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October 10, 2006

The Dubious Joys of Home Ownership

Most of the time, I enjoy owning my house. David painted my study purple and relandscaped the entire yard. When I write my mortgage check each month, I like the fact that I'm building up my own equity, not my landlord's. But when something goes wrong, I miss being able to call the landlord and let him deal with it. And it seems that many more things have gone wrong in the two years since we bought the place than in the four previous years. Especially plumbing. We have had the toilet mechanism, the garbage disposal, and the kitchen faucet all replaced within the last year.

Nevertheless, when David's brother's friend Mark went upstairs to use the bathroom on Saturday night, he found water leaking out of the toilet and onto the floor. Neither Mark, nor David, nor David's brother Mike could figure out how to fix it, so they turned off the water at its source to the toilet and set up a small trash can to catch the drips. Each time we used the toilet, we had to turn the water on, let the bowl fill up, and then turn the water off before we could flush it. By Sunday it had pretty much become second nature, but it made going to the bathroom quite a drag.

We were kind of dreading calling the plumber because David was pretty sure we would need a whole new toilet. In fact, I was out when the leak was discovered, and when I got home on Saturday night David greeted me with the words "I think the toilet is shot." We even researched new toilets in Consumer Reports, and were reassured when we saw that we could get the highest-rated model for under $300, but in the end we didn't need to buy one.

I finally got the plumber in this morning. He diagnosed the problem (leakage between the tank and the bowl, which is what we suspected), went out to his van to get some parts, replaced the tank-to-bowl connectors, the flapper, and the handle (he said that if he didn't do those today he would have to come back in a month to do them), and used the toilet to test his handiwork. With less than an hour of work, the toilet was as good as new. I had forgotten how nice it is to just be able to flush the toilet like a normal person, without all those extra steps of turning the water on and off!

Posted by eklanche at October 10, 2006 04:13 PM

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