Unfortunately, I have become very closely acquainted with how a toilet works. Thanks to owning my own place, I have frequented Lowe's and Home Depot to buy parts that I don't actually know the name for. Here is how these conversations usually go:
Man in the colored vest: "Hello, may I help you find something?" (because we both know I look slightly out of place here.)
Me: "No, but thank you." This might seem silly to some, but I have an aversion to being helped in most stores. I am working through the problem, kind of.
Five minutes later, Me: Why is there no one around here to help me?!? But I do actually know this is a ridiculous thought.
Another five minutes later, Me: "Um, excuse me, do you know where I can find a piece to fix a toilet? I think it is called a washer, it's rubber and it's small and it's black?" And my dad told me this much, but I don't admit to this yet.
Man in the colored vest: "Sure, it's right here." (Pointing to something approximately 10 inches from my face.)
Me: "Of course, musta looked right over it." Cue the turn and high-tail it out move.
So, here is the sought after piece. Looks pretty small huh? But my dad assures me it will cause the toilet to flush again. And I trust him with toilet issues. He has fished out many a lego from a toilet in his day.
So, he walks me through how to take apart the piece and insert the new replacement seal (because that is it's real name, I learned). I do it fairly quickly and feel pretty self-sufficient. Until the toilet refuses to fill more than once.
Blast. So, I go to another store and get another brand that is sure to work better and fit my toilet. Same steps, same results.
Must need another piece.
So I visit the home improvement store for the third time in 1 week. And I get this piece right here. Makes me look like I REALLY know what I'm doing, huh?
Take three: I open up the tank and go to work. (With my dad on speaker phone, of course. You know when your dad starts answering the phone with, "Hello, this is your local plumber, what's your question?" that you've been spending too much time with your toilet.)
I took it apart and put the new part in. Check out this piece. I never knew a toilet had so many intricate parts.
Not that I have ANY idea HOW it works, but I do know it WORKS!
I never thought I would say it, but the sounds of a toilet flushing may be the best sound I've heard all day.
Success. Sweet success.