I know how to work the topside of toilets. And since God fitted me primarily for desk-type jobs, I’ve been content to leave their bottomsides to plumbers.
But last Saturday morning, and my friend and I, using assorted tools, a bucket and three rags, installed a high-rise toilet at my place. My friend, at least, confessed to some experience. I researched a three-minute YouTube video. As I said, I have a desk job.
The old toilet came off willingly enough, leaving us standing over a small black hole with an iron perimeter, from which protruded two bolts on opposite sides. “Aha. The flange,” I said, flushed with fresh learning.
“After you’ve removed the old fixture,” the video plumber said, “place a rag in the hole to prevent sewer gas from coming up the pipe.” When the vapours invaded our nostrils, we did that. We even remembered to take the rag out before we screwed on the new toilet.
As we knelt to tighten the bolts, my friend’s nostrils turned clean inside out. “Sewer gas,” she snorted, reaching behind for cloth number two and stuffing it into the dry toilet. She too, has a desk job.
Not until after we’d tightened the bolts and installed the tank, did we notice that the toilet’s increased height made the old water hose too short to reach the connection. I closed the lid, high-fived my friend, gave her coffee, and sent her packing with a hug. Then I used rag number three to clean up, and headed out to buy a longer hose.
Back home, I connected the hose and flushed. Glug-glug, said the toilet. Opening the lid, I noticed the water headed for overflow. I had to give two or three hefts with a plunger before, with a mother-of-a—glug, the water swirled out.
Relieved, I shut the lid and prepared to clean up. “One, two,” I said, counting rags. “One, two…Drat, where’s the other one?” I wondered that (aloud) right through to Sunday morning.
“Did you think to take it out of the toilet before you flushed it?” the Preacher asked.
I scurried to my desk. “Accidently flushed a rag.” I Googled, and discovered a community of worried flushers. My kids have flushed the oddest things, one mother complained. Including pine cones and light bulbs. Another answered:
“Pine cones and light bulbs? Ha! When I was younger I would have been GLAD to pick that stuff out of the toilet. My dad used to flush live bears and used cars down the toilet, and we kids, had to try and get them out. He did it every day. It took us FOUR days to get one thing out. We had no tools to use, and dad had broken our arms, so we had to use our teeth!”
My son-in-law helped me reinstall the toilet on Monday.
I am profoundly grateful for my desk job.