Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Great moments in home ownership.... toilet shopping

As my own spouse, I get to have the best of both worlds in home repair: I replace things which are not broken and completely ignore the things that are.

So you know that if I am toilet shopping they are all (why, oh why, did I buy this house?) in working order. Just doing my bit to help the economy.

I do not say they are "perfectly good," because they certainly are not, and I don't say "there is nothing wrong with them," because this device has only 2 jobs: empty and fill. It doesn't do either very well.

It empties too slowly, fills the same and much too loudly, and uses a full fish tank to do it. So with a holiday weekend upon me, I announced that I was going toilet shopping (mostly for an excuse to use the phrase).

In the droll way she has of putting things so economically, Jen said, "How does that conversation go?" Well I am here to answer that question.

Do you happen to remember a Mad magazine moment where they parodied the way denture cleansers use giant round "tablets" in place of an actual set of teeth, knowing it would freak us out past the point of buying their product. (Does a question mark go there? I lost the harness on that sentence...) In case you don't.

So the first thing you want to know is: what euphemisms are in play? Really good ones.

Most of the pamphlets and packaging refer to "material." As in, "...moves material quickly away..." "Away," being another nice euphemism. A nice farm, where it can run and play....

Some manufacturers brave the term "mass" and attempt to measure it. In girth, I am afraid to tell you. "...Everything in the bowl," another copywriter tried. A little too on-the-nose, I think. As was "callback." You want the originality of American Standard, the brand so old it didn't have to be clever, until -- I promise you ----

I personally know 4 toddlers who would like to take AS up on this challenge. golf balls? Seriously - see your doctor.

Jim, the Home Depot expert, a strapping old New Englanda just said, straight-faced, "peepee" and "poopie." Well, why not. He also told me he was going to have sit down while we talked because he only had half a lung. So we sat on the edge of the demo whirlpool and talked toilets for a while.

His personal opinion of the AS was that the Champion 4 was hard to get parts for, and he wasn't very impressed with it. He likes the Koehler Cimarron -- which means fugitive, by the way, and I don't need one more appliance with an attitude in this house.

Jim explained about the "rapids ratings" of toilets -- like any body of white water (harhar) you want the highest number possible. I said I want whatever the Marriott buys, with that single button on top that jettisons waste like a NASA pod.

Who are the dual-flush for, you ask? Californians. Here in Clinton, where we don't even pay for the water, we are not so won over by the 1 gal mellow-yellow flush. But we do admit that the 3 gal toilet is just silly.

I have had TWO friends tell me (independently of each other) that I should spring for the soft-close lid system. I did not know this was a problem anyone had. Is there a rash of lid slamming? Don't you know to bend your knees? You open and close your oven and dishwasher all day long and that is a lot heavier. I don't lift the lid. I don't close the lid. hell, I don't even close the door unless you are there, then when I do I remember that the wallpaper is peeling off back there. I can't deal with it now, because I have company, but soon you will be gone and I'll hide it behind the open door.

Here's the info on the whisper-shut or whatever it is. In case you are worried the Feds will bust in and hear where you hid the stash.

And here is a DrawingIn classic in the spirit of the post.


  1. golf balls? who makes this stuff up?
    Even the baroness encouraged her own brother to try breaking the toilet with a set of mighty building blocks circa 1969.

    so...what'd ya get?

  2. I lost my concentration at golf balls. I was imagining, in Jen's voice, how that meeting went.

    "See, you want something small, but with some weight."

    "But they're WHITE, Bob. Like you! I'm telling you, no one will make the leap."

  3. Sometimes replacing utiliarian items takes more time and money than buying "fine things" but the operative word here is utilitarian. If it's broke, fix it or replace it when you can't stand it any longer!!! M.

  4. And for goodness sake, get someone else's spouse to install it!! A toilet is much to heavy to lift alone!! M.

  5. Toilets account for approx. 30% of water used indoors. By installing a Dual Flush toilet you can save between 40% and 70% of drinking water being flushed down the toilet, depending how old the toilet is you are going to replace.
    If you are serious about saving water, want a toilet that really works and is affordable, I would highly recommend a Caroma Dual Flush toilet. Caroma toilets offer a patented dual flush technology consisting of a 0.8 Gal flush for liquid waste and a 1.6 Gal flush for solids. On an average of 5 uses a day (4 liquid/ 1 solid) a Caroma Dual Flush toilet uses an average of 0.96 gallons per flush. The new Sydney Smart uses only 1.28 and 0.8 gpf, that is an average of 0.89 gallons per flush. This is the lowest water consumption of any toilet available in the US. Caroma, an Australian company set the standard by giving the world its first successful two button dual flush system in the nineteen eighties and has since perfected the technology. Also, with a full 3.5″ trapway, these toilets virtually never clog. All of Caroma’s toilets are on the list of WaterSense labeled HET’s http://www.epa.gov/watersense/pp/find_het.htm and also qualify for several toilet rebate programs available in the US. Please visit my blog http://pottygirl.wordpress.com/2008/08/01/what-you-should-know-about-toilets/ to learn more or go to http://www.caromausa.com to learn where you can find Caroma toilets locally. Visit http://www.ecotransitions.com/howto.asp to see how we flush potatoes with 0.8 gallons of water, meant for liquids only. Best regards, Andrea Paulinelli


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