Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tom vs. Toilet

Last week I posted a link to pictures of epic Pinterest fails, and this week I'm adding my own personal Pinterest fail to that list.

Our house sat vacant for a full year before we moved in, and during that year of neglect the standing water in our toilets did a number on the interior of the porcelain bowls. I experimented with a variety of store-bought and homemade cleaning products, but was never able to remove the unsightly stains and rings.

I'd seen many times on my Pinterest homepage the supposed solution to toilet bowl rings. It was SO simple, everyone claimed! Just drop a Magic Eraser into the bowl and let it sit overnight! In the morning, your toilet will be sparkling!

I decided to give the Magic Eraser method a try two nights before Thanksgiving. I explained to everyone in the house my plan, and informed them that under no circumstances could they use and/or flush the toilet in the bathroom where I would be testing the Magic of the Eraser. Once I dropped the little white square into the bowl, I closed and placed a box of tissues on top of the lid, not so much to keep the kids out, but to remind them that there was a reason the lid was closed and redirect them to a different bathroom.

The kids went to bed, Tom and I went to bed, and I slept soundly, dreaming about how happy I'd be in the morning when I awoke as the proud owner of the cleanest toilet in College Station.

Around 6:30am I heard - as part of my dream - Will's bedroom door open. Something about that noise, followed by the sound of his bare feet padding down the hallway and across the bathroom, caused me to stir. I knew there was something wrong with these noises, but I couldn't quite wrap my head around the problem because I was still half asleep.

Will has a strange/bad habit of flushing the toilet as soon as he starts peeing (I'm sure he'll love that I shared that tidbit of information, but since it's crucial to the story he's just going to have to get over it). He does it so frequently that when I hear someone start to pee, I automatically expect to hear the toilet flush 1.7 seconds later. It's kind of like Pavlov's Dogs. (On a semi-related note, Hallie is Will's exact opposite and has never once flushed a toilet in all her three-and-a-half years.)

I was still sleep-wondering why the sound of Will walking to the bathroom worried me when I heard him start to pee.  In an instant I was wide awake and without consciously making the decision to do so, I leapt out of bed and started running to the bathroom. Unfortunately it took me slightly longer than 1.7 seconds to get there, and by the time I skidded to a stop just outside the bathroom door the toilet had been flushed. The Magic Eraser had been flushed. The toilet had started overflowing. What a lovely way to begin the day.

I won't go into great detail about what happened next, but I will say that over the course of the next 24 hours, Tom and I tried just about everything we could think of - and everything the internet suggested - to get the Magic Eraser out of the toilet. Nothing worked, and one "solution" - the snake with a little claw/suction thingy on the end - made the situation worse, in that it severely scratched the porcelain inside the toilet.  To say we were both mad would be a tremendous understatement.  In my frustration I may or may not have told Will he was never allowed to pee again.  And then I may or may not have given him a giant candy cane to slow his tears and ease the vice grip they had on my conscience.)

We lived with the clogged toilet for three days because of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend (Tom couldn't buy the supplies and tools he needed because stores were closed), which was a spectacular holiday treat for the company we had staying at our house that week.

Our last hope (before calling the plumber, which I wanted to do on the first day and Tom wouldn't even consider) was to remove the toilet, which Tom did.  He is very strong and powerful and proud of himself.
I am Tom, hear me roar.
The mess the person who installed the toilet made of the bathroom floor.
The cursed Magic Eraser, next to my camera lens cover for size perspective.
Putting the toilet back was much harder than removing it, thanks to whoever improperly installed it in the first place, and required three additional trips to Lowe's for parts and three adults.

Three days without a working toilet, quite a bit of money spent on tools and parts, countless hours spent on researching how to and then taking care of the problem, and a scuffed toilet were not in any way worth it, especially considering the Magic Eraser method didn't work.  The ring is still there.


  1. I couldn't help but laugh hysterically! Our boys have flushed everything imaginable down our toilet. We have spare ooey gooey rings in the house because we lift it up often :-) ps must be a boy thing with that flushing! Both of mine do it-Amelia

  2. You never said if the Magic Eraser cleaned the toilet or not... lol

    1. After all that, the Magic Eraser didn't help the toilet at all!

  3. I have a friend who read somewhere to out magic eraser in the tank, and it would continually clean the toilet.

    Didn't work. And now the toilet is jammed completely by all the magic eraser thst got wedged into the pipe.

    Toilet rings, on the other hand, much easier to clean. Vinegar is great :)