Toilet Trepidation: Number One

Warning:  This is a post about toilets and related, um, issues.  If you’re easily grossed out, stop reading now.

I have an uneasy relationship with toilets.  I suspect I’m alone in this.

Most people probably don’t think about toilets much, unless they’re plumbers or poor souls engaged in a frantic search for facilities.  But all my life, I’ve been dogged by ambivalent relationships with toilets.

When I was a kid, we didn’t have indoor plumbing.  Our outhouse was of the deluxe variety: a two-holer, with one big hole and one little hole, side by side.  The tiny sliding window was real glass, and the wooden seat had been worn    satin-smooth by countless contacts with Henders bums since 1905.

At night and in the winter, we used a pail in the basement.  If you think this sounds revolting and unsanitary, you’re absolutely right.  But it was better than having an arctic gale whistling up the crack of your ass.  At forty below, exposed skin freezes in minutes.  Just sayin’.

When we eventually got a flush toilet, I was awed.  It was so white and fresh.  When you inevitably dropped something that splashed, your butt got sprinkled with clean water, not somebody else’s pee.  And it never filled up so that your backside dipped into the contents…

Sorry, I’ll stop now.

Anyway, the flush toilet was love at first sight, followed by a long interval of quiet but sincere appreciation.

Many years later, ambivalence returned.  Our house has three toilets.  The plumber who originally installed them was clearly a moron.  The flanges that hold the toilet were all installed incorrectly, so every single one of them cracked.

For the uninitiated, this means that sewage leaks out at the base of the toilet.  Slowly.  Under the flooring, so you can’t see it.  So that by the time you discover it, the floor is rotten and reeking.  After all the repairing and replacing was finished, I wasn’t feeling quite so warm and fuzzy about flush toilets anymore.

Then came the radish debacle.

Food occasionally migrates to the back of our fridge to die.  When I discover it, I dispose of it according to its composition.  Anything liquid or squishy goes down the toilet.  My husband observed this process, but apparently failed to grasp the initial “classification of composition” phase.

So, the day he discovered decomposing radishes in the fridge, he flushed them.  Problem is, decomposing radishes aren’t liquid or squishy.  They’re firm and round, with a slimy outer shell.

They wedged themselves into the toilet trap and refused to move.  A plumber’s snake was useless, because it worked its way between the slippery spheres and dislodged nothing.  In the end, we had to remove the toilet (we’d had a lot of practice by then), and take it outside so we could turn it upside down and pull/shake the radishes free.

We were quite tired of removing and reinstalling toilets at that point, so we did what any self-respecting geeks would do:  we tested the system before reinstalling it.

We set the toilet upright on a couple of two-by-fours in the driveway, filled the tank, and flushed.  Just as our new neighbours went by.

They didn’t let us explain.  For some reason they still keep to themselves.  I don’t get it.

Any other toilet stories out there?

But wait, I have more.  Stay tuned for “Toilet Trepidation:  Number Two”, coming next week.  Not for the faint of heart.

16 thoughts on “Toilet Trepidation: Number One

  1. Pingback: Thinking About Drinking | Diane Henders

  2. Pingback: Manitoba Chinese At The Paris | Diane Henders

  3. Great post, Diane. You hooked me with my first glimpse of your writing. I’ll be subscribing. BTW, when aging is combined with certain mixes of medications, one becomes VERY familiar with the toilet. Still wouldn’t want to install or remove one, though. Not a handyman.


  4. No interesting stories, but we are on well water where I live and there is a lot of iron in it, necessitating almost daily scrubbing of the toilets so the bowls don’t turn a foul color! What a pain… Great story, Diane!


    • Thanks, Diana! I understand the pain of the stained bowl. When we got our flush toilet, it drew its water supply from our dugout pond. Black silt in the toilet bowl isn’t very attractive either – but it was better than the alternative. 🙂


  5. Gee. so you are a geek who knows her way around toilets and computers. Jelaous!
    I know nothing about toilets or the way those things work. The last time the toilet clogged, I fixed it with pure unadultered psychokinesis. Then i discovered the plumber’s snake and i have been fearless ever since. After reading your story , I am cowering in a corner.


  6. Toilet humor…and of course- -you subtitle your articles sequentially Number One and Number Two…I don’t get it. OK. I’m patiently waitng for Number Two …not that one! Yech! Flushing radishes may also be a violation of the Composted Vegetables Act of 1871.


    • Dang! I knew my criminal tendencies would catch up with me sooner or later! And yeah, Number Two is more disgusting than Number One (the posts, I mean… well… or whatever). I may have to sanitize it first…


  7. I don’t have any funny toilet stories, most of mine involve horrible public restroom encounters, but I don’t even have the stomach to tell those. The part about your neighbors had me laughing pretty hard. Can’t wait to see your next one.


    • I saved the horrid public restroom story for next week. I haven’t decided yet whether I have the stomach to report it or not. Considering that the whole point of a blog is to attract readers, not repel them… 🙂


    • Good point! I’ve been composting my veggie scraps for the past couple of years, too, but this was before we had the garden. I’m not sure that hubby has quite embraced composting even now, but I’m positive he won’t ever try to flush radishes again.


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