Another lovely cool day here at the little house in the city.

I enjoyed my morning coffee black; clear fluids only. I tried a cup of chicken broth, but found it so disgusting that I gagged. Then it was ginger ale, which I am tolerating nicely. I looked for fruit juice in the grocery store yesterday, but came home with only apple juice, which I hate. Acceptable fruit juices must not be red or purple or contain my allergen. They put my allergen in almost all fruit juice. Apple juice was the only product available in the store that met all three prerequisites. So right now, I am down to ginger ale, straight tea and black coffee, for the next two days.

The afternoon brought visitors; two handsome young fellows. Strolling by on the street, they chose our front yard and drive as a perfect place for a rest and a roll. The beautifully healthy and fearless young red foxes paid no attention to us whatsoever, as we watched their antics from the house.

Two foxy young visitors! These two young foxes decided to plop themselves down on the gravel in front of our house, where they rolled around, scratched, rubbed noses with each other, and lay about for some time. I spoke to them at one point, from the safety of the house, but after looking straight at me, they decided I was uninteresting and carried on as if I wasn’t there. Eventually they trotted down the street a ways, then cut through our yard towards the back, where there is a bush. It isn’t often that you see young foxes relaxing on an urban street!

Toilet Renovation Details

After much discussion with Attila about the toilet installation, I have come to the conclusion that we have two serious problems to contend with. One is the raised flange, which requires the toilet to be raised. The second is the sagging floorboards, which require shims and other work arounds to correct.

I have been doing a lot of research on how to raise the toilet, because the flange is 1 inch higher than it needs to be.

Most of the advice is to replace the flange with a newer, lower one. This doesn’t work in this house. The original design has the plumbing running from the front of the house to the back, then across the back to the sewer. If it was lowered, one could not walk under it. Since it is across the middle of the house, this is a big problem.

The drain pipe that runs perpendicular to the floor across the middle of the house between the floor studs, and has very little slope, so the flange was elevated to provide adequate slope to the other side of the house; without lowering the drain pipe, which would prevent access to the back half of the basement. This is probably necessary. One wonders about building codes in days gone by!

So, we will leave the flange as it is, and will build a pedestal out of plywood to raise the toilet one inch. I have discovered that a pedestal to raise a toilet is called a closet slab, were commonly made out of marble, and they are not available anymore. Wood is not ideal for this application, as it can rot when exposed to moisture; and this is a toilet after all. So, eventually we will have a base made out of some kind of solid waterproof material, probably have it custom cut from Corian or Megantic solid surface counter top material. The counter top material is only 1/2 inch thick, so two pieces will be needed, so as to layer them.

But first, before going to all the trouble of having custom made closet slabs cut, we will do a trial run with a homemade plywood closet slab.

The second problem is much more troubling, and that is the sagging floorboards. The sagging is a result of the hack job on the floor joist under the toilet.

Floor joists under the toilet, no wonder they are sagging! Note the original floor joist has a whole section cut out of it, and has been reinforced by two pieces of wood nailed on either side of it. The whole thing sags, more than 1/4 inch.

After we discussed different ideas for a while, Attila suggested replacing the floor joist with LVL, a huge job. The bathroom would not be renovated this year if we chose to replace the floor joist with LVL. I suggested we use a length of it, and a telescopic post, to level and raise the sagging floor joist. We are optimistic that this solution will work to correct the sagging floorboards.

We have a lot of work ahead of us to properly install the new toilet!

Worldly Distractions


Condition: Clear
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 14.3°C
Dewpoint: 10.7°C
Humidity: 79%
Wind: calm


“Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn’t.”
Erica Jong

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I am a faithful viewer of all the various house-hunting and home improvement shows on TV, and it never fails that when they think they can just replace a few walls, paint a little, and be done with it, once they open up walls and floors, there is always a big job facing them somehow. Houses deteriorate. And it’s really amazing that these old houses last as long as they do without falling down completely. I can go into the basement and under where the 1st floor bathroom is, I can look up and see the underbelly of the bathtub! I wonder what’s holding it up? Every time I step into the bathtub/shower, I always think I’ll fall thru into the basement.

Joan Lansberry

Curious, I looked up LVL, to learn it is “laminated veneer lumber”. I admire your resourcefulness. Those two foxes are adorable.


My house in Connecticut, built some time in the mid 18th century, had the sagging floor problem just about everywhere, it seemed. One day, while I was practising the piano, the piano started to sink through the floor! I yelled for my Dad, and he moved it to a more secure area of the room until the floor could be repaired.

The solution he came up with was to put jacks, telescopic posts, as strategic points in the cellar from floor to joists up above. The solution worked fine for many years (and eventually I left home to go to University, so I don’t know what happened after that. Never heard any more about it so I assume all was OK).

If you used a telescopic post, where would the butt of it be? Cellar floor underneath?


Foxes at play … a definite treat. Lucky you.