So, ladies, being a feminist, I completely believe that you shouldn't always rely on a man to do things for you around the house. That's why I tackled the no-longer-flushing-when-you-touched-the-handle toilet problem myself.

Right after I considered asking The Neighbor Man Whose Cat Only Drinks From The Toilet to help me. And after I tried to describe the problem to my mom over the phone. And after That Guy Who Really Likes to Text (or Sir TextALot, if you will) diagnosed that the cylinder thing that covers the discharge hole in the tank was sealing too tightly. Only he pointed, so I had no idea what that thing was called.

Figuring new parts were in order, I ended up at a big box store. In plumbing, I found an aisle with copper pipes and weird cinch-looking things and new toilets. And what do you know, they had entire toilet tanks you could buy for $30.

I consulted my mom via phone and she informed me that the $30 tanks likely did not have working parts inside. She told me to find the aisle with toilet parts, which is harder than it sounds. (None were actually label "toilet parts.")

So, I figured it was time to ask an employee for help. But what words to use? I consulted Sir TextALot.

Him: Not sure...if ur at a store, u could call it the seal for the hole that opens when u flush the toilet
Me: So many ways that can be misinterpreted.
Him: Indeed. Just tell him you have a tight flapper.
Me: OK. I giggle just reading that.
Him: He can tell it's your first time. He'll be gentle.
Me: So, what's the thing the flapper goes into called?
Him: The flapper doesn't go into anything. It just covers the hole until u touch the handle and make all the liquid rush out.

Hehe. I find an older male employee. Explain that I believe the thing that comes up when you push the lever is sealing too tightly. Manage not to blush.

He tells me he is sure that it is not sealing too tightly, I must be confused. Generally, they seal too loosely and run constantly. That was definitely not my problem, but I'm relieved to see in the parts section that there is something that is actually called a flapper. But it has a chain. And I remember no chain anywhere in my toilet.

Again, the friendly employee tells me I'm confused. And he's right, I am.

I just purchase a universal flapper and hope for the best. Sure enough, the thing I purchased somewhat resembles a drain stopper, and the thing in my toilet looks like a cylinder with a rubber ring at the bottom. I take my toilet apart, and discover the rubber ring, which butts up against another rubber ring, has detached from the cylinder. I caulk the rubber ring back onto the cylinder...

What? Yes, I have asked boys to caulk for me in the past 6 months because I "couldn't do it right." It's true. I can't properly caulk. I get that gooey stuff all over the place. And I had to be shown how to LOAD a caulking gun a mere few months ago. But no one sees the inside of the toilet, so although I got caulk all over the place, including underneath my fingernails, it actually worked.

I flushed my toilet for the first time in four weeks this morning.

What a wonderful sound.

And I made it happen all. by. myself.
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2 Responses
  1. Kathy Says:

    You go girl. My husband works out of town & it seems that is when something falls apart at home. I have learned to do many small repairs myself, even fix the haunted ice maker. The best one was when I fixed the dishwasher. I had my laptop on the counter & was following directions, had to order parts & put them on myself. When I was growing up it was just me & my mom, so I watched her do a lot of repairs on her own.
    I have all the confidence in the world you can do anything you set your mind to.
    Have a terrific Thursday. See you in just a few weeks.

  2. Shannon Says:

    I had a similiar experience with my flapper. I was able to fix the problem in one bathroom, then it happened in another bathroom. After looking online for help and getting totally confused, I ended up calling a plumber. But you're right, it is a GREAT feeling for us singles gals to do things ourselves!!!