Beware those home improvement TV shows. They make it look sooo easy…
Last time TPG (a.k.a. The Peanut Gallery/Bill) watched this dangerous show, he got excited about a Toilet Redo (go figure: me, I say just call da plumber…). But no: being a Man and having just watched a ‘do-it-yourselver’, he decided he wasn’t gonna pay a plumber to fix ‘such a little problem’ (hey, anything having to do with ‘no flush’ is NOT little, to moi) which was ‘so easy’. (It didn’t help that they had a Blonde Bimbo do it one-handed on the show, either…)
Some lessons I assembled:
1. Where there’s water, there’s rust. Which means you will Not Get It off Without Breaking It.
Luckily, said Toilet was located in the garage – which effectively muted the screams and all but drowned the cursing…
Uh – speaking of drowning, before I forget: Lesson #2:
2. If you haven’t shut off the water in over 10 years, now is NOT the time to do it yourself. Just call the plumber and hand over your checkbook (and your firstborn…)
…cause I pretty much guarantee, what hasn’t been shut off in 10 years ain’t about to shut off smoothly NOW.
(If he still insists on ‘doing it himself’, tell him to allot at least one full day to (1) locate the ever-elusive shut-off valve, last mentioned when you bought da joint, and (2) locate a pipe wrench which actually fit the thing and is (a) bigger than a toothbrush and (b) smaller than a gorilla.)
…and, relating to drowning (more specifically), Lesson #3:
3. If you break the shut-off valve, break out the swimsuits and enjoy your new pool! What can stick ‘off’ can just as readily stick ‘on’. (This also proves WD40 is a miraculous loosener indeed, and that the ‘repair even under water’ tape and glue does NOT work, despite the ads).
Just think: in a mere blink of an eye you can have that swimming pool you’ve always dreamed of – conveniently located right in your own home!
Once the shut-off and the rust were dealt with in a mere 3 days of on/off work (…and you know there’s no independent shut-off under the unit, which means the water for the ENTIRE HOUSE is shut down. Now we’re talking ‘hotel’ – and I’m talkin’ ‘room service’…), TPG came up against the next logical barrier to a Working Toilet:
4. …none of your toilet parts will EVER resemble any on the TV show! Go figure. Yours probably came as a bargain from the Mutant Ninja Toilet Factory and theirs was, of course, Made for TV…which translates neatly to: theirs works/yours doesn’t.
Whatever the reason, it is virtually guaranteed you will be eyeballing a neat assembly of Alien Spacecraft Controls once you finally get it all apart (…and don’t even THINK about how 20 lbs. of parts fit into a 10-gallon flush system. There’s clearly a Black Hole down there…).
Not to worry; here is where #5 comes in:
5. Gather this all up, package it in an inviting diaper bag, and trundle it down to your nearest Ace Hardware and Plumbing. (Make sure ‘& plumbing’ is part of Ace’s signage. Otherwise your helpful 16-year-old clerk is more likely to direct you to the gardening section when he views your stash.)
Which brings to mind #6:
6. Never expose your diaper bag to anyone who looks to be under the age of 50, or who isn’t at least as old as your toilet. Myself: I just rocket through the store until I spot White Hair with a company name tag; then go for it.
Once you have located said Ancient, reveal the contents of your bag and let HIM decide (a) you’re better off with a whole new toilet; they haven’t made your brand since the Dark Ages or (b) all you need is one little Figgerdedoo, located in Bin 500, 9th aisle on the left.
Tip: If he says “it’s not EXACTLY the same, but CLOSE”, go for the whole new shebang. Believe me: fabrication is BEYOND MOST OF US. Even if we’re only talkin’ 1/8”, TPG will spend all day making that 1/8” fit just right…with the end result being that “it only leaks a LITTLE.” Which is what it did in the first place….
To make a long story short, The Peanut Gallery DID fix the toilet. 5 days of no water and $50 parts worth later he proudly showed off a toilet which moved from ‘leaky’ to having to spend 2 minutes leaning on the spiffy new ‘water-saving’ handle to get it to flush ANYTHING completely. (When tested with a floating feather, I calculated we spent 50 water-saving gallons to get the bird bit down the loo.)
He seemed SO proud of this accomplishment that, thinking he had discovered a new hobby, I thought to mention the outside sink handles and a few other juicy plumbing problems.
Uh oh – I discovered:
7. Walls can only mask the screaming and cursing if you stay inside the house while he is in the garage.
Go figure … they just don’t make houses – and plumbing - like they used to!!