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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Catholicism and the Art of Home Maintenance

So this afternoon, my dear friend Cathy and I went out for lunch and then she accompanied me to Home Depot so that I could buy a new toilet seat. Because it’s such a seemingly-odd item, I had to explain that she’ll be happier dog-sitting next week if the thing she has to sit on (when she does her own business) won’t mortally wound her. I would never forgive myself if my upstairs toilet killed my friend. The dog is fine...the toilet seat is dangerous!

For you see, the seat cover on the commode in my upstairs bathroom, which is a full bath, has one of those old wooden seats and it happens to be cracked. And the crack has gotten suddenly worse…using that particular toilet could be an experience no one would want to discuss especially upon a trip to the ER to repair the damage. Thus, the seat must be replaced.

Of course, we could not avoid the hilarity as we wandered the aisles at Home Depot, looking for toilet seats. At first, as we were unable to find them, but DID find a sign for “Restrooms” we discussed going THERE to get one. And then we, being Catholic, discussed the ensuing sacramental Confession we would have to make, having committed theft…of a toilet seat….

“Father forgive me for I have stolen a…a....toilet seat…..”

Neither of us could walk upright for awhile as we considered the implications of theft of public restroom facilities. And having to confess this sin. (Ironically, I REALLY had to GO at the time…)

So you see, one cannot be Catholic without our faith entering even into the most mundane of tasks...which, as I said, today involved purchasing a toilet seat.

We were not reduced to theft, however, for we found the aisle with the seats and so I was able to purchase one from my hard-earned funds.

Now, you would THINK that replacing a toilet seat is easy….RIGHT?!

But NO! You’d be WRONG!

It LOOKS easy…first you get a screwdriver and twist the bolts in the existing seat and lid, then once they are removed, you take the new seat and replace the new screws and anchors. NO PROBLEM!



The screws in the old seat are rusted. Which from the exterior seems fine, for they twisted with no problem. And therein lies the problem; the screws turn but won’t come out. I tried prying the anchor with the head of one screwdriver while twisting the screws with the Phillip’s head screwdriver…still nuthin’.

I REFUSE to call a professional to replace a toilet seat! I am one of those people who SHOULD NOT own a home, because I’m completely helpless when it comes to tools and maintenance and the like. But come ON! A toilet seat? A three-year-old could do this!

I did give up for now, because I feared saying some words that would drive me back to Confession, which was so thinly avoided this afternoon when faced with the temptation of public-restroom toilet-seat theft. In fact, I may call a friend whose fiancé does home remodeling; he may have some suggestions as to how to deal with this problem.

I tried WD-40 already…it helped clear away some of the rust. My next attempt will involve getting out the duct tape. Because, as I’ve always heard, WD-40 and Duct Tape can fix ANYTHING…..can it fix this?


My other dear friend, Fr. Schnippel, apparently is an expert both in Catholicism and the Art of Home Maintenance. So, although he was laughing hysterically at me, he provided some useful advice and, although I was terrified of spiders, I reached underneath the toilet and found the nut that was just letting the bolt spin. Ironically, the bolt that looked the worst was the easiest - the other bolt needed a blind dose of WD-40.

And I'm thrilled to report that I did not find any spiders...they apparently find the underside of toilets to be nasty and useless locations, too.

There's no word on whether Fr. Schnippel will hear my confession and provide absolution for the earlier temptation and the words I almost said earlier this evening.... I thought them even though they did not emerge from my mouth. (Although I hold that I would have been justified....)

For now, though, my upstairs toilet looks like one in Mexico; seatless. I took the opportunity to clean the area really really well and let any moisture dry before I install the new seat.

Yes, you know why women REALLY want the seat down! Because, guaranteed, we're the ones to do all the hard labor to replace it, and thus, if YOU don't move it up and down as intended, then our labours (note European and Canadian spelling) go unnoticed.

So...the moral to the story is this: You CAN be a good Catholic and replace a toilet seat without theft and using bad language, and if you are struggling (with home maintenance) call or email a priest and he will explain how to fix the problem.


Cathy_of_Alex said...

Uh-oh! I wonder if the screws are stripped. Probably just rusted on. The WD-40 should help. Gosh, maybe we should have lifted some grease from the Chinese joint?

I'm so happy that you don't want me to call you and announce that I have splinters in my ___________ while you are gone!

Thanks for thinking of me. I'm deeply touched.

