It's actually been at least a couple of years that I've wanted to replace the seat on our inner upstairs toilet. We bought a new seat, but I found the process of removing the old one to be defeating, and figured I'd wait until we next needed a plumber for something substantive. That didn't happen, and then the seat started falling apart.
I decided to make another stab at this supposedly simple household task. I checked instructions online. First step, use a screwdriver to pop open the plastic caps over the bolts. Half an hour later, much scraping and gouging of the caps, no success. I called the plumbers we'd used before. They were incredulous that I couldn't perform a simple task like changing a toilet seat, and even more incredulous that I couldn't open the caps. But they wouldn't offer any advice on how to get past the problem, and house calls start at $130. Try a handyman, they said.
When I reached a reportedly competent handyman on the phone, he was willing to offer advice. If the caps wouldn't pop open, try pulling them with a pliers. Pull how?, I asked. They're rounded; nothing to grab on to. Getting past his tendency to accuse me of arguing with him when all I was doing was trying to make sense of his advice, he kindly warned me that if he did come out to do the job he'd charge almost as much as the plumbers would, plus, like all competent handymen, he's fantastically overbooked.
So I called a different plumber, who came this morning. Without any input from me, he ignored the caps and started out attacking the nuts underneath with his pliers. Then he gave up, and eventually sawed the plastic caps off with a portable circular electric saw. Not so easy or simple after all, was it?
Anyway, the job got done, and he charged $40. Worth it in elbow grease alone.