It Follows, As The Night The Day - A New Toilet Takes Courage

Thirty years ago Cary Grant (a past movie hunk) amused me with riotous nightmares in building his Dream House where every minor change increased the costs and construction time by several orders of magnitude.

One month ago I had to replace the float in my old toilet tank and I was not amused. The logarithm increase in new construction nightmares is equally applied to remodelling. A two dollar float replacement simply was not simple.

Clever sleuthing by a plumbing type revealed a deeper problem. But still it was a matter of replacing another organ in the complex guts of efficient flushing. How often do you take a flush for granted?

In the plumbing section of your favorite hardware store, department store or warehouse building supplier, an entire aisle is devoted to geometrically exotic parts easily replaced in your wayward toilet tank.

Ha! That's what you think!

Not in my fifty-year-old American unit, bless the high quality standards of days gone by. The tank and stool are in pristine condition, not a scratch or chip to be found. Oh the seat was replaced countless times but the merchandise was guaranteed to withstand high water pressure not low butt pressure.

Intense brainstorming with toilet experts occurred in search of proper organ replacement and finally in the hunt for the organ donor. Would you believe in this day of engineering phenomena, of landing on the moon or realigning DNA, not one effort was made to accommodate a fifty-year-old toilet tank? The organ to be replaced was hopelessly attached to the china tank by fifty years of chemical corrosion that comes with endearing attachments of long association. The union that American toilet manufacturing put together let no wrench put asunder.

Nothing could be done but replace the entire tank. Fine. The search began for a replacement. Now the learned findings revealed that no tank existed to accommodate the old American stool that had faithfully served so many human reposes.

Nothing could be done but replace the entire unit. My new stool was fitted with special orifices to accommodate the attachments on the tank which, itself miracle of miracles, was already outfitted with all the organs properly aligned for efficient flushing.

That took care of the engineering, but aesthetics ought to be considered. My ancient derriere longed for a cushioned seat and I emotionally indulged myself the luxury. And now the unit was compete and ready for installation.

All right, already! I'm home free!

Not so, Merlin.

Oh, I would have been home free, if I had the humility and fortitude to let things go at that. But, alas and forsooth, visions of another improvement filled my mind. I could replace the spit-sized, wall-hung sink with an inexpensive second hand sink and cabinet.

As long as the bathroom was in chaos, why not?

A slight apprehension prevailed that the galvanized steel pipes, staunchly and even arrogantly, connecting the old sink to the wall might not withstand the formidable pipewrench and the hefty musculature of the plumber.

Praise the early metallurgy! The thread integrity not only remained intact but the pipe interior had little corrosion and so plans for the new connection began.

Traversing the dark forest of Middle Earth would have been easier than finding my way through a maze of inside diameters versus outside measurements when fitting new technology to old. But great minds do transcend matter and matching parts were ultimately found, so nothing was left but make the connections.

Now I really was home free! Just think. A new toilet, a new sink and cabinet--what an improvement! Take heart! In the construction trades, all problems can be solved. Mine, neatly so.

Oh, what a naive soul dwelled within my aging mind. To reflect on Cary Grant, my own artistic demeanor could not let well enough alone. No way was I going to place a new tank and sink against the fifty-year-old moisture wrinkled mildewed wall. (I had secretly expected the whole wall to be torn out with the need to replace lengths of deteriorated galvanized pipe.)

Nevertheless, a refinished wall is the first order for tomorrow.

And there it stands.

Gaping holes in the floor and wall, in a one-bath home, awaiting a decision on the finish.

Holiday Inn, with your magic plumbing, put me up for a week (or so) while I sneak through the dragon's lair to ogle the possibilities for a new covering on my bathroom wall.

- Naomi Sherer


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