Our downstairs toilet hasn't been working right for about a month. (This is the only toilet on the main level of the house so you can imagine how annoyed I've been.) The toilet would flush but sometimes the water would go down really slowly while other times it would go down at a normal rate, but always after it had flushed the toilet paper would float back up.
Of course we tried plunging, which didn't seem to do much, but finally one day I realized that there was probably a toy stuck in the toilet that we couldn't see, most likely put there by the smallest child. Jeremy tried putting his hand down there but it was too big so he couldn't tell. Naturally, we turned to our older two and said, "Who's willing to stick their hand in the toilet for us?" Surprisingly, neither of them volunteered. We tried and tried, but neither of them would budge. Then I remembered that Tyler was saving up his money for something and he was shy $2 of his goal, so I said, "Tyler, if you stick your hand down that toilet I'll give you $2." He thought about that and worked it out in his mind and whimpered a bit about it but finally got the courage up to stick his hand in the toilet.
And was there a toy in there?
I was beginning to think that I would be out the cost of a plumber AND the $2 we paid Tyler to put his hand in the toilet. Jeremy tried a snake, more plunging, and anything else he could think of.
Then today, Saturday, Jeremy's day to get things done, I came downstairs to find him working on the toilet. After a little research and a few other failed attempts, he tore the whole toilet apart in attempt to fix it. A bit later he called me, "Lisa, come see this." When I enter the bathroom Jeremy hands me a flashlight and motions towards the base of the toilet, which is now laying upside down on the bathroom floor. I peeked through the S-curve and there, lodged in the toilet is a Lightning McQueen pencil. A full size pencil too, not some sharpened down stub.
So we called in Ryan and said, "Ryan, did you put this pencil down in the toilet?"
He looked at it with recognition in his eyes and said, "yeah".
So we said again, "You put this pencil in here?"
This time he was smart enough to shake his head in denial, but no one believes him.
I'm not sure how a straight pencil managed to go down a curved pipe, but it explains why the toilet paper was always floating back up when the water would go down. So if you ever have a similar toilet situation and a small child in your home, check for a pencil first.