Game of Thrones

Our upstairs bathroom toilet has been breaking my spirit for over a year now. Nothing ever flushed on the first try, or even the second. No problem if the contents were yellow, because we’re kind of mellow people, anyway. But when it’s brown…well. It’s a big faker, that toilet. Lots of swirling, then nothing. ‘Just kidding,’ it would sneer. You’d stand there, finger on the flapper, and feel your life slipping by.

We had to remember to tell our guests about it. Otherwise we’d end up standing outside the bathroom door saying things like, ‘Don’t be alarmed, but…” Yeah. Once, I was at a gas station washroom with a long lineup of people waiting outside the door. The toilet would not flush. I took the lid off the tank and tried fiddling with things. Nothing. Finally, I had to leave and naturally, I blamed the person who went before me. ‘Some people,’ I said while scurrying to my car.

Our toilet needed constant scrubbing. My rubber gloves and environmentally friendly cleaner had a permanent place on top of the sink since there was no point in putting them away. And I had to run in there every time someone dropped by and give it a going over.

Finally, my wish came true and we ordered a new one. I decided I wanted a super deluxe toilet with two environmentally friendly flushing buttons and the sucking action of an inverted tornado. We were going over budget, skipping the American Standard for a different kind whose name I don’t know because we accidentally threw out all the packaging. It started with a C.

Enter the super flow all in one toilet with a lid that floats down to touch the seat with a gentle caress. It has a wide neck that can swallow a T shirt with no problem. My only concern was how high the thing looked in the picture. We measured me from the knee down and discovered that my feet would touch the ground with about an inch to spare. We ordered it and waited semi-patiently for it to arrive. It took a while.

The day it came, I crooned like a Disney princess dancing in a meadow with a back up chorus of mice. Once the singing was done, it was time for installation. Afterward, I stood back and admired it. Compared to our old toilet, it looked like the Starship Enterprise, but with a different theme song. Randy Bachman’s ‘Taking Care of Business,’ fit nicely.

After the toilet glue had set, I sat down to see how it felt. It was different. The bowl was a big oval, and the beautiful seat that lowers in a timely but majestic fashion was a little thicker than normal. The result? Only my toes could touch the floor.

Well. I loved the new toilet, but for comfort’s sake, I’d have to read my magazines somewhere else. And how could I possibly do that? Everyone knows that time in the bathroom does not count as sloughing off. It’s a human need. Plus, we have a furnace register right beside the toilet. Since I like to keep the thermometer low to save money, the bathroom is our cozy winter retreat. Our Florida mini-vacation.

I didn’t want to complain about it, so I told my husband, in a very chipper fashion, “I’ll just have to get used to it!” As the first week passed, we became even more enamored with its strong flushing ability. And it’s pristine-ness. Apparently, it came with its own maid who washed it at night while we’re asleep.

But part of me mourned my years as a bathroom magazine reader. All the tips from Writer’s Digest, the mood boosts from Oprah. The informative articles from Macleans and strange fiction from the Walrus. Our weekly newspaper, the Reminder, so I’m up to date, locally. Could this affect my mental well being? Would I become like a Trump supporter, ill informed and full of doo doo?

Then, something magical happened. I sat down one day, accidentally slid to the back of the oval, and immediately felt the change. The back was lower than the front! My whole foot could touch the floor! I shouted out in joy to my husband who never answered because he hates it when I try talking to him from another room. (For some reason, I never seem to learn this particular lesson.)

Now, my life is better than ever. I’ll have the warm furnace air in the winter, the conditioned air in summer. At hand, my vast library of magazines and a throne worthy of a queen. My only problem now is leaving the room. Fortunately, Clarence has started using our other bathroom downstairs. It’s small and cluttered with paintings, a sword and a number of large seashells. But since he was the decorator, he’s fine with it.

FYI: If you ring our doorbell and don’t get an answer, we may indeed be home. Chances are, we’re catching up on the news, or reading the latest book reviews and the goings on about town. One of us may decide to cut things short and rush to get the door. But my guess is, you’ll have to come back later.

Published by Judith Pettersen

Judith Pettersen is an author living in Canada. She blogs about her life in the north and the ups and downs of being a writer.

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