Monday, December 20, 2010

On Having An Old House

When you buy an old house (70+ years), you get stunning woodwork, amazing artistry, and whacked plumbing.  Our old house was built back in the day when indoor plumbing was new fangled and bathrooms were called “waterclosets” because they were closets literally.  This is all good and well until you have a problem. 

During our recent water debacle, we discovered that one of the toilets “ran.” So we need to replace the rubber stopper of the toilet.  But, of course, you can’t do that because those kinds of stoppers haven’t been made since...well, no one knows when they were last made.  So the “guts” of our water closet’s toilet need to be replaced.  That means that you literally have to take the whole toilet apart. So much more easily said than done. 

First of all, a water closet is NOT a standard size closet.  It’s the size of a closet when people owned two sets of clothes, work clothes and Sunday clothes, so you didn’t need a clothing rod, just shelves.  Shelf width is the width of our WC—each side of the toilet touches the respective wall.  And it’s not long either. If you needed to, you could almost wash your hands while you sat on the potty.  Not easy fit for two adults, various tools, and flashlights (because, of course, the lights in the WC have decided to be fitful at the same time as the toilet).  And it’s taking two adults because these bolts haven’t moved since the Roosevelt administration (?).  Cal’s hands are now covered with desiccated rubber, which is like tar mixed with grease. 

He’s on his way to the hardware store—but it’s only the second time today.  I’m sure the van will take many more trips over the next few hours.  Stay tuned.


  1. Quirky is the best adjective for an old house, isn't it? I once owned an 1875 Victorian...which was definitely an exerience!

    Best wishes for an easy fix!

  2. When you gotta go, you gotta go to the hardware store. It's true.

  3. Ooooh >.< my sympathies!

    In one old house I lived in, wiring fell on the copper piping, leading to a shocking showering experience.

    I still avoid touching the shower head.

  4. Ouch...At least the floor isn't falling out or something.... Merry Christmas