I Am Woman, See Me Fix Toilet

Toilets have never been my favorite thing. If you look through my posts you will find quite a few that visit the toilet subject and I don’t mean they are crappy. I remember rather fondly the post How to dispose of a stiff with your teenage daughter.

Here is my latest adventure in the House of the Porcelain God.

Our toilet tank had a crack. I can’t say if it was because of manufacturer flaws or if it was because my son leans back against the tank too hard putting stress on the bolts that hold the tank.  Either way, it had a crack. We looked into getting a new tank but surprise, surprise, you have to buy the whole toilet. So like any good homeowner, I procrastinated and himmed and hawed.

Until it was too late.

My son was upset about Halloween. He wanted it to be right now and didn’t want to wait.He had gone to the bathroom and as he sat there trying to make an offering to the Porcelain God he became more and more upset about Halloween.  He began to cry and then to scream and then to sob all the while sitting on the toilet. Now remember he is autistic and this means sometimes he gets into a meltdown cycle and there isn’t a lot to be done.  Often at that point, I try to avoid giving him attention because it only increases the problem. Sometimes he will become calm on his own. But not this time.

Miscalculation on my part. Never let a child in meltdown stay on the toilet.

img_8523 img_8530He did not calm down. Then next thing I heard was gushing water. I thought he’d turned on the faucet or something. I rushed into the bathroom to find him sitting not on the toilet but on the side of the tub staring at the fountain of water bursting from the bottom of the tank.

Bath toys were pairing up and looking for Noah. The rugs were soak and there was a mini waterfall going down the heater vent. I splashed through the flood that was racing across the floor and turned off the water to the tank.

For the next couple of hours it was mops and towels and buckets in full force. Water had not only covered the bathroom floor, but it had also dripped through the floor and into the bathroom downstairs which is right below the upstairs bathroom. So, I had to clean up two bathrooms. The water in the vent headed south down the ducts to drip out at a junction in my basement right next to the furnace. Had to leave a bucket there to collect the drips all night.

Needless to say Momma was not happy.

Once it was all cleaned up and as dry as it could get, we moved on with bedtime. The next morning we headed off to Great Falls to find a toilet. Nothing like looking for a new toilet on a Sunday morning. Bought a whole new toilet and drafted my poor daughter to once again help. This time was more like Frankenstein bringing home body parts to fix the dead Porcelain God. Maybe I should have called this post “How to teach your daughter to resurrect the dead.”

img_8525Any way the box made it home and I img_8527took out the new tank, read the instructions about fifty times and then installed the new tank. I did a total redneck number behind the tank though. Got a Styrofoam chunk and wedged it between the wall and the tank then duct taped it in. Hopefully that will keep my son from banging into it and cracking this new one.

So far so good it hasn’t leaked…yet. I’m trying to be optimistic and believe that this will be the last time I have to mess with the toilet but then again I’m delusional sometimes.

One small accomplishment can make all the difference

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The handle used to flush the toilet broke. Just fell right off tinkling on the floor like happy little bells. The fact that we had just replaced most of the inner workings of the toilet only to have this break now was not amusing.
I just stood there staring at the little piece of the handle where it lay on the floor. It was one of those moments when so much has gone wrong already that another problem doesn’t even garner a reaction.
Finally I stooped down and picked the bit up and fiddled with it a bit until it was reattached. It wasn’t fixed. It was patched.
A week or so went by with various incidents of the handle falling off before I could get to the store to get a replacemt part. Almost everyone we know has been a victim of the handle falling off in that short space of time.
Then finally I got the piece to fix it. I had no idea what I was doing, but the package said “easy to install”.

They were right. A few seconds was all it took to unscrew the old piece and slide out the broken bit and slip the new one in and tighten it.

I fixed it. I felt powerful.

It wasn’t the difficulty of the repair that made me feel so empowered. It was the fact that I did it. I fixed something that was wrong. So many things have been going wrong and everything seems to be out of my control. But finally I had some control over something.
Sometimes it is the littlest thing that makes the most difference.