Well, it’s been another adventure in the School of Hard Knocks Handyman 101 course. My beastly toilet has been making noises ever since I moved in here to the Clampett residence (pre oil riches). One of my unofficial New Year’s resolutions was that I would get the rotten thing fixed, and so finally after Ace Hardware opened up a store nearby, I trotted off and bought a new flapper valve and installed it.
No dice. Instead of making noise every 3-4 minutes, now it began hissing every few seconds. Hiss, hiss, hiss. All day and all night, hiss, hiss, hiss. Did I mention that the bathroom is right next to my bedroom?
When I changed the flapper valve, I discovered that the water shutoff valve underneath the toilet doesn’t actually shut off the water to the toilet. Not that big a deal for changing a flapper valve, but to replace the other part, you HAVE to be able to shut off the water. Thus began the Hunt for the Water Shutoff Valve for the whole house.
It turned out to be right outside my back door on the porch, just an innocuous silver lever underneath the water hose. Never would have found it if a friend’s husband hadn’t helped. Sneaky place to put a water shutoff valve. Got to be a guy thing.
So, after a number of false starts, tonight I finally decided to take the bull by the horns and change out the other part of the toilet, you know, the thinga-ma-jingy. It looked so EASY in the instructions.
Now, let me explain to you the first complicating factor in the operation. Some months ago I had purchased one of those toilet bowl cleaner kits, consisting of tablets that you place in your tank to keep your toilet clean and make the water a sparkling blue. I failed to read the instructions, and upon opening it up I saw that there were two tablets, so I placed one into the toilet tank. I flushed and flushed, but the water never changed color.
Turns out the tablets were supposed to be used together. One was bleach, and the other was blue guck. I had placed the bleach tablet into the tank, where it promptly dissolved and did nothing whatsoever to keep the toilet clean. Later I realized my mistake and placed the blue tablet into the tank, where it sat and turned into a wad of blue guck, and still never turned the water blue — until NOW.
After I turned off the water and flushed the toilet, I proceeded to try to “mop out the remaining water from the tank with a sponge” but the sponge promptly became clogged with blue jelly. Finally I just placed a bowl underneath the valve and unscrewed it from the bottom of the tank. Big bowl of indigo blue water. Now’s where it gets tricky.
Some gorilla-pawed steroid-using oaf of a macho-man torqued that rotten thinga-ma-jingy down so tight into the water valve that although I got the one nut loose from the bottom of the tank — hence all the blue water in the bowl, I could not unscrew the thinga-ma-jingy from the main valve to get it out of the tank in order to replace it. And let me tell you, all the blue slime wasn’t helping matters. And with the water shut off to the house, I couldn’t even rinse my hands in the sink.
After some color-coordinated blue language and a roll of now blue paper towels, I realized I had better get some help before it got too late or we would be without water all night. I dried off my Smurf hands and headed back to Ace Hardware for some advice and a set of channel lock pliers, since my puny pliers just weren’t up to the task. Boy did they get a good laugh out of my colorful digits.
So, after a bit more grunting, cursing, and a little help from the kid holding a flashlight into the toilet (tight quarters), I finally got the bloody thing out. The rest was a piece of blueberry pie, and I was able to get the toilet back together and the water back on so I could at least start to wash the God-awful blue dye off my hands (good luck with that). Then I set to work cleaning up the bathroom, which looked like a crime scene at the Smurf Clubhouse.
It just makes me mad, though, because the installation instructions for the toilet thinga-ma-jingy clearly say not to tighten the plastic nuts down too tight or you can crack them. And yet some turd of a plumber probably deliberately did exactly that in order to ensure that some poor female tenant without all the right man-tools wouldn’t be able to fix her own toilet. Jerk!
I did it though, finally. My reward? The sound of silence.
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