What Were They Thinking?

You know how you’re cheerfully going along and everything makes perfect sense, and then you find something that makes your brain screech to a halt and yelp, “Wait, what?”

This week I encountered more ‘what-were-they-thinking’ situations than usual.  For instance, I sometimes use preservative-free eye drops that come in teeny individual vials:

0.4 ml: About 7 drops

You’re supposed to open the vial, use what you need, and throw away the remainder to avoid contamination.  Each vial holds about seven drops.  But… most people have two eyes.  Why would they create a vial that holds an uneven number of drops?

At first glance it seems illogical, but I guess it’s actually marketing genius — they know you’ll have to waste part of each vial; and more waste for you equals more sales for them.  (Sometimes finding answers isn’t as satisfying as one might hope.)

Also:  This weekend I was at an art conference, where I learned about a new drawing tool.  It works like a wax crayon but also has water-soluble elements so you can drag a wet brush through it and get a watercolour effect.  Very cool indeed!  But why did they call it a ‘Woody’?

The Stabilo Woody: It even comes wearing a condom… erm, sorry; “protective sleeve”.

Not even the conference presenter was able to say ‘woody’ out loud without snickering.  I can’t believe that nobody on the Stabilo marketing team ever said, “Hey, you know that’s slang for an erect penis, right?”  (Or maybe they were snickering when they named it.  Hmmm.)  So wrap your hands around your woodies, folks, and let’s get this party started!

Moving right along…

Also at the conference, I found this sign in the bathroom:

It says “Please press the grey circle for 5 seconds to flush”… and there’s a grey circle on the sign.

I wonder how many people did what I did:  Read the sign, saw the grey circle, and thought, “But pressing a dot on the wall won’t flush the toilet.”

The sign was actually referring to the grey circle on the dual-flush control for the toilet far below; and it was necessary because the other half of the control didn’t work.  But why would they put a grey circle on the sign and mount it so high it seems unrelated to the toilet?  It would have been much more helpful to place the sign directly above the actual control with a downward-pointing arrow.

I chuckled at this garbled communication, but maybe the joke’s on me.  Maybe I’m the only person who ever looked at the sign and momentarily wondered if I was supposed to press the wall.  But I don’t think so.  The grey circle on the sign looked suspiciously finger-smudged.

And now I’m giggling at the thought of people repeatedly pressing the dot and wondering why the toilet wouldn’t flush.

Any oddball events in your world this week?

Book 14 update:  I got into Chapter 27 this week.  It’s fun to be a fly on the wall when Reggie Chow and Holt The Magnificent lock horns!

P.S. For those who asked for an updated photo of the trellis project that singed my toes, here it is completed and installed:

The last of the dahlias and glads are still hanging on, and yesterday I planted another 700 bulbs. We’re looking forward to the spring blooms!

Pickles, Peeves, And Daniel Craig

It’s been one of those weeks.  I’ve been trying to fit ten days of work into seven, and my brain has rebelled.  I knew I was in trouble a couple of nights ago when I dreamed of Daniel Craig.

That might sound like the quintessential female fantasy; but it wasn’t… because of the pickles.  Yes, I dreamed that Daniel Craig was plying me with a plethora of pickled cucumbers.

Freud would nod sagely and point out the phallic significance.  Normally I’d snicker and agree; but the truth is that I’ve been inundated with cucumbers lately, to the point where I’m even dreaming about them.  The garden is going crazy, and every second day I lug in a basket of strawberries, a basket of cucumbers, a basket of tomatoes, and a basket of corn.  And now the beans have found their second wind, too (no pun intended).

Don’t get me wrong; I’m thrilled that our garden is doing so well.  But I’m also a teensy bit overwhelmed, which means the chances of me writing a coherent blog post this week are somewhere between ‘Nil’ and ‘Not a chance in hell’.

So instead, here are a couple of random thoughts that flitted through my mind this week:

I love food, cooking, and eating; but some days the futility of it nearly brings me to my knees.  I spend SO MUCH TIME (and money and energy) acquiring food, preparing it, eating it, and cleaning up afterward… and four or five hours later I do it all again.  And again.  Repeat the next day, and the next, ad infinitum.  And it all ends up in the toilet anyway.  Wouldn’t you think we’d have found a better solution by now?