LOL! But, it's all true!!!!

Adoro said...

ROFL! Better deeply touched than deeply cut!

(Besides...I didn't want to use the downstairs half-bath for the next week....)

But there's MORE! I'm about to publish an update...

Adrienne said...

I did the same thing the first time I put on a new seat. Didn't realize there was a nut underneath (not me) Father S is a wonder!!

Anonymous said...

Sorry you have a Lutheran here, but I have a Catholic wife and children, does that allow me to comment? I enjoyed the story of your adventure; it was a nice way to start off my day. When my neighbor had a similar situation, she called me in to remove the seat for her. Maybe that is what you need: a willing neighbor for home maintenance. Have a blessed day.

uncle jim said...

i'm glad i read this post so late in the foray.
as i read it, i kept thinking, "Surely she knows there is a nut
underneath and not just the one above turning the screwdriver."

i didn't get to be the 'answer man'.

that Fr. S, he's quite a guy. i wonder if he has tips on installing a pre-hung back door for my missus. all my advise on that one has her mumbling under her breath. i may have to take her up on her suggestion - "well, if you know so much, why don't you install this door."

but then i'd miss out on all the fun and i'd have those awful temptations to use words i don't usually use.

maybe i'll call a pro for her.

uncle jim said...


NOOOOO, I am AM NOT really letting my wife install a new pre-hung back-door. but she is looking at them in the big-box DIY stores ... and my temptation is to let her try it once one is bought. after-all, it is summer, and school teachers do get layed-off every summer, so it isn't like she doesn't have the time right now.

what do you think?

Anonymous said...

Frank ~ Thanks for your comment, and I welcome friendly visits from everyone! (And incidentally, my Dad was Lutheran, too.) I do have a neighbor who has done a few things to help me out over the years I've been here, but I figured that this particular job is just too easy for that!

Uncle Jim ~ I think you should let her try...and then just keep a pro on-call. :-)

Laura The Crazy Mama said...

Toilet humor...with a moral to the story! This was an awesome post!

Father Schnippel said...

What can I say: Jack of all trades, and master of none!

REally, my dad owns a commercial construction company, which means all house repairs were down 'in-house.' I paid attention, and was delegated quite a number of tasks as well. It made me come to the quite firm assertion that I was not called to the construction trades!

Glad I could help and that the seat is now firmly rooted

Lillian Marie said...

Fathers are certainly full of help, aren't they?

Recently, I was going to replace the doorbell on the outside of my house. I've done it before with my dad by my side, I figured I could do it again. I paid attention.

I bought the doorbell, had the tools, took off the old door bell, and when I tried to put the new one on, the wire snapped. I had almost an inch of wire to use (rather than the 2 inches that was there originally). I tried contorting my hands, fingers, wire, etc. to get the wire to attach to the doorbell..but no avail. And I knew better than to touch the wires together. 20 minutes of pinching, molding, contorting, pulling...and nothing!! The wire was caught on something and I could not pull out the slack that is normally available. The wire was too short!

So, I did the next best thing... DAD!!!! Yep, I called my dad. Wires hanging out of the side of my house, exposed to the elements (luckily it had not started raining yet) waiting for my dad to come and save the day.

Like Fr. S., my dad is literally a jack-of-all-trades.

Lillian Marie said...

Adoro - I just thought of something... I guess it is true...

'Father knows best!' LOL

Sarah Peel said...

I just found your blog, and I gotta say I am glad I did.

I feel bad for you, I hope if you ever have to replace it again, that it will be easier for you.

Melody K said...

Adoro, if it's any consolation, guys have been known to have problems with "simple" repairs such as replacing a toilet seat, too. My hubby once broke a hole in the toilet bowl trying to fix the seat. We ended up with a whole bigger problem than we started with. The plumber had to be called, and thought the incident was way too funny. (We had kind of lost our sense of humor by then.)

Terry Nelson said...

Adoro - you are so trusting to let Cath watch your house... I can't wait to see it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Terry ~ She's not watching my house...she's watching my dog! I don't care about the house! It can rot! The dog, however, cannot rot.


Cathy_of_Alex said...

Terry: I gave you the directions for the party right? *kidding*

Perhaps, Father S should have blessed this toilet seat beforehand? Oh, well, I'd still rather not get splinter in my ______.

Thanks Father and Adoro!

Rev. Daren J. Zehnle, J.C.L., K.C.H.S. said...

That's great!