• Erin Griffith-Internally Screaming

When Toilets Attack-Episode I

The toilet, for all intents and purposes, is a truly unassuming appliance. It is the porcelain equivalent of a vacuum that takes our shame and sends it to a place where we no longer have to suffer its appearance or smell.

The toilet is an item we rarely see used on prime-time tv dramas and we like to think that our grandmothers and mothers use them about as often as they have sex (never, ever). Some toilets could be declared historical landmarks because of the sheer amount of time that they have existed. My mother and grandmothers toilets have been around for decades. My grandmothers toilet, a huge avocado monstrosity, has been around since the 40s, so it is older than my own mother. And my mothers toilet, a sky blue edifice, was installed in the year 1976, so it is older than me.

Neither of these good old johnnies is water efficient (at all), and if the toilet seat breaks, good luck finding one that is the right size or color, and they are huge-just enormous in size. AAAANNNNND neither of these wise old thrones has ever attacked their own house.

Not like my bastard of a low flow, water efficient, midget sized, cheaply made, hole in the floor toilet, that decided to overflow for hours and destroy the first floor of my house.

Let me set the scene for you. I get home from work and hear dripping. Like, water dripping into....more water (which is never a good sound unless you are at a tropical waterfall in some exotic location). I sent my daughter around to check the bathrooms and she yells from upstairs "Mommy, it's like a swimming pool up here!"

I glanced up and saw that the light fixture above my head is full of water and more water is continuing to run down into the bowl. Which was actually the dripping I was hearing.

My first thought was...nothing. I literally stood in shock, because I knew what was happening, I knew that water was running down into the walls and first floor ceiling. My second thought was "What the ever loving FUCK?!"

The toilet bowl in the kids bathroom was just continuing to overflow and drool a steady stream of contaminated water out onto the bathroom floor. And it had been doing this for an unknown amount of time. Then, as if the first floor was just an appetizer, the water flowed down walls and into my basement, where it dripped into my husbands wood shop, consuming large expensive pieces of hardwood and dripping all over his vintage heavy duty table saw.

After I shut off the water to the toilet, the kids and I used every towel we could find to soak up the standing water. Standing with my shoes soaked in toilet water on my completely saturated hall carpet, I knew that it was already too late. I knew that a disaster had already started. So, the kids and I watched as orange and yellow water stains began creeping across the ceiling on the first floor...until they started dripping.

This was only the beginning.

For a second, I thought to myself, welp, the whole house is ruined, we'll need to throw it out and start again.

Then, I set to calling the insurance company and a plumber. The plumber, I knew was going to cost me a kidney because I was calling after hours and, when I spoke to the insurance company, I made sure to remind them that we have been paying for home insurance for close to fifteen years and have never called them for hopefully this (however it was going to end) should be paid for with a goddamned smile.

Ok, so I may get hostile when I am overly stressed and am watching water slowly fill my light fixtures and drip out of the ceiling into my new calphalon pots and pans and fiestaware bowls that my children were setting around to catch the drips.

The plumber found that a huge clog, too small of a wax ring, and faulty flush assembly were the trifecta that caused the ultimate destruction of my house. He reset the toilet with a non wax (appropriately sized) ring, a new flush assembly, and a word of warning about what to flush down the toilet. Apparently, flushable wipes are not actually flushable...who knew.

Then came Serv-Pro (who also clean up murder scenes...I think) which is good, because my house was MURDERED by a toilet, came and set up dehumidifiers and fans.

By fans I mean FANS. It was like having a category 2 hurricane in our house. It was deafening having these fans in the house for a week. You could scream across the room and nobody could here you. Luckily, my children looked upon this whole experience as a great adventure. So, that is the attitude I am taking...this is our next great adventure.

They also came and removed ceilings, floors, and walls. They closed off the living area of the house so that we were protected from the dust and detritus from the destruction. You know that scene in ET when the CDC comes and turns Elliot's house into a HAZMAT containment area. It was like that.

More to come when the repairs start.


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