And one of my pet peeves:  Stinky soap in public washrooms.  Seriously, Dairy Queen, Wendy’s, and MacDonald’s:  Can’t you buy hand soap that doesn’t reek like some unholy combination of burnt transmission fluid, old gym socks, and rotting flowers?  You post big signs reminding everyone to wash their hands, and then you provide hand soap that nobody wants anywhere near their skin.

But… kudos to the PetroCanada at the corner of 17th Street and Cliffe Avenue in Courtenay, BC – their soap smells nice.  And BIG props to the Flying J truck stop on Portage Avenue in Headingly, MB for providing GoJo mechanic’s hand cleaner in the women’s washroom – hooray!

Despite my pickles and peeves, I’ve had some wins this week, too:  Our bookshelves are finally finished, woohoo! It’s been nearly two years since I last saw my beloved books. Thanks for all your hard work, Hubby!


The tomatoes have been FABULOUS. That’s one sammich-worthy slice! (This is the heritage variety ‘Brandywine’ – definitely the flavour winner this year.)

Book 14 update:  It was a busy week, but I still managed to get to Chapter 13.  Poor Kane is discovering that fatherhood can be a dirty job…

Stupidly Smart

When I checked my email a couple of days ago, I discovered a message that began, “Don’t mind on my English, I am from India.”  I would have trashed it on the spot, but before I could get to the delete button I had already skimmed the next couple of sentences.  Then I started to giggle, and slowed down to read the whole thing.

Apparently this enterprising soul had “thiefted all my personal data” by installing malware on my computer while I was visiting a porn site.  S/he had all my work and social contacts, and what’s more… (wait for the horror of it all)… s/he had also hacked into my forward-facing webcam while I was on the porn site and captured a video of me masturbating!  Unless I paid the ransom, my shameful secrets would be revealed to everyone I know.

Well, I’ve never visited a porn site; I don’t have a webcam; and the research I do on my computer is more likely to inspire snores than sweaty ardour.  I’m not exactly trembling in my boots.

But I wonder… does this person actually make money?  Are there really that many people visiting porn sites and whacking off in front of their computers…

Don’t answer that.  On second thought, I don’t want to know.

But the whole thing got me thinking about all the “smart” devices that are monitoring us without our knowledge.  Webcams can be remotely activated.  Our cell phones can be hacked to secretly relay audio and/or video.  And those are just the beginning.

The other day I noticed a red light blinking on our thermostat.  On its screen was a polite reminder to change the furnace filter.  Our fridge tells us when it’s time to change its water filter.  My car monitors its tire pressure.  But we drew the line at a septic pump that would monitor our waste output.  There are some things I just don’t need to know; although apparently somebody does, or they wouldn’t have bothered making the thing.

And the smarter my devices become, the dumber I get.  (I prefer to blame the devices for this, not advancing age.)

Before I had a smartphone, I used to know my friends’ phone numbers by heart.  Now they’re all at my fingertips; and I’m lucky if I remember my own.

Same with special dates.  I had them all in my head, and every time I went to the store I’d check my mental list of upcoming birthdays and anniversaries and buy the appropriate cards.  Now my smartphone’s calendar reminds me two weeks in advance, and I still forget to buy the damn cards.

Smart devices are teaching us to be helpless.  It’s only a matter of time before we’re slumped drooling in antigravity chairs while robots ferry our bloated carcasses from bed to dinner table to toilet and back again.  Our fridges will order groceries; our toilet seats will monitor our health; and if we’re plugged into virtual reality we can experience any adventure we desire without even leaving the house.

And when all human contact has been eliminated and our only intimate relationships are with computers, that enterprising soul in India will really make a killing.

Or maybe s/he’ll be too busy watching porn and getting frisky with Rosy Palm and her five daughters…

Launching The Swamp Shuttle

We finally got our new home – hooray!

