could the problem be the tank itself? that was the only answer i could think of, as i'd already checked the flush valve multiple times. i didn't see any cracks when i inspected it, but it could be micro cracks, or a material defect. i went online and did some research on toilet tanks. if i bought one and it didn't work, would i be able to return it? what's home depot's policy on used toilet equipment?
my upstairs neighbors came back, or at least one of them, i didn't see anyone, but i heard the noises. i remember paul told me that their new tenant would be moving in today so my days of single house occupancy has come to a short end. in the late morning i heard a knocking on their door, but i didn't have to a chance to check out the new tenant.
i finished the tub of red bliss potato salad for lunch while watching the news. my father called me asking for my help to move the upstairs apartment furniture from the kitchen back into the bedrooms so renovation work can be done in the kitchen, which i thought was happening today but apparently not. the newly finished floors seemed too good to be walked on. my father closed the cafe for 10 minutes to come help move some of the heavier items. afterwards i clipped some exposed telephone wires.
i rode the motorcycle to belmont, to wait for my mother's arrival later in the evening. i also had some cleaning to do, so the house wouldn't be a mess when she came back. my father said he already did some cleaning, but at the very least i would vacuum the house. i ended up dumping the vacuum canister 8 times, that's how dirty the house was. i also organized the sunroom, which has slowly turned into a large storage locker, with so much clutter you could hardly see the floor anymore. i put the jasmines and gardenia closer to the south-facing windows so they can get more sun. the sunroom still needs another pass to remove the clutter but at least everything is organized now. there wasn't much to do out in the backyard. i weeded a few dandelions, churned the compost bine, put up some solar lanterns, and planted a packet of fragrant sweet peas. there seems to be too many things growing on the trellises: sugar snap peas, hyacinth beans, and now sweet peas. as the season progresses, i'm also going to be planting some cucumbers and morning glories and moonflowers.
i finally finished cleaning by 5pm. my father went to the airport after work to pick up my mother, her japanese airline flight arriving around 6pm. i was actually able to listen to the logan airport control tower chatter as the plane came in for the landing, and tracked the plane on radar.
my parents didn't get home until around 7:30pm. my mother was on the same flight as my godmother, but jack went to the airport to pick up his mother. my mother had two heavy suitcases. she dug out a few packages of suanmei my cousin had gotten for me. earlier i'd cooked some rice and reheated a pot of chicken broth my father had left on the stove. he ended up making some scallion pancakes and we opened a tin of smoked mussels.
i returned home around 9pm. there must've been a brief shower since my motorcycle was wet but it was dry riding home other than the roads. it was dark in my upstairs neighbors' house and i didn't see their SUV's around so must've gone. also their front porch light was off, and that's always on, even during the daytime. all signs point to the new tenant having moved in. but steve didn't send me her contact info like he normally does. in fact, he hasn't communicated anything about their summer plans, and i learned all of it from paul from casual conversation. later in the evening i heard somebody coming home, the soft sound of the door closing, the clatter of plumbing as a toilet was flushed, and not much else. i think i'm going to like this new quiet tenant, whoever she is.
the first thing i did when i got into the house was to disassemble the toilet tank for the fourth time. the leak is definitely related to the bottom gasket underneath the flush valve. i carefully checked the tank once more for cracks. there was a scratch near the flush outlet but it wasn't deep enough to cause any leaking. i then put back the flush valve, maybe sure it was centered to the outlet. i also gave the locknut a quick tightening with the pliers before installing the tank back onto the toilet. it was still leaking.
at that point i was all out of ideas. the only thing to do now was either replace the tank or replace the entire toilet, neither of which i was in a hurry to do. the leak isn't so bad, just a tiny trickle, and i convinced myself that it probably amounted to a single toilet flush per day (1.6 gallon of water maximum). i could live with that until the day comes that i want to renovate the bathroom.
i went out and put the rain cover on the motorcycle and came back inside to take a shower. i ate some orange slices while watching the end of the red sox game.
when it finally came time for bed, i couldn't sleep knowing i didn't try fixing the toilet one more time. i'd been reading plumbing discussion groups and watching a bunch of online videos on fixing a slow trickling toilet. another idea was sealing the area around the flush valve gasket with some silicone caulk. but one thing i wanted to try was to really tighten the plastic locknut. i thought it was just supposed to be hand tight, but the instructions actually said, "hand tighten locknut and then use large adjustable pliers to go 1/2 beyond hand tight." could it be as simple as i didn't tighten the locknut enough? it sounded so easy it was worth a shot. by now - my fifth time removing the toilet tank - i could probably do it blind-folded. i was still careful though, my biggest fear is accidentally dropping and smashing the tank. i marked a spot on the locknut so i could see how far i've turned it. using the 12" groove joint pliers i started turning the locknut so it made half a revolution. i then put the tank back and turned on the water.
i flushed and waited. at first it was still trickling water from the usual spots. but then it did something i'd never seen before: usually the trickle is a small steady stream, but this time around the tickle ended into drops and stopped midway on the bowl before it reached the bottom. this was a promising sign. i wouldn't know for sure until tomorrow morning though whether or not the leak has been fixed.