Thursday, September 04, 2014

Removing the lid...

I have an irrational fear of toilet tanks.  Growing up in Texas, I visited many a gas station bathroom, because if you want to go anywhere in Texas, you will be on the road for eons.  I am not sure if this is still the case (since I avoid gas station bathrooms at all costs), but back then it was not uncommon to walk into a gas station bathroom—that single room with a dirty floor, dirty toilet, dirty sink, and a dearth of paper products—to find a toilet missing the lid from the tank.  I think, maybe, my toilet tank fear might verge on the edge of phobia.  I am even afraid of (and loathe) removing the lid from my own toilet tanks.

The other day, I realized that the noise I was hearing from the GREEN chair was water running.  Or, more specifically, I realized that the noise I was hearing from the GREEN chair was the toilet in the half bath running.  SIGH.

I very much wanted to ignore the issue, except that visions of massive water bills flooded my mind.  I was also perturbed, because early on in my living here, I found the basement toilet running.  At that time, I adjusted the screw to lower the ball so as to stop the rise of the water at about 1/4th of an inch from the overflow pipe.  Once I got the toilet back to working order, I promptly visited the other two toilets in my house, girded my loins, removed the tank, and adjusted them to the same conservative level.  So, in my mind, that half bath toilet had no excuse for running.  After all, it is just three years old.  The flange should be fine.  Thus, the two points of failure, two points of water loss, should be in perfect working order.

It took some time for me to gird my loins, but I finally managed to lift the lid and study the problem.  After about 20 minutes of being very puzzled and inordinately annoyed, I finally realized that, for some reason, the toilet lever arm that holds the change that lifts the flange had somehow shifted to rest atop the arm that holds the ball.  Thus, the lever was preventing the ball from rising enough to stop the flow of water.  In a fit of pique and in the flash of an eye, I promptly reached into the water and bent the lever arm.  Luckily, I neither broke it or put it at the wrong angle in my irritated haste.  The toilet running problem was solved.  And, in my mind, I was never going to open the lid of a toilet tank again.  After all, I plan on being dead before any more toilet maintenance is needed in my home.  Plus, I upgraded the levers on all my toilets a couple of years ago, once I discovered they were flimsy plastic things.

Well, my sister is having a problem with her toilet running.  Folk advised her to adjust her screws.  She couldn't find them.  Shuddering, I went and took a photo of my tank so that she could have a visual reference as I coached her over the phone.

To her credit, instead of losing it with even greater frustration, she texted me a photo of her toilet.

Uhm ... where are her screws???

She has a leak from the wax ring,  Her floor is not quite level and when the leak from the wax ring was repaired just a few years ago, the guy should have used a second ring to build up the wax on the low side, as did the man who repaired my leaking wax ring in the main bath nearly four years ago.  Since the sub floor and tiles are damaged once again, her toilet is currently pulled and sitting in the middle of the floor awaiting a decision on doing the quickie fix to the floor yet again or pulling up the improperly laid tile, replacing the sub floor, putting down hardy backer, and laying new tile.  Either way has merits.  Money on a repair that will ultimately need to be addressed (and paid for again) later, but resulting in an immediate fix and a return of visual rest and peace.  Or more money on a permeant repair that will result in several days of chaos and greater visual distress.

No matter the decision she makes, after seeing the innards of her toilet tank (may I never have to look upon them again), I suggested she go to Lowe's and buy a replacement kit and kindly ask the contractor to install it before re-setting her toilet and filling the tank back up.

Why must I be cursed with knowledge of toilet tanks that others need?
Why must there be scary, terrifying, horrifying, tripe-wrenching toilet tanks in the first place?

Please, if you care about me, do not ask me to consult on your toilet tank issues.

In my mind, toilet tank trauma requires special therapy.  Therapy such as Frog and Toad Together: The Garden.  Oh, how I adore the song Toad sings at 2:03!!

  • What are the different ways Toad seeks to comfort his seeds from their "fear" before they finally start to grow?  
  • What comforts you when you are afraid??


Becky said...

You did it! You girded your loins and helped.

Myrtle said...

Yep! But never again! [Hopefully]