For reasons I cannot fully fathom, I am the only person in the household with the requisite skillset to unclog a toilet.

At this point the Wife usually hurries to point out that she has, in fact, plunged the kids’ toilet. Once. Which means I have only dealt with 99.99% of the clogged toilets in the house. But I digress.

The toilet in our children’s bathroom was, until this weekend, some kind of cursed porcelain vessel of malice. After flushing, it only held about six tablespoons of water at the bottom of the bowl, and it clogged if you put more than three sheets of toilet paper in it. When you consider that our children are not what you would call ‘pro-active’ in their toilet habits, this resulted in a ridiculous number of clogs that I, personally, had to deal with.

This last weekend, I decided I had had enough. The toilet had to go.

So, I went to Home Depot, and picked up a Kohler Cimarron Comfort Height toilet with the proprietary Class 5 flushing system. According to their website:

The Class Five technology, engineered for extraordinary bulk flushing performance, is available on Cimarron Comfort Height toilets. With names inspired by the raw power of whitewater rapids, this powerhouse features an industry-leading 3 1/4-inch flush valve, combined with an efficient, direct-fed jet, to maximize water flow and allow for an eco-friendly, 1.4-gallon flush setting option.

“Extraordinary bulk flushing performance.” Now THAT’S what I’m talking about.

So, I left Home Depot with a bowl, a tank, a wax ring, and various and sundry ancillary tools. And I began to remove the old toilet.

I got the old toilet disassembled and taken out to the garage, and began cleaning the old wax ring off the pipe flange in the bathroom floor. It was disgusting. It also didn’t look anything like the many illustrations I had been studying. There was no flange that I could slide a closet bolt into. Instead there was a badly rusted cast iron ring with two rusty threaded holes.

This led to my SECOND trip to the hardware store, where the nice associate looked at the digital pictures I had taken of the cursed flange and grimaced. “I hate those things” he said. Well, me too. It turns out the only thing to do is to use the closet bolts I had, screw them into the flange upside down, hacksaw off the heads, and attach the toilet bowl. Piece of cake.

So I put the wax ring in place, seated the toilet bowl, leveled it, and attached it to the floor. Then I started to attach the tank.

Except, I didn’t seem to have a gasket to put between the bowl and the tank. The gasket was prominently shown in the illustrated instructions, and I knew exactly where it should have gone, but I didn’t have one. They hadn’t included one in the tank kit that I had purchased.

This led to my THIRD trip to the hardware store.

Once I had a gasket, I finished installing the toilet, and then went to hook up the water supply. At this point I realized that I had grabbed a 1/2″-fitted flexible hose instead of a 3/8″-fitted flexible hose. It was my error. But it was too damn late to go to the store again. So I gritted my teeth and went to bed.

In the morning, I installed the toilet seat, and then made my FOURTH trip to the hardware store for the connecting hose. I hooked up the toilet, filled it with water, and gave it a flush. There were no leaks.

The new toilet does have an exceptionally powerful, albeit short, flush. Supposedly even though it uses less water, it is harder to clog. I certainly hope so. If nothing else, it is much, much quieter. And the kids are rather pleased with it.

So, after only a day-and-a-half and four trips to Home Depot, I got the kids’ toilet replaced. Good thing I hadn’t decided to tackle something really challenging.