Saturday, July 25, 2009

Adding Insult To Injury? No, Adding Injury To Injury.

(I apologize in advance for any typos above and beyond the usual. My typing skills are likely to be a bit off, for reasons that you'll soon see.)
The toilet in my upstairs guest bathroom has been leaking for a while. This wasn't indicated by the presence of any pools of water or anything like that, but rather by the fact that, periodically throughout the day, I would here it running to refill the tank.
Quite some time back I put in a new flapper that I thought would take care of the problem. Not only did it not fix the problem, it caused a new one, in that the chain on the flapper would frequently get stuck and cause the flapper to not close, making the water run even longer.
The other day I flushed it and took the lid off and saw that the water level was actually dropping even with the flapper tightly closed and new water flowing in.
On Wednesday I thought about seeing if Scott was up for the task of replacing another toilet, but found that I wasn't up for it, so didn't bother (and Scott wouldn't have been anyway).
Thinking back to our plumbing misadventure, I realized that, if it hadn't been for the water supply that refused to be shut off and the lack of a long enough supply line, it really was a pretty straightforward process, and was something that I felt confident that I could handle on my own.
Obviously you know where this is heading.
So I bought a new toilet and had the foresight to buy a new supply line just in case the existing one, like the one on the downstairs toilet, proved too short.
As with the downstairs toilet, I couldn't get the water supply to actually shut off. So I decided that I would just work quickly while trying to catch the rapidly-flowing water in various containers.
There were three bolts connecting the tank to the bowl: one on either side and one in the back.
The nuts on the sides came off quickly. The one in the back? Not so much. There was only enough room to make less than a quarter turn before hitting the wall with the wrench. The socket I had was too shallow to reach the nut.
Eventually I remembered that I had another socket set out in the car, and found that it had one deep enough for me to actually use. Even so, it was slow going, and the water levels were rising.
So I decided I'd just detach the whole shooting match from the floor.
The bolts holding the bowl and base to the floor kept moving around as I tried to loosen the nuts, so eventually I decided that this problem was nothing that couldn't be solved with the judicious application of a hammer.
(This also provided an opportunity to vent some of my mounting frurstration.)
Naturally I ended up cutting my fingers on some of the broken shards of porcelain as I was cleaning them up, but minor scrapes and cuts were pretty much to be expected anyway.
With the old toilet out of the way I set to work putting in the new one. I set the bowl and wax ring in place and got to work on connecting the tank.
It was at that point that I dropped one of the bolts that connects the tank to the bowl into the hole at the back of the base. Attempting to fish it out pushed it further out of reach.
Motherfucker. All that frustration vented by smashing the old toilet? Back with a vengeance.
Meanwhile the water kept filling and overflowing the containers set out to catch it.
Faced with no other option, I pried the bowl loose from the floor, shook it around and got the bolt out, then made one more frustrated attempt with the channel locks to shut the water off completely, and actually managed to do so.
(Somewhere along the line, by the way, I discovered that the new supply line that I'd had the foresight to buy was too big to actually connect to the water supply, and the old one, while long enough to connect to the new tank, didn't fit on the tank's connection. For how I felt about this, see the comment above in which I mention a despoiler of mothers.)
I decided that it was time to call for help, so I went downstairs to give Scott a holler, but first I decided to make use of one of my still-functioning facilities.
Back when we replaced the downstairs toilet, I hadn't worried about the water on the floor, as the floor was ceramic tile on top of concrete.
Genius that I am, at no point did it ever occur to me that the floor upstairs wasn't made of the same materials. Ceramic tile, yes. Concrete underneath, no.
So the downstairs bathroom greeted me with the unhappy vision of water dripping from the drywall ceiling.
I called Scott to see if he was available to help get me out of the stupid mess I'd gotten myself into, but he was in the middle of some projects of his own.
It was while I was on the phone with him that I noticed that the Band-Aid I'd put on one of my cut fingers was a little too tight, as the tip of my finger had turned a brilliant shade of purple.
After I got off the phone I decided that I was going to see this through and head to Home Depot to pick up another supply line and another wax ring to replace the one that had been destroyed - and smeared all over the place - when I'd pulled the toilet up to get the bolt out.
It was then that The Universe decided to add insult injury to injury. When I walked out the door, my finger - the same finger that had been purple just minutes earlier - decided to follow me at a slightly more leisurely pace. It was particularly leisurely in comparison to the rate at which I closed the door.
Here's the result of that:

After attending to the latest wound, I angrily drove to Home Depot, angrily grabbed a properly-sized supply line, and angrily grabbed a wax ring, and angrily got in line, the whole time projecting waves of hostility that alerted other shoppers that if they did anything - anything - to irritate me I would totally lose my shit right then and there.
I came very close to doing so when the cashier walked away from her register without saying a word immediately after finishing up with the customer ahead of me. WTF????
Fortunately there was some front end supervisor or something who stepped in and rang me up, and so the shit-losing was averted.
Once I got home with the new supplies I was able to finish the job mostly without incident.
The new toilet works and appears to be water-tight, though I'm still feeling paranoid, and while the dripping has stopped downstairs and the floor is bone-dry in the upstairs bathroom, I'm not at all confident that I won't soon find that my upstairs bathroom has forcibly migrated to the downstairs bathroom.
So that's how I spent my Saturday afternoon and evening.
I don't think I can type much more, and honestly, I'm amazed that I was able to write up anything more coherent than FUUUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!

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