Why The Toilet was Broken for Months

February 4, 2015

in Uncategorized

One of our toilets was broken for several months. You could flush it, if you reached in and lifted the flapper by hand. I should’ve gotten it fixed far faster than I did. Does this sound like something your husband has done to you? Let me tell you why it took so long – it might teach you something about your husband. 

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  1. First, it was not really broken. It worked, just not as easily as one would like. Yes, this is justification, but also truth.
  2. I mostly use the other bathroom. Our fireplace is downstairs, and in the winter I move my stuff down there so I can keep an eye on starting it or stoking it for the night as I do all the things one does in a bathroom first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Additionally, I am down there so often during the day I rarely use the upstairs bathroom. So, I was not as aware of the issue as I should have been. Or more accurately, it was easy for me to ignore.
  3. The first time I went to fix it (early on mind you) I found the shut off valve was not working and would need to be replaced. This means turning of the water to the whole house, and if there’s a problem replacing the valve you have no water. This is a big hassle and a lot of work, and I was loaded down with all kinds of things already. In part I put it off because I did not want to deal with it right then. Beyond the time, there was the issue of the emotional energy required.
  4. The second time I went to fix it, I found one of the bolts holding the tank on would not come off. If I tried to force it, it could break, then no toilet at all. I would probably have to cut it off and replace it, and given its age finding a replacement might be difficult. The local hardware store was about to close, and would not be open the next day, so it was a bad time to go for it. By now, I’m really frustrated, and I thought about just replacing the whole thing and being done with it.

I’m not really making excuses here. I should have had it fixed much sooner. Had I wanted to, I could have done it in a week – even with the problems I ran into. It was not a big enough priority to overcome my frustration. I know why it took me so long; the question is if I can do better in the future. Of course, my long-suffering wife did not know what was going on in my mind, and as she uses the upstairs bathroom almost exclusively, I suspect she was rather frustrated with me.

~ Paul – I’m XY and yes, it’s been fixed now.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

T February 4, 2015 at 12:26 pm

I started grinning from ear to ear when I saw the title of your post today. One of the bolts under our toilet bent, maybe two or three years ago? It wobbles back and forth when you sit on it, and it has gotten progressively worse to the point where soon we might need an E-ticket to ride it.

He purchased a new bolt about three weeks ago. It’s still in the package. However, I don’t see this as something he’s done *TO ME* Like you said, it still works…. and some days I need a good laugh…


Dan February 4, 2015 at 4:02 pm

If it starts to wobble too much, it could get loose to the point that the wax ring starts to leak rotting the subfloor and giving you and E-ticket ride to the basement. E-ticket huh? You’re a Disneyland/World oldie for sure.
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T February 4, 2015 at 7:15 pm

Our subfloor is a concrete slab, and I’ve heard stories of these things you call “basement.” Worst case scenario is that we would have to replace the 25-year old linoleum. WIN!


Paul Byerly February 5, 2015 at 8:36 pm

Now I see why you live with it. ;-)
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Dan February 19, 2015 at 9:54 pm

T, If your like most people, you do it when you’re looking to sell the house. Not even 2 or 3 years before so you can get some pleasure out of the new floor too.
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Paul Byerly February 20, 2015 at 2:15 pm

So true, says the man getting ready to sell or rent his house.
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Paul Byerly February 5, 2015 at 8:35 pm

Shims I tell you, shims. No more problem.
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Dan February 4, 2015 at 4:09 pm

I do okay at fixing most plumbing but really hate doing it. When we moved onto this house, there was only a master shut-off. ANY plumbing work meant no sink or toilet. First order of the day was install shut-offs. Now only the tub doesn’t have any because all is behind the wall and I. ain’t. tearing. into. it. What is really annoying, as you remarked, is when the shut-off doesn’t completely shut off. *sigh* A fix required before the first fix and be fixed. *groan*
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Rosemary February 8, 2015 at 10:18 am

Throughout most of our marriage, my husband has worked outside the home and I have worked inside. Because of that, I have taken most of the responsibility for getting things fixed. Some things I can fix myself. I’ve re-piped a lot of sprinklers, and I’m capable of replacing a light switch or the flushing mechanism for the toilet. I replaced some broken spindles on the stair railing, I built a stepping stone path in the garden, and I installed a small cabinet in the guest bathroom. But for a job like the one you describe, I would hire a professional. There are just too many steps where something could go wrong, and I’m not really a plumber.
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Paul Byerly February 8, 2015 at 2:23 pm

I just hate to pay someone else to do what I can, although I have started to do so for automotive repairs.
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Rosemary February 9, 2015 at 8:41 am

Paul, I know what you mean. I’m the child of depression-era parents, and grew up in a household where doing it yourself was the norm. But I have come to see that my time is limited and has great value. While I wouldn’t pay someone to do every little thing, in some cases it is well worth my while to pay someone who can do it faster and with less risk of things going awry. And I’ll admit that as I get older I’m less willing to crawl around on the ground, sticking my face into wet or dirty problems.
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Paul Byerly February 9, 2015 at 11:37 am

Yup – age is a factor. I could, but do I really want to?
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