When success equals failure


I’m not trying to use Orwellian doublespeak on you, I promise. I have to tell you about my toilet troubles.

Wait, where are you going? Why are you running away with a disgusted look on your—oh, I get it. I just said that sentence out loud. No, this won’t be a story about bodily functions. My toilet tank got a crack and a leak.

And after an unsuccessful attempt to cheaply patch it with silicone goop, I escalated the repair process. Time to replace the tank!

You may not have delved into the exciting world of uncertainty that is household repairs, so let me tell you it is maddening. I live in a 50 year old town house. It is made almost entirely of poured concrete, so you can’t move pipes or drains. My toilets are also 50 years old, and are special models to accommodate the aforementioned drain restrictions. Is it easy to find a replacement tank for a specialty toilet from the Seventies? GOOD GOD NO.

But I thought it would be easy, so I tried it. Bought a tank, got it home, realized it wouldn’t fit, and had a little cry. Then I went back to the internet, furiously googling in search of a hail mary solution. Nothing.

So I steeled myself for an in-person interaction with a gruff plumber, and went down to the plumbing supply store. I walked in and boldly admitted that I was stumped and needed help. I had a suspicion about the answer I was going to receive, but I held out hope.

Hope denied. The gruff plumber humouring my request broke the news to me without hesitation. “You’re not gonna find a replacement tank for that” he said after taking one look at the photo of my old weird toilet. The good news is that they can order and install a new specialty toilet for me, for the heart-attack-inducing price of $1000. Thousand dollar toilet??? And it doesn’t play music or automatically bathe your nethers clean???


My inclination is to put this in the ‘loss’ column and feel bad about failing, but I am attempting to adjust my perspective. I put in the work, I researched, and I reached out to an expert. These are all successes.

And the end result is that I have successfully identified that this repair is outside of my ability to address. I could have chosen to avoid the expert, tried another tank that would not have fit, all the while wasting time and money. Instead, I will mark this as a victory, congratulate myself for an exemplary effort, and head down to the corner to dance for nickels. Thousand dollar toilets don’t pay for themselves.



Published by Chris

I'm an author, freelance writer, dad, and civic busybody living in London, Ontario

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