Friday, June 27, 2003
...The Center Will Not Hold
So the toilet has been drippy lately. Dripdripdripdrip, comin' right up outta the tank. Opening up the lid revealed the drippy to be a leak from the ballcock construction. Actually I'm not entirely sure that's what was leaking, but I know that it's a name for part of the toilet and I derive juvenile pleasure from saying that my john had a leaky ballcock.
I fiddled with it a bit but, seeing no obvious solution, eventually replaced the lid and resigned myself to the drippy.
A few days later the drippy had stopped mysteriously, replaced by a constant running sound. The next day the running sound had stopped, and a glance under the lid revealed a nail polish container wedged under the floater arm. This stopped the constant running quite effectively. Immediately after a flush, however, the container had to be removed to allow the tank to refill and then replaced a minute or so later.
Tuesday evening D. showed up with a replacement part for the refill device and "Sleepy Hollow" on video. We watched the movie. I was able to guess the culprit, and finally realized at the beginning of the climax why the actor looked so tauntingly familiar (beware: the previous link may be a spoiler!) Figuring out the toilet was another matter entirely.
Step 1 (instructions version): Shut off water supply to tank.
Step 1 (real life): Turn handle one way with great effort. Realize that you're opening the valve further. Turn handle all the way the other direction. Realize that the water is still running. Give self blister straining to get the handle one more eighth of a turn. Water still running. Grab a towel, wrap it around the handle, use ends of towel for leverage. Pullllll until handle snaps right off. Decide that remaining trickle of water should be manageable with use of a bowl to catch spillage. Wonder how eventually to turn water back on. Next morning, discover tube of superglue. Attempt to glue knob back on, hope that glue doesn't fuse entire works.
Step 2 (instruction version): Flush tank and sponge out remaining water. Remove old fill valve assembly.
Step 2 (real life): Try to sponge out remaining water, despite trickle still coming in. Notice water turning black. Track blackening to aged disintegrating rubber flapper. Remove flapper, turning fingers black in process. Clean tank and flapper, turning hands, water in toilet, and perfectly good sponge black or dark grey in process. Remove top of old assembly. Discover that remainder of old assembly is screwed on with bolts too big for any of wrenches or pliers currently in apartment. Go down street to hardware store to buy 6" adjustable wrench. Discover that new adjustable wrench is still too small even at its largest setting.
Sleep on it (problem, not toilet). Use bucketfuls of water to flush toilet in meantime, pretending to live in third-world country. Drive to Home Depot first thing next morning (aka 2PM). Notice lack of gas. Stop at fill station on the way. Splurge on Premium octane by way of apology to car for putting off oil change. Notice right rear tire a bit low. Drive over to air pump. Fill tire. Notice first cracks in treads, then head of screw apparently embedded in tire. Add trip to tire shop to mental to-do list. Continue to Home Depot, buy new flapper and 10" adjustable wrench. Install new flapper. Finally succeed in removing old assembly, catching trickle of water in bowl.
Actually, the Remaining steps went pretty much as the instructions described them. That is, until I got to the final step.
Step 12 (instructins version): Turn water supply on.
Step 12 (real life): Snap off inadequately superglued nub trying to turn on water supply. Procure hammer and screwdriver. Try to drive screwdriver into remaining plastic bit with hammer and turn on water using screwdriver as handle (housemate's suggestion, honest!). Repeat attempt with phillips head screwdriver and alan wrench. Try glue again, end up gluing fingers of left hand together. Throw in towel. Call it a night. Consider calling plumber once use of fingers regained.
The good news: the toilet no longer leaks, and in fact works perfectly
The bad news: the tank takes an hour to refill
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