I grew up in a family that is very skilled with their hands. My dad is a carpenter in his spare time. He built so many things for my family, including my new farmhouse dining table. My brother is a genius when it comes to putting things together. If it’s broke, he will fix it. He’s assembled engines on many cars, ATVs, Jet Skis. You name it, he will fix it. My mom is an amazing gardener and creates the most gorgeous landscapes. So perhaps it’s no surprise that fixing things and putting things together is actually therapeutic for me. For the many that run away from IKEA because of the thousands of pieces the furniture comes in, I am running towards it because I love it. Tangled necklace? I’ll spend hours trying to take it apart.
Last week I arrived home from my trip to Washington D.C. to find that the plumber was on his way to our house because the downstairs toilet was leaking. I asked MacKay if he’d done any research on what might be wrong with the toilet, but he had been so busy with work and the kids while I was gone that he hadn’t had the chance.
My first instinct was to go into the bathroom, check where the leak was, research on what might be wrong, and then fix the problem. I didn’t think we needed to call the plumber unless there was a major issue. A leaking toilet was no major issue in my book.
It only took a few minutes of research to find out that the problem was most likely the wax ring around the toilet. While it wasn’t the quickest fix, it looked pretty easy and inexpensive. Definitely something that didn’t require a plumber. Thankfully, the plumber never showed, so I took full advantage and ran to our local hardware store to grab the necessary supplies. I spoke with my dad just to be sure the plan before actually taking anything apart.
I was actually surprised there’s not too much to a toilet. Only a couple of pieces secure the toilet to the ground and I thought I’d had it under control.
I took the toilet off of the ground, replaced the wax ring around the pipe and secured the toilet back on. As I put it back on and tested it out again, I noticed that there was water leaking from the tank up above. I hadn’t realized that there were two places water was leaking from. After looking inside the tank, I noticed that the washers protecting the screw were gone and needed to be replaced in order for it to stop leaking.
Thankfully that looked like an easy fix as well. But that wasn’t as easy as I’d thought it would be. You see, this toilet is a bit older. I’m not sure quite how old, but it’s old. All of the screws and bolts are rusty and stuck together. That makes taking them off of the toilet very difficult.
I probably spent two hours just trying to get the screws off so I could put the washers on. I wasn’t the happiest person in the world, but I was now so determined to fix this toilet, I’d spend five more hours if I had to.
Once I finally got the screws off and the washers on, I began to assemble the toilet back together. One warning I didn’t read in my research was that you don’t ever want to screw the bolts too tight. As I was on my last bolt and nearly ready to put the toilet back in its spot in the bathroom, the toilet broke. I’d screwed the bolt on one side too tight and it cracked. Leaving the toilet no longer usable.
Those five hours that I’d spent fixing this leak on the toilet? Useless.
I was so upset at myself, but now more determined than ever to have a working toilet in my bathroom. MacKay suggested that I just give in and call the plumber, but there was no way that after all of this time and after all of the research on toilets, that I’d go and call a plumber. I knew exactly what I needed to do, I just needed a new toilet to do it.
The next morning we took a family trip to Home Depot to search for the perfect toilet. We found one that fit the bill and took it home. Home Depot offered to come and install if for an extra $300 (more than the toilet itself,) and I politely declined because I was now an expert in all things toilets.
We went home and I took the toilet out, read the instructions, and had the thing built and installed in 15 minutes.
There is nothing more gratifying than knowing you are perfectly capable of doing something and then actually completing the task.
I had a smile on my face for the rest of the day. The kids knew why I was so happy. They’d seen me for the past day work on this thing, saw how frustrated I got with it at times, but ultimately saw that I followed through and completed what I sought out to do. I hope that they remember this for years to come and use it as they find their way through life.
Now if you’re in need of any toilet help, you know who to come to. 😉