Wednesday, March 12, 2008

It's My Potty; I Can Cry If I Want To

"Weebles wobble;

Weebles wobble;

Weebles wobble;

But they won't flush down."


Especially not if they are wedged with a plastic baby doll cup way down in the dark recesses of the toilet.


Inspired by Kim C.'s competent post on toilet tank removal and pumped with the adrenaline that comes with the large sweet tea from McDonald's that comes after the total fatigue of dealing with all five of your children in a waiting room for 2 1/2 hours, being overly aware of the stunned stares of others as they count heads and measure your 7-month old pregnant bump....


Well, I decided to conquer our toilet.


The toilet in the one bathroom with a vent (of course) that had been out-of-commission for several months as no amount of plunging, snaking, or chemical cleaner would dislodge whatever it was that someone (ABRAHAM! ABRAHAM! ABRAHAM!) had decided to flush.


Lest you don't understand the urgency (and did you notice the urgency? It has been unusable for a few MONTHS!!) of this, let me reiterate that it is the ONE bathroom with a vent and that it is the only bathroom to which we could leave the door open for our cats to drink freely from the toilet freshwater receptacle. So instead of them being able to drink as they pleased in the privacy of the bathroom, we were forced to use the archaic means of a bowl on the kitchen floor, which led to the daily ritual of my 13-month old dumping said bowl on herself, resulting in a frustrated, "OH, Edee, not again!" and a fresh set of clothes.


But I was ready. Kim C. had taken her tank off; I could fix the toilet.


Armed with our copy of Any Dummy Can Do It: Fix Your Household Headaches (not the real title, but that's close enough and I'm too sore busy to go fetch it), I got to work. First item of business: children. The three youngest were put in bed, and the older two were occupied with walkie-talkies outside.


Hair in a ponytail. Towels at the ready. Water supply cut off. Water disconnected. Tank top (as in top of the toilet tank) set in tub. Toilet flushed (as best it would). Remaining water in tank sopped up with towel. Tank bolts un...bolted(??). Oops. One bolt broken. Tank removed. Remaining water in toilet bowl sopped up with towel. Bowl unbolted. And....HEAVE!!! Bowl off of floor. Bowl on side.


Flashlight in deep recesses of toilet, from underside. Object definitely lodged. Plumber's snake. No luck. Curtain rod. And....ta-da!!! A weeble-wobble! I did it! I can't believe I did it!


Everything back on, except for one bolt of tank. Towels thrown, with bleach, in the wash. I call my husband..."I have a song for you....weebles wobble..." and relate my heroic saving of our toilet. "Oh, I just put that on my list," he says.


I tell him, "The only thing is, one of the bolts to the tank broke, so maybe you can find one to fit it."


After he got home and was unable to find a spare bolt of proper measurement, we trudged to Wal-Mart with the kids, stopping for celebratory $1.50 Special Tuesday Happy Meals on the way (I know, enough with the grossness...). We picked up the necessary bolts and other possible necessities (wax ring EWWW! EWWW! EWWW!, plumber's putty, Zip-It drain cleaner tool), got the kids in bed, and set to work to finish the toilet.


Only it wouldn't flush. Still. Then I commented that when I looked at the object in the back of the toilet, it didn't really LOOK like a weeble-wobble, but I couldn't see it very well, and the weeble-wobble DID come out of there . . .


And the tank leaking? So I forgot a minor detail...a rubber gasket with a washer UNDER it is not forming any kind of seal. (Have you ever tried to screw in toilet tanks? Especially when one side is about 8 inches from the side of the bathtub? And you are getting post-McD's heartburn every time you lean over?)


So everything was redone: Hair still in a ponytail. Towels at the ready. Water supply cut off. Water disconnected...well, you get the point.


My heroic post-tea adrenaline was dwindling into post-Happy Meal hamburger discouragement, frustration, and unbelievable stiffness. The only professional plumber thing about me was the infamous crack. At least I've gained some sympathy...after struggling with maternity jeans while on your hands and knees under the backside of a toilet, you just don't care anymore. Some things are more important.


Needless to say, I had not come to the rescue. My husband did. He dislodged the plastic baby doll cup from the underside while I watched the bowl..."It's coming! I can see it! Oh, it just dropped back again!" (It felt like I was cheering on a toilet giving birth.)




Last night, we flushed the toilet. At least ten times. Just for the sheer music to our ears. There were no leaks (except for a new, slow one that just started at the water supply line...but nothing a good bucket can't fix), and I think the cats spent all night in there.


And THAT'S a job well done.


But oh, my aching back...



  1. Pulling my toilet tank was nothing. You are my hero, girl! You even had me beat on pregnant-ness by a month. And you tell a great story!

    Glad you had a happy ending. Isn't a flushing toilet a grand and glorious thing?

  2. I hope you're saving all your stories with the idea of publishing them some day. A toilet is something that I never want to tackle. Mary

  3. Hooray for you! You are a brave woman! My hero!

  4. Oh! That is too funny. I am glad it is working. We have had toys disappear into the toilet too.


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