The movers come tomorrow so we’re “camping” with our bed, a couple of folding chairs, and minimal cooking gear until then; but at last we’re IN!

We’re already discovering some of our new home’s quirks.  Such as:

Our water filter’s controller periodically takes the system offline and forces water back through the filter to clear it.  When it’s backflushing, we’re not supposed to run water or flush toilets because that would allow untreated water into our system.  So the cycle is programmed to run at 3 AM when everybody’s asleep and unlikely to be using water; and it’s supposed to run for about 15 minutes.


It’s directly underneath our bedroom.  And the backflush sounds like the space shuttle launching out of a particularly viscous swamp:  A cacophony of high-decibel roaring, sucking, and gurgling.

And it’s “about 15 minutes”.  Which equals roughly an hour and a quarter.

When the first eruption rocketed me out of bed at 3:08 AM, I clung to the ceiling hyperventilating for a few seconds, then slowly lowered myself back to the mattress after I realized what was creating the godawful racket.

“Fine,” I thought.  “It’ll only run for 15 minutes, and then I’ll go back to sleep.”

But after my violent awakening and subsequent adrenaline surge, I needed to pee.  But I couldn’t because if I flushed, it would suck untreated water into our system.

I realize now that I could have peed without flushing, but in my sleep-deprived state I somehow confused the knowledge that if the water level drops in the toilet bowl (as with a flush) it will draw more water in; while if the water level rises in the toilet bowl the excess will just dribble harmlessly down the plumbing stack.  So I was afraid to pee in case it somehow sucked untreated water into our system.  No, I’m not at my best at 3 AM.

So I lay there thinking, “I can wait.  Fifteen minutes is no big deal.”

Except it wasn’t fifteen minutes.

I dozed fitfully.  Every ten minutes or so I’d wake to another barrage of borborygmi from the nether regions (the house’s; not mine, fortunately).

Check the clock.

Think, “Gawd, I’ve gotta pee.  Isn’t that thing done yet?”

Repeat in 10 minutes.

And repeat.

After an hour I was cranky and exhausted, and my back teeth were floating.  And still the infernal rumblings continued.

Finally around 4:15 AM I couldn’t take it any longer.  I got up, scurried outside into a spectacularly starry (and damn chilly) night in the silent peace of the country, and marked my territory with intense relief.

Just as I crept back into bed at 4:23, the goddamn backflush stopped.

Clearly its programming is more sophisticated than I realized:  It must have a sensor under the bed to make sure the occupants are fully awake by the time the cycle ends, and it may even have some advanced technology to determine exactly when a human bladder reaches maximum capacity… after which it runs for another 10 minutes.

Needless to say, we’ll reprogram the system.  One nocturnal shuttle launch was enough for me.

So does my swamp-shuttle experience make me an ass-tro-not?

Or only a space cadet?

Airport Deja Vu

I actually wrote this in the airport on Saturday but I’m flying home today, so who knows…?

The sun is coming up and I’m sitting in the airport waiting to board my flight.  While I sit here with my carry-on baggage tucked close to my feet so no evil person can tamper with it, I’m reflecting on the changes in air travel since I flew for the first time thirty-some years ago.

After several decades, you’d think things would have changed more than they have.  I still feel unaccountably guilty every time I go through security.  The boarding lounges are still the same boring rows of uncomfortable seating. In fact, judging by the numbness of my butt, these may even be the very same seats as thirty years ago.

They still ask us to get to the airport an hour or two before our flight, apparently for the sole purpose of clogging the boarding lounge with cranky people.

The aircraft are basically the same.  The same cramped seats, the same seatbelts, the same impossibly tiny washrooms.  I never cease to marvel at the fact that some people actually have sex in those washrooms.  Hell, there’s barely room for me in there.  Then again, I guess if you did actually manage to cram two people in there, they’d pretty well have to be having sex.

It’s funny, but the only major improvements are to the airport terminal washrooms and the public-address systems – the two things that aren’t directly related to flying.

I like the automatic flush toilets, except when they flush before I’m done.  There’s nothing like a splash of icy water on your ass and a sudden loud noise to get the old adrenaline pumping.  But it’s nice to see they haven’t eliminated (sorry) the most critical function of airport toilets:  they still project a spray of contaminated water up to three feet when you flush, and it’s impossible to vacate the cubicle fast enough to avoid it.  You haven’t truly travelled until you have splatters of toilet water on your pants.

I have a love/hate relationship with the motion-activated water taps and soap dispensers, too.  When they work, they’re wonderful.  When they don’t (which is most of the time), I feel like an idiot waving my hands up, down, and sideways under an unresponsive spigot.  But, whatever.  I look like an idiot on a semi-regular basis anyway, so there’s really no added humiliation there.

The change I appreciate most is the improved public-address system.  I used to hate those old PA systems that sounded like a garburator attacking a table-setting for twelve.  You never knew whether they were saying your departure gate had changed and you had ten seconds to get to the opposite end of the airport; or that your flight had been cancelled altogether; or possibly that a fireball of death was speeding directly toward the terminal and everybody should flee.  It’s wonderful to be able to effortlessly interpret the announcements now.

But I’ve just discovered that the more things change, the more they stay the same.  The public address system just came on and delivered a lovely, crystal clear message:  my flight has been delayed for nearly two hours.


* * *

Since “that new-fangled internet” can be unreliable in airports, I’ll be responding to comments sporadically today… unless that fireball catches up with me.  If that happens, all bets are off. 

Fly Diapers. God, I’m Old.

Monday afternoon I was contemplating diapers for house flies, and that’s when I realized I’m getting old.

It’s complicated.  Let me explain:

We have a little acreage outside the city, with a tiny decrepit forty-year-old travel trailer on it.  The trailer’s only features are a primitive propane furnace and a queen-size bed we shoehorned in after sacrificing all the original interior partitions and fittings.  A toilet is not one of its luxuries, so I built an outhouse.

I don’t like dark, icky outhouses, so ours has a clear roof for natural light, a battery-powered overhead light for nighttime use, and a rainwater collection system that gravity-feeds a small sink so we can wash our hands.  Thanks to strategies I won’t describe here, it doesn’t even stink (most of the time).

The deluxe outhouse

The deluxe outhouse

There are only two of us, so it’s not a big deal to keep it clean.  I regularly evict spiders and sweep out the inevitable pine needles and dead leaves we track in, but that’s about the extent of my chores (other than occasionally scrubbing it just because it’s an outhouse and I’m a weirdo clean freak).

That is, until this week.

This week the flies from hell arrived.  I don’t know what they’ve been eating, but these are sick, sick flies.  Usually fly shit looks like little black specks.  These flies dumped brown and yellow splotches the size of a pencil eraser.  Or larger.  Sometimes much larger.  Large enough to dribble when they hit a vertical surface…

It looked as though someone had taken a baby with explosive diarrhea and twirled the poor suffering child around and around inside our outhouse before fleeing the scene of the crime.

It was disgusting, and I spent a good half-hour scrubbing it all clean again before griping to Hubby about the pressing need for fly diapers.

And that’s when I realized it.

I’m old.

In mid-August thirty years ago (okay, maybe a little more), I was portaging and paddling through the beautiful network of lakes in the rocky Canadian Shield country around Kenora, Ontario.  I carried all my food, clothing, and cooking tools in my backpack.  I slept on the ground, cooked over a tiny fire when necessary, and carried a small trowel whose function I shall leave to your imagination.  There was no human habitation whatsoever, and definitely no outhouse.

(In fact, I only met one other group of people the entire week.  In complete fulfillment of Murphy’s Law, they caught me squatting behind a bush, trowel in hand.  Did I mention I was wearing a one-piece bathing suit? Well, actually, not wearing it at the moment of discovery.)



When I wrote the first draft of this post, I was sitting in my zero-gravity lounge chair in front of our firepit.  I still cook all our meals over the campfire, but I’m not exactly roughing it:

No hunkering down next to the flames for me.  I even use a non-stick frying pan.

No hunkering down next to the flames for me. I even use a nonstick frying pan.

So there I was, lounging in my deluxe folding chair, typing