Thursday, June 14, 2007


Last night was crunch night, when The Job I Had Been Dreading was unputoffable any more. I was going to actually have to install the toilet commode in New Bog.

I had had the commode for about three years, since Mrs Stevie gave it to me in an attempt to provoke me into home improvements in fact. Up until now it had rested as a set of two large boxes in our front bedroom with scenic throws over them. They had been incorporated into the ambience as convenient side tables and as such covered entirely in crap (which is the custom in our house), but I had no excuses left and time was not on my side with the immenent arrival of Paul the Globetrotter at The Steviemanse.

To recap what is involved: A ring of wax is sandwiched between the commode and the flange, forming a water (and other things we won't catalogue) proof seal. The commode is bolted to the flange and the tank fastened to the commode base. The tank is connected via either a shaped rigid pipe or a flexible hose to the riser and thus the water supply. The tank is filled, whereupon it leaks all over the place and much swearing and some bolt tightening takes place. Care must be taken when tightening the bolts so as not to move to the cracked commode or busted tank phase. The toilet is flushed and promptly leaks all over the floor, necessitating the disassembly of the whole thing prior to repeating the previous steps. One can see from this why I wasn't keen to get started.

I dry fitted the commode the night before, and had discovered to my chagrin that it rocked very slightly on the new floor. How this happened I do not know, but the floor now had its vinyl covering on and so could not be modified further. All I could do was chalk one up to Mr Brain and go in search of toilet shimming wedges, specially made for the purpose of fixing this problem. These had been located at Syd's Hardware at lunchtime so I was hot to trot.

I dry-fitted the commode and wedged it so I could see what would be needed when I had it installed for real, then I applied the wax ring to the base of the commode and lowered the toilet onto the flange. The wax ring deformed and made the seal, which was when I remembered the flange bolts have to be placed in the flange before the wax ring bit. I did the Bonehead Dance and considered my options. Then I went down into the basement of fixing stuff, got out my grinding machine and attempted to grind the flats on the bolts down far enough so they would fit through the flange slot, turning them 90 degrees to engage the flange. That worked until I attempted to tighten the nuts, at which point the flange bolts slipped out of the slot. I realised there was nothing for it but to junk out the wax ring and start again with fresh bolts (which I had), so it was off to Home Despot for a new wax ring. Naturally, my local one closed two minutes before I got to it, so I made the trip to the Farmingdale one (which opens until ten pm).

Word must have got out about my plan because the roads filled with every idiot who owned a car. These gangs of roving incompetents engaged in trying to slow me down and prevent me achieving toilet installation, stopping at nothing in their mission.

Well, I say that, but actually the problem was they they drove so slowly that they might as well have been stopped. Two SUVs brought things to a head when they stopped at aT junction with a railroad crossing blocking the right turn, leaving only a left turn available when the boom came down, as it did as we got to the lights. the lights, not being synched with the crossing gate, turned red in both directions. The SUV "drivers" apparently didn't know that under these circumstances, one may safely and legally turn left on red in New York. No, they waited until they got a green light, which gave just enough time for a gigantic articulated truck filled with boiling asphalt (by the label on it and the stench coming off it) to crawl by and get in front of us.

This vehicle resembled something oil exploration companies let loose in the Alaska ice fields. It was about four times the size of a regular truck and designed for a top speed of three miles per hour. Naturally the convoy of truck and two tw*ts was going my way. I stuck it out for the time it took me to make the next right, then zoomed out onto the other side of the road and passed the whole crawling, stinking, brainless assembly, and finally was able to reach Home Despot before they closed and get another wax ring.

I had noticed that the first ring had not really made a great seal on one side when I lifted the commode, so I bought an oversized ring this time (40% more wax! screamed the box) and made my way back home. At the corner where I met the asphalt truck, an ice-cream van limped across two lanes to get in front of me and reduce my homeward trip to 15 mile per hour less than the speed limit. The night was going well.

Once back home I placed the bolts into the flange, thwarting any chance Mr Brain would have of interferring with the job, applied the new wax ring to the commode and carefully dropped the toilet into place.

It appeared to be hovering about an inch off the floor, so I pressed it down with all my weight to distort the wax ring and make the seal.

Wax shot out of every place it could get out of, including the two little holes the flange bolts stick through, saying to me "the seal should be excellent here" and also "that will be a bugger to get off the ceiling"

I bolted the commode to the floor and inserted the wedges to prevent it rocking, then I went looking for the tank, which took a while because it had so much crap on it I couldn't recognise it as a box with a toilet tank in it. Ironically, I finally found it under a bunch of simulation wargames I salvaged from Domestic Flood Yolanda, including one depicting the exploits of Rommel and Montgomery in and around El Alamein1.

By the time I had the tank secured to the commode it was almost 11 pm, so I quit for the night and went downstairs for more "Shogun" before bed.

Gad, I hope it doesn't leak everywhere when I connect the water on Thursday night

  1. Rommel's forces were composed of mechanised infantry and armour. In other words, this game (and a couple of the others) was primarily concerned with tanks

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