comments Wednesday thingy started by Candy Minx. You are #13.

At 8/09/2006 6:39 PM, Blogger Miranda said...

ACK! Toilet trouble is the worst! But seeing the diagram before reading anything else made me laugh. I didn't expect to come face to face with a toilet (not that the toilet has a face).

At 8/09/2006 7:39 PM, Blogger Squirl said...

Toilet troubles are really a drag. You must be so proud of Z, though, with his quick thinking.

At 8/09/2006 9:04 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

WC and Miranda, you two needed a laugh. ;)

Squirl, Z has done a LOT of maturing over the summer. We're extremely proud of him!

At 8/10/2006 12:14 AM, Blogger SME said...

I wonder if you can order Toilet in a Box from Amazon...

At 8/10/2006 6:55 AM, Blogger Laura said...

OMG: My college apartment had toilet problems once and thier handyman did everything he could do to make it worse. The best one: he didn't replace the wax ring, he put a new one on top of the old one. Every time you sat down, you swayed from side to side...

Sounds like fun! (not)

At 8/10/2006 2:39 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

SME, probably, but I wouldn't want to pay the shipping.

Laura, that must have been an exciting ride. :0
Scraping off the old wax ring was a bitch! That shit stuck to everything! We had to throw away the putty knife we used; you couldn't get the wax totally off.

At 8/10/2006 3:32 PM, Blogger Sadie Lou said...

Oh man--gross. I hate that weird, orange wax seal that goes around that hole in floor for the toilet. Just thinking about it makes me sick.

At 8/10/2006 4:18 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Sadie, it's only orange when it's new. For a whole new level of grossness, try scraping off the old one before you put in the new one. *shudder*
L scraped the old one off, but I had to clean up after L. There was wax residue on EVERYTHING he touched. 409 is my friend!!

At 8/10/2006 4:31 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

OK, SME, I just went to Amazon and they DO have Toilet in a Box. It is currently unavailable, so I don't know how much it is or what the shipping charges would be.
If interested, you can order it USED...EWWWWWW!! You can also sell yours...hmmm...I wonder if I could sell the old one?
There's also an option to add it to your bridal registry. Now THAT would be a very practical wedding gift. Sooner or later EVERYBODY needs a new toilet.

At 8/10/2006 5:42 PM, Anonymous loo boggs said...

Ah yes my friend you may not know it ...but shakespeare was a washroom poet.

At 8/10/2006 10:06 PM, Blogger Courtney said...

If Dan and I ever deciede to get married, I'm putting a used toilet from Amazon.com on my registry. Just to see. ;)

At 8/11/2006 10:18 AM, Blogger Great White Bear, said...

I have solved the need for a midget contorsionist when making emergency toilet repairs. I shut off the water to the house, disconect all the plumbing to the sink, and carry the vanity out to the kitchen.

hard as it may seem, it is actually faster to do that than to try to work with your toes hooked over the shower curtain bar!

I feel your pain

At 8/11/2006 2:20 PM, Blogger Sagepaper said...

Dad and I just did the toilet thing. We didn't replace ours, though. We got in on the last of the "old" toilets, as opposed to the new water savers. Our plumber said to take care of our toilets and NEVER replace them. He says he gets lots of calls on the new-fangled things, but that the older ones will last for decades, if you bother to keep maintaining them.

All we had to do was the tank bolts and the works inside. Even so, that was a chore with no good backs other than Dad's (age 66).

Z is on the ball, alright. I don't feel quite so congratulatory, though. He's a smart young man. I would expect he could swiftly and competently solve a problem like that. Sometimes, not knowing the right way to do something is a blessing. He creatively solved the problem, and helped in the aftermath, rather than delaying to figure out the proper way to handle the situation, if there is one.

Though extremely bright, Hubby is a helpless babe. He needs to know a procedure to handle a problem. Thinking on the fly and using what is handy aren't his strengths.

Nonetheless, he is far better at emergency medicine than most physicians. His focus on doing it by the numbers (rather than freaking at the blood, bones, and guts and becoming reactive to the situation) makes him the one you want. (Yes, doctors sometimes freak, though they mask it well.)

Hubby is not distracted by creative impulses, like trying to use the wrong instrument. God help a nurse, or even another present doctor, who doesn't place the right thing in his palm, right now.

At 8/11/2006 3:17 PM, Blogger SME said...

You're REALLY living up to your builder-beaver avatar lately!!

At 8/11/2006 4:45 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Courtney, hiya stranger! Be careful mentioning that idea HERE. Your smartass blogfriends just might pool their money and have that puppy shipped to Montana!

GWB, that's a great idea! It's kinda tough moving the tub into the kitchen though. ;)
Hey, ya wanna go in on Courtney's wedding gift?

Sage, you're right. Z SHOULD be able to handle this type of crisis. Until recently, he didn't have enough self-confindence to attempt handling a crisis on his own. He's come a LONG way in the last couple of months!
Your hubby sounds like mine. He has to think his way through a crisis BEFORE he reacts. I guess we balance each other out that way. ;)

SME, we haven't had ANY fun this summer! We DO have a huge feeling of accomplishment though. We'll rest on our laurels this winter.

At 8/11/2006 8:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

loo boggs.
Yes my friend this could be true cos Shakespeare had an asshole too

At 8/11/2006 8:08 PM, Anonymous loo boggs said...

for rest room poets when they die there is erected in the sky a fitting tribute to there wit ,,,'A Monument of solid S*^%#T !!

At 8/12/2006 10:02 PM, Blogger SME said...

A troll known falsely as loo
Had nothing of substance to do
So he jabbered a bit
To display all his "wit"
And now we just wish he would shoo.

At 8/13/2006 7:47 AM, Blogger tshsmom said...



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