In my recent description of our electric toilet, I boldly declared it clog-proof.  While I’m sure many wise men shook their heads grimly at my foolishness, allow me to point out that it’s not that people haven’t tried.

Shortly after our carpenter left the boat yesterday, Tanya alerted me to an alarming noise from the toilet during flushing.  We both came to the conclusion a screw had somehow been dropped in it during the course of the day.  The toilet still worked and I gave it a couple good flushes to see if it could pass the screw, but felt that the screw was ultimately going to win this contest and that I’d better get it out.  

As far as working on toilets goes, this was a piece of cake.  Since the toilet wasn’t actually clogged, I could run a lot of water through it to clear the discharge line first.  And since the toilet macerates as it flushes, the discharge line is only 1” so there was only about a quart of liquid in it anyway.  I was able to get a little bucket under the connection and managed to catch every drop of what came out when I opened it.  Compared to the gallon of shit that always ends up on the floor in the other bathroom, this was a big success already.

Once disconnected, I turned the toilet upside down, loosened a couple screws and one hose clamp and the pump was free.  I turned it around, looked inside, and there, bright and shiny like a little gem, was a 1” #8 oval head screw.  

The carpenter is not going to hear the end of this for quite a while, but actually I’m very happy.  Not that he dropped a screw in my toilet of course, but that the removal went so smoothly.  I had it apart and back together again in less than an hour, which is a record.  The boat did not have to be evacuated, and no mopping with bleach or full-body scrubbing was required afterward, all of which are part of a normal toilet repair in my experience.

While removing the screw, I discovered evidence that another crime had been committed.  I found some string and what looked like a cardboard tube wrapped around the shaft of the chopper blade.  Even with my limited experience, I know a feminine product when I see one.  I guess I can’t blame that on the carpenter.  A guest must have flushed that months ago.  I was shocked that it had been done, but also immensely gratified that the toilet survived unscathed.

I never like disassembling a toilet.  And obviously we’re going to be more careful about telling guests how to use it.  But if the only thing I really have to actively deal with is when somebody drops something metal in it, I’m okay with that.