housekeeping tips

My bad luck with toilets continues…

A few weeks ago, I used the original toilet seat on our “guest toilet” for the last time.  The guest toilet has what was probably once considered a “designer” toilet, shaped like a rectangle.  I don’t like the rectangular toilet.  I have a few reasons for feeling this way.  I think one of my most understandable peeves about it is that it’s not as easy to clean as a regularly shaped toilet is.  It sits really low to the floor and getting under the rim to get all of the shitty detritus off of it can be somewhat challenging.  But I think the biggest reason I don’t like the rectangular toilet is because we just discovered how difficult it is to change the seat.

On a fateful day in late April, I sat down on the “designer” toilet and heard a tiny crack.  One of the plastic hinges had broken, which made the seat shift.  Now… I am definitely not a slim person and never claimed to be, but I doubt I’m heavier than our new landlord is. He’s a big guy, and he used to live in this house.  He’s probably sat on that seat many times.  Based on what the hardware looked like when we removed it, I think it was the original one that came with the toilet.

Removing the seat, by the way, really took some doing because the bolts were pretty much stripped.  I think Bill had to buy a new flathead screwdriver to deal with the screw with a groove too shallow for his tools.  He also had to use Liquid Wrench to try to get the ancient bolt to release.  There was much swearing and time spent as he worked on loosening the bolts so we could replace the seat.

We naively thought it would be easy to get a new lid for the rectangular toilet.  We replaced one of the toilet seats in our last house.  It was a somewhat easy and inexpensive task.  I think we spent maybe 30 minutes and 30 euros or so.  Based on that experience, Bill and I both thought it would be simple enough to replace this seat, since we’ve seen several rectangular toilets in Germany.  In fact, there was one at the Waldhotel in the junior suite.  Our visions of simplicity were not to be realized.

Bill went down to the local hardware store and bought a seat he thought would work based on the measurements he took.  It cost about 70 euros.  The bolts on that seat were too big, so he couldn’t screw them into the toilet.  Even if he had been able to screw them in, it didn’t fit the commode properly.

I have an American friend who lives in the United Kingdom with her Irish husband and their six kids.  She was feeling my pain as I described our toilet seat search.  She says she has them in her house and never replaces the lids because they are so expensive.  Another friend echoed our frustration when she said she was never able to find an appropriately sized toddler seat for her son that would fit her rectangular commode.

After a couple of days of searching locally for the appropriate seat, Bill finally went to a British online toilet seat store, where he managed to track down the exact seat that goes to the toilet in our house.  They also had a generic one that was slightly cheaper.  Both were priced at over 200 GBP.

I suppose we could have gone to our landlord about this issue, but Bill is still quite shellshocked after dealing with our previous landlords.  Our current landlord has been very nice, respectful, and courteous, and we’d like for him to stay that way for as long as possible.  Besides, although all I was doing was using the seat in the way it was intended to be used– ie: sitting on it while I peed–, I wasn’t wanting to invite any lectures about how to use the toilet, especially since I’ve been using them for well over 40 years.

Bill ordered the original “brand name” version of the seat that goes to our toilet.  It took about two weeks to get to us, although the British supplier shipped it from a German affiliate.  After dinner last night, Bill set about trying to install it, which turned out to be quite an adventure.  It was pretty hard to get the bolts on the new seat lined up just right.  I was awkwardly trying to hold the lid up while Bill screwed, but he’d get to a point at which the screw would no longer turn.  I wished he’d brought his power screwdriver with him, but it’s 110 volts.  I guess it’s time to invest in one that can be used here.  There have been a couple of instances in which it would have come in handy.

This model is called the “Michaelangelo white”.  Given what it costs, I can see why.  It came with Phillips head screws, rather than the flathead screws that were on the original seat.

Bill was getting really frustrated, so I asked him to let me try the screwing.  Sure enough, this time, I was able to screw better than he was.  It’s not so often I can say that.  I managed to get the screw he’d been fighting all the way in, then got the other one most of the way until I had to let him take over, because his hands are stronger than mine are.  He finally got the second bolt screwed down tightly, and now our “designer” toilet is back in order.


I think our landlord recently installed new toilets in the other two bathrooms, because they are identical to each other and neither of them are shaped like this.  After this ordeal, I’m going to try to avoid using the rectangular seat.  I don’t want to tempt fate.  
Actually, I was kind of tempted to buy a washlet for the toilet, but with our luck, we’d never find one that fits properly.  For as much as we spent on that seat, we probably could have just replaced the whole thing.

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