On January 17, 2007, I sent this e-mail to close friends recounting my experience with replacing the two toilets in my house. Though I have done many home remodeling projects with my wife, none bring more grief than those related to plumbing. The story got some laughs, so here 'tis...
We are under snow here in the Chicken Friend Nation, and the events that led to this snow (for me) make up quite a story -- if nothing else -- for a good laugh at my expense. So, if you have 5 minutes and a cup of coffee, indulge me a bit.
Toilets: such a nasty subject.
Toilets, I have learned, are quite a magnificent invention. They are a magnum opus for whoever dreamed-up such a thing (from my vantage point last night). After all, we expect ours to always function properly, doing one of the most vile tasks known to man: the disposition of the human "man-seeing remnants!" All this, until they don't work, such as leaks from the tank that seem to stream from invisible cracks! The women in my life screamed the toilets in my home were in deplorable shape! They wasted so much water! They leaked! DEAR GOD THE WORLD IS GOING TO END! Deep down, though, I suspected the on-going remodeling was at the root of why the toilets needed changing. They didn't go with the design concept anymore.
So, yesterday, on my "day off," I was determined to fix anything they claimed was wrong with the toilets and teach them a lesson in salvaging what you have. One turn too many on one of the tank's bolts, and the leak turned into a gush. Yes, all four-letter bombs and their adverbs were employed. Onward remodeling soldiers to Home Depot we go.
I bought two of their all-in-one combos for $69.95. My buddy is a manager there (though he'll never read this due to lack of e-mail) and gave me the look probably thinking, "Are you going to install this?"
With all the people I asked about this toilet business, one thing became common. They all kept referring to the blessed wax ring, as if it was a shrine for homage. "Makesure it's new," they said. "Make sure and clean the old one off completely," they questioned. "Don't let them make you use the old one," they barked. When I opened the box and finally found the ring o' wax, I felt like I was in the presence of greatness. Finally, there it was! Who knew what I had to do with it? Nevertheless, there it was!
Insert >>>>> Scotch and water…
Here's comes the kicker.
I read "how to" manuals like I read history in school: very fast and with little interest. Something did catch my attention, and it was then I knew I was in for an adventure. With regard to the wax ring it read: "WARNING: THE WAX RING MUST BE AT 70°".
I thought, "Is there a kinky side to installing this thing? Should I drop off the kids at my sister's and call my wife?" Well, the wax ring is so adored by fellow amateur remodelers (and pros alike) because it is the bridge between the eternal flow of human feces and the porcelain throne. It is the very thing that keeps the foul juices on their flow to the pipe that takes the foulness away. No wonder it's treated with such reverence! The project continued, aided by the sweetness of a good drink!
After wrestling the throne to and fro, placing bolts in wrong several times, and pressing the wax to the pipe, we came to the first flush! I had the girls gather round and we let 'er rip! I'd never been so proud of a flush in my life. The empty throne, just in pieces moments before (and sans the wax ring of life), came to be a living part in our home. No more leaks. The women were in bliss. I don't think diamonds or roses would have made them happier. I still get teary-eyed...give me a moment…
My fellow house remodelers, keep up the good work. I took one for the team last night and came up a winner. Snow falleth in this part of Texas the next morning. Coincidence? I think not.