A Series of Failures: Toilet

As promised, the first in our series of household failures is our battle with Toilet.   (For those of you with weak constitutions, I’ll preface this post by saying: Don’t worry!  This will NOT be a post about clogged toilets and problems with poo!)

One day, CF and I were hanging out in our “media center” (CF’s name for our guest room because that’s also where we keep the computer and where we watch TV episodes on hulu…) when we heard Toilet speak up suddenly.  Well, by “speak up” I mean that Toilet was running.  For no apparent reason.

We thought nothing of it, just a fluke!, until about 30 minutes later: Toilet did it again. And again a while later.  And again…well, you get the point.  So, after all that, we figured we’d better get in there and see what was the matter (after re-reading that paragraph, I worry about what this says about our future parenting skills…)

After jiggling Toilet’s handle (because that seemed like the easiest and most logical way to fix the problem, right?) and seeing that doing that did n o t h i n g, I let CF take over and he lifted Toilet’s tank lid and had a look inside. (I didn’t get jealous.  I know they’re just friends).  CF suggested that either the chain attached to the handle was too long (and catching on something) or the flap that lets the water in and out wasn’t making a tight seal.  So he shortened the chain, and that was that.

And, like the way we’ve been dealing with most of our other problems with our home (I’m thinking specifically of just how long we let the Refrigerator go before we attempted to clean it…), we let it go for like a month.  That is, until I got the water bill: Almost double the amount of the month before!  Oh no!

It’s funny how being charged a bunch of money kicks our butts into gear.

We started turning off the water for Toilet when we weren’t using it…thus making it impossible for Toilet to run and waste water throughout the day (why it took us so long to think of this, I blame on the fact that it has been one crazy semester for me and my brain is fried).  Then, CF went out to buy a replacement flap.  If the chain trick hadn’t worked, surely the problem was simply that the flap was old and wasn’t making a tight seal.

(As a sidenote: the new flap is gross.  Not dirty or anything, but it felt gross.  It’s red and the rubber it’s made from had a very distinctly icky feeling.  And CF made it worse by putting it on my face!–BEFORE he put it in Toilet–  Ick!)

So, after having put in the new flap, we thought all our Toilet problems were solved.


Toilet still runs.  We’re not entirely sure why.  But until we figure it out, we keep the water turned off until we absolutely need to flush it.  See, we were already “Yellow: Let it Mellow” people.  Now, we are just those people even more. 🙂

Although turning the water to Toilet off and on all the time is a bit of an inconvenience, there is an upside.  We’re probably saving even more money by being (accidentally) more water conscious.  And being more water conscious makes us a little more eco-friendly.

Now, for the added bonus part of this series of failures: an examination of what is “necessary”.

Is Toilet a necessity?  Well, I think we can all agree that having a place for human waste is something most of us would call a necessity…but it many cultures (and even in levels of our own society I would guess) having an actual porcelain throne is not.  In fact, there is some evidence that relieving ourselves by sitting on a toilet is actually unnatural for our bodies and bad for our health.

So, while our battle with Toilet is definitely an inconvenience, I don’t see it as a huge problem anymore.  Nor do I think we’re making any huge sacrifices.  We’ll get it fixed.  Eventually.  Maybe after we come back from our trip.  (By then we’ll be calling it the loo!)

That’s all for now, folks.  Check back next week for the next installment of our Series of Failures: Furnace (who used to be our BFF).

Until then, may all your toilets keep quiet, and may all your homes  be happy!


About Cathy G Gilbert

I am veggie-loving, community college professor who lives, teaches, and writes in Central IL.
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