The Story Of The Rock 'N Roll Toilet

So a few words about toilets.

The toilet that was in the house was a beautiful old pink toilet. We weren't exactly sure when it was from but it was from a ways back.

Kawama, Astoria, Queens

It was also giant bitch of a toilet. It took about ten minutes to fill after you flushed it. It was like riding around in a pink ceramic Cadillac.

As renters, we never had to think about water rates or water bills or anything about the water other than we were entitled to it.

As homeowners, every time we flushed that bitch of a toilet we thought about the water bill — and the longer it took to refill — every 30 or 40 seconds (or ten minutes) of listening to water drain, drain, drain into the tank — the more it shook you to your very core.

But like I said, it was a beautiful pink toilet. Of course the lid was cracked in two, and there was the slightest hairline fracture in the bowl itself, which, if you didn't clean the toilet for a few days, developed just a hint of a funk-mold hairline that waved in the current when the toilet flushed. Which is to say, we probably needed to replace the toilet.

Now when you get to replace a toilet there's a certain thrill in shopping for the most water efficient model ever created. You study the liters-per-flush stats and it just kills you how fucking green you are being. It hurts.

The only thing with buying a new toilet is that there are only three colors they really make: white, off-white and black. With our pink and black tiles, that left us just one real choice — black. The rock 'n roll toilet.

When it came to paint colors, I deferred entirely to Jen. When it comes to most style decisions, I defer to her. But for some reason I was really adamant about having a rock n' roll toilet. It just looked so correct. So that's what we did. We bought a rock n' roll toilet. And a rock n' roll toilet seat to go with our rock n' roll toilet.

Kawama, Astoria, Queens

The other thing that was sweet: You can buy a toilet on Amazon and they will deliver a toilet to your house. I don't know how we would have done it otherwise.

How hard is it to install a toilet? Like everything else — negotiating real estate, pruning rose bushes, raising children — you Google it. It's pretty straightforward, though I did have to go to more than one place to find a flange — the thingy that attaches to the subfloor that holds on the toilet itself (what those two bolts at the bottom do).

That said, there is the issue of the wax ring. If you've never unhooked a toilet from the floor, the wax ring is a ring of wax that globs together the toilet pedestal to the flange and seals the waste line from the rest of the bathroom. The only tricky thing about the wax ring is that after you glob it to the bottom you don't really see it once you set the toilet on the floor — so there's really only one shot to get it right. After it's on there, it's hidden from view for as long as you want to ignore it.

There's nothing like the feeling of accomplishment after installing a toilet and flushing it for the first time. And not seeing water seep out from the bottom of the base of it after you do so.

There is of course an irony in installing a water-efficient toilet: You (meaning I) are (am) much less likely to "let anything mellow" on the theory that you're never really wasting water with a water-efficient toilet. It's the kind of perverse logic that says that bicyclists and football players are safer without helmets.

I couldn't bear to part with the pink toilet completely, so I convinced Jen that we should install it in the backyard as a planter, as a way of sort of respecting the history of Kawama. It's not the ideal thing to plant stuff in — but not because of what you're thinking. Rather, a toilet is designed to hold water in the bowl, which means that it doesn't really drain correctly, which means that it kind of sucks as a planter. The stuff we had growing in there this summer did OK (a fern and some leftover hosta plants that were in the backyard when we moved in), but I don't know that we'll plant, say, herbs in there anytime soon. Like I said, drainage issues — plus, it's kind of gross to think about anyway. This isn't the best image — it's actually from August on the day before the hurricane/tropical storm hit when it was really raining — but you can see what we did:

Kawama, Astoria, Queens

In the end, I finally figured out when the bathroom dates from — it turns out that every toilet bowl basically has a date stamp. So this one says (if I can make it out correctly) "Nov 29 1965." Which means it was made the Monday after Thanksgiving in 1965:

Kawama, Astoria, Queens

That makes sense when you look at the décor of the bathroom — it's basically 1960s. Our rock n' roll toilet has a date stamp of sometime in March of 2011 (I forgot to take a picture of it before I installed the toilet).

Posted: January 22nd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: The Cult Of Domesticity | Tags: , , , ,

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