The Domino Principle:

Ever notice that sometimes trying to save time and money can actually cause you to lose both?

Today while I was cleaning the house, I sprayed a bit of Windex onto the toilet handle and proceeded to wipe it clean with a piece of paper toweling, when the darned thing ‘snapped” right of into my hand!

The porcelain had somehow broken away from the stainless, rendering the handle useless. I think that this bothered me more because I had only purchased this antique looking handle a few months ago to replace the plastic one that had come with the toilet at the time the builder installed them. You see; my house is twelve years old. So that means that the plastic, piece of junk lasted for over eleven years. It was only replaced for esthetic reasons when I had seen this pretty “old-world style” porcelain handle in the store one day.

Now that it HAD to be replaced, I went down to the home improvement store figuring I was going to opt for the less beautiful, but obviously more durable, plastic version once again. Once I was in the store however, it became clear that I could not just change out the handle without installing an entire new flushing system that is compatible with the handle that it comes with. So against my better judgment, I purchased the same, more expensive yet prettier handle that I was replacing.  At least I would not have to take the entire system apart and start from scratch.  All I had to do was slip out the old handle and slip in the new one!

 NOT!

 Of course Murphy’s Law was being enforced in full swing.  Every step of the way, the gods were against me.  The handle had managed to miraculously “meld together” with the pieces that it was supposed to come away from and I now had to replace the fittings as well.

I suppose in a perfect world, they would merely unscrew from each other (just as they were assembled a few months earlier), but not today. It took 45 frustrating minutes of coaxing, prodding and begging with a wrench and Philips screwdriver before they finally released their Excalibur-like grip and suddenly (without reason) separated as if they had never been stuck in the first place.

Then when I was finally able to install all the pieces and screw them into place, I found that there was a defect in the threads of the new screw making it impossible to tighten. So once again, I took it all apart and somehow was able to salvage the screw from the original system, which now looked like it was something recovered from the wreck of the Titanic. But hey… whatever works!

I installed the new handle, put the top back onto the tank and gave it one test flush before I put the tools away and cleaned myself up. I could feel the little tension as the chain lifted the rubber flapper valve from its place on the bottom of the tank allowing fresh water to run into the bowl, flushing away the old water. Everything was good… up until this point.

I was SOOOOOO close but alas, I could hear that the water would not stop running.  So once again I had to lift the top off of the tank and check things out.  Wouldn’t you know it?  The copper arm that attaches to the flapper valve had corroded and I had to replace that one, last, final piece of the equation.  I had now managed to do all of the work that I was hoping to avoid plus… since I had to replace everything anyway, I could have bought the plastic version (that was cheaper and more durable) that I wanted to use in the first place. Live and learn.

I can only hope that this replacement lasts longer than the few months its predecessor held on for.

Until next time,

Don

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