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Installing toilet

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As the phrase goes: "if you want something done right, do it yourself". Mine is a modified version: "if you want the work done on your terms (i.e. time and money), do it yourself". So it was with some trepidation that I finally decided to tackle installing a new toilet in our bathroom. Or should say, I was persuaded.

For years my wife and kids have been hounding me about replacing the toilet in the main bathroom. It came with the house when we bought it, and our best estimate puts its age at about 15 years. True to my nature as the male in the house I had been able to escape the dreaded task using various excuses. But this summer I finally relented and decided to take the plunge (so to speak). I'm not much of a handyman and my motto is leave the work to the expert, but as it is in most cases, finding that expert is a hassle. And once you've found the right person, there is more headache ahead. Unanswered calls, unkept appointments, coordination issues, and, of course, the hefty bills.

Home Depot isn't exactly my favorite hangout, but that's where I found myself to pick out a toilet. Only problem was that my neighborhood's branch had the model but not the color. So I ended up visiting the one near my work at lunch time and found the right one. On that hot and humid day I dragged the heavy beast to my car and once home I carried it upstairs and laid it near the bathroom to await the weekend installation.

I have never installed a toilet before, nor have I witnessed one being installed. But that's exactly what I set out to do today. Let me warn you that it could be a cumbersome and unpleasant job. If you have a bad back, don't do it. If it's a hot and humid day, don't do it. if you are a clean-freak, don't do it. The point: it's not fun.

Removing the old toilet was a hassle in itself. Here I am kneeling next to a porcelain bowl that who knows how many people have used, trying to pry it from the floor and one of the nuts holding it down is not budging. After some fruitless labor, it was time to punish it. A good hammer whack and the base of the bowl shattered and the old toilet, wounded and beaten, was finally removed from its thrown.

Then came the cleaning of the area with Clorox, removing bits and pieces of the old wax gasket and porcelain shards, installing new bolts, and sticking a new wax gasket to the base of the new bowl. More backache followed as I tried to lower the new toilet into position. With a little guidance from my wife, it was a perfect landing. Thankfully, this model was a one-piece, with attached water tank. I tightened the nuts, hooked up the water hose, tested for leaks (none so far), and took a bow. It was finally done.

I haven't heard any complaints yet, so I assume the new john is working out okay so far. As for me, I'm yet to take it for a test drive. I read my magazines in the downstairs' bathroom, dad's private library.

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