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The wax ring of death

July 3, 2008

I’m not a handy man by any definition of the term, but I’m also not a complete idiot when it comes to simple home repairs.  When I was a kid, I’d love to take my toys apart to see how they worked, and to a lesser extent to see if I could put them back together and have them work just as well as they did before I broke them down.  In my later years, I’ve turned that same engineering attitude toward building and upgrading numerous computers and servers for myself to play around with.  So I’m not unfamiliar with the standard and phillips head screwdrivers, torx drivers, pliers, etc.

But for some reason, when I have to apply those same skills I use on small things to larger things like a house, I tend to get a little scared.  I mean, this thing has water and electricity running through my walls in very close proximity to wood.  I’m not a certified electrician.  I’m not a certified plumber.  I don’t want to mess around too much with that stuff.

However, every once in awhile, a project comes along that isn’t so tough, or at least it doesn’t appear to be.  Take, for example, this weekend’s home repair project:  replacing a wax ring seal on the bottom of one of our toilets.  I’ve seen this done numerous times on home improvement shows and I’ve read a couple of online tutorials on it.  Looks pretty easy and cheap.  Shut off the valve next to the toilet, remove the toilet, scrape off the old seal, put on the new seal, and put the toilet back in place.  Tighten everything down and you’ve got yourself a freshly sealed toilet.  Thank god because the last time we used this toilet, a pretty blue waterfall cascaded through our drywall and splashed down into the basement.  It wasn’t too much water, and it only happened when it was flushed, but now we have a cool blue stain on the kitchen ceiling from the toilet above it…

Wish me luck.

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