When trying to fix the downstairs toilet a year ago, I wound up replacing it. A year+ on with a new toilet and new wax ring and all of a sudden, a flush generates lots of water out from where the stool meets the floor.

“Wax ring!” I proclaim to my mother-in-law, who is embarrassed and believing that perhaps she broke our shitter. Merry Christmas.

“No problem!” I say, thinking i’ll just go use that spare wax ring in the garage, later, when I get back from work in four days.

I return four days later. Visiting family has been gone a good while now and I get to work. I turn off the water. I flush it. I throw down old towels to absorb the water from under the lip across the floor. I unbolt the sucker and set it on two things. The front lip rests on the litter box cover (so my cat can poops in his privacy) and the back lip rests on the empty econo-size tidy cat litter, uhh, box that the litter came in. For my cats poops.

I scrape off all the wax from the floor flange, as directed. I look under the toilet and ensure wax isn’t left over and it’s clean, as directed. I put the new wax ring on the toilet bottom with some force to stick it on, as directed. I place the toilet on the floor and sit on it to smoosh it down evenly, it sits flat on the floor, as directed. I bolt it all up again and turn on the water for a fresh flush.

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Ejected. Water all over the place again, just like last time. “Fuck!” I loudly proclaim to my wife, working upstairs, as she’s typing away.

“What’s that dear?” I ignore her and walk out of the bathroom leaving the towels on the floor and the plastic shopping bags full of paper towels and scraped wax parts.

I sit at the computer for twelve minutes and then have to go pick up my daughter from school. Another me-day wasted. A family of four life continues with two adults and two young girls and one thank-god functional toilet.

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If this was Victorian England, we could easily crap out the window onto citizens below. A regular life minor annoyance back then just like finding a hair on your slacks today. At the office, a co-worker would point that lint out and you would deal with it without thought. Instead, he would say, “Blimey Phil, a bit o shit on you lapel there.” And Phil would flick it off across the cubicle just like any fly. that’s how minor of an issue it was in good old England, where they washed the streets regularly to prevent cholera.

Nope. God invented post-Victorian society complete with machines to make daily life easier, until we have to repair said machines and throw tools out of aggravation. I wonder if God secretly enjoys us cursing things with his name. Look at what I made them do! Ha Ha!

The next day I washed and dried the towels, turned off the water and flushed the toilet, sopping up the water it spread over the floor. I unbolted that sick fucker and set it on the boxes of litter, again. I cleaned the wax off, again. I put on a new, self-contained, semi-waxless, mousetrap re-invented toilet gasket. By this time I had just pulled a left side lat muscle putting the toilet down and after bolting things together, it did the same thing again dumping water out across the floor.

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I will spare you the removal. I cursed again and took a motrin and cursed while swallowing it. I discovered the distance from the actual sealing surface of the toiled underside and the floor flange is less than a half inch. 3/8’s I think. I put on a re-inforced wax ring and the toilet sits on that rocking a litle bit. I cursed the reinforced ring inside the wax. I think I don’t have time for those gimmicks. Time for a basic wax donut without any invented crap. I’ll get one later when my wife takes me for coffee and a pain-killing cranberry nut-bar. so nutty. She takes care of me.

The lesson is this. Whatever the product says, measure things out and look close. Nothing is a one-size fits all. Toilet wax rings especially. Just get a wax ring and make sure your toilet sits on the floor and not that flange.

Now, on the personal lesson learned. If you are married or in whatever domestic living arrangement instead, do things around the house that can get you minorly hurt. If it’s fixed, whatever, as long as your other half appreciates your hard work, you’ll know you picked a good one.

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Tomorrow morning that toilet better work or I’m calling a plumber.