August 16, 2004

A Tiger in My Tank?

Just got back from a spiffy sojourn to West Varginia (sic) and already the nightmare has started. Yes, nightmares can happen when you're wide awake. Nightmares can happen when you're getting ready for work. And nightmares can happen at 8:40 a.m. in your fifth-floor apartment bathroom.

Here's what's supposed to happen: You're supposed to be able to flush the toilet and continue with your morning ablutions. Well, guess what. I was indeed able to flush the toilet. And I was indeed able to finish my morning ablutions. The problem is the toilet didn't know when to say when. It kept flushing itself, like "I must continue to flush myself to rid my bowl of earthly foul substances within," only there weren't even any earthly foul substances this time, just some paper from wiping off the sink. What a gyp. I mean, if my toilet's going to keep flushing itself, it should be for a damn good reason.

What makes this all so nightmarish is the fact that a) I have toilet fear, and b) I can't fix it. What's that you say? You don't know what toilet fear is? Allow me to cover that first, then.

Toilet Fear No. 1: Flooshing Geysers
I came home one Saturday nite at midnite and used el baño. I guess the toilet wasn't used to my being out on a Saturday because when I went to do The Flush, he was so happy to see me that his bowl runneth over. And over. And over. Yikes. Fortunately the maintenance guy came up right away to fix it, but it was still scary. It made me hesitant to flush the toilet again but I realized I had to. I mean, it's not like I'm my older brother who likes to make stew when he's ten. Not that I have an older brother. Not that he ever made stew.

Toilet Fear No. 2: Pop Rocks
No, I did not flush Pop Rocks down the toilet—oatmeal and spinach, yes, but that was in another apartment a long long time ago—but now that I think about it, I am kinda curious what would happen....No, Pop Rocks is when you go to flush the toilet and all you hear is a deafening POP! sound. I guess that means there's air in the pipe? I don't know. It's scary.

Toilet Fear No. 3: The Seat
Just kidding.

There's more I could share, but I must plunge on with this entry. (Sorry, I heart the puns.)

Anyhoo, I don't even have a normal type of toilet fixture. I mean, there's no tank, no ball and chain contraption thing, not even an on/off water faucet thingie I can deal with. There's no tank, man. There's just a big freaking silver pipe thing coming out of the floor, and the flusher handle is just one of those horizontal bar things, the kind you see in a public restroom that you might flush with your foot. You can't even jiggle it up and down, just rotate it around and around.

I hate feeling helpless. I mean, I've fixed hotel toilets when the need's arisen, and I just fixed my toilet back home in West Virginia. (Yes, shut up, they do have indoor plumbing there.) But can I fix this toilet? No. I cannot.

Before I left for work, I reported the situation to Tonya the Manager. Here's how that conversation went:


"Hi, Tonya. How are you?"

"I'm fine. How are you?"

"I'm scared. My toilet won't stop flushing."


"Yeah. It just keeps swirling the water around and around."

"Ok, you're in 504, right?"


"Let me write this down, my memory is terrible."


"What should I say? Toilet--broken?"

"Sure. Also, two of the kitchen lights are out, but that's not a big deal or anything."

"Oh no, they're high up. I wouldn't be able to change them either. Ok, so..."

"Toilet and kitchen lights."


"Yep. Thanks! Have a good day."

Hopefully the toilet will be fixed by the time I get home. But I'll still be scared to flush it.

Anyone for stew?


Anonymous Diane said...

Hey...did you ever figure out what was wrong? The toilet in my new apartment flushes for around 15 minutes.

3:43 PM  
Blogger h. said...

Hi Diane,

In my case, the little rubber sealant thing around the flusher/handle needed to be replaced, and the maintenance guy at my building took care of it pretty quickly.

Since yours sounds like it stops flushing after a while, I'm not sure if it's got the same affliction mine had.

My friend (the one who alerted me to the sealant problem) told me that whenever she has a problem like this, she goes to Home Depot and finds a guy in orange, explains the problem, and he sends her off w/info (and parts, I guess) to fix it.

Barring all that, sounds like you might need to report it to your landlord or building manager..?

Hope this works out for you, and feel free to keep me posted. Maybe my blog can turn into a big help file for toilet troubles and the people who have them. ;)

5:32 PM  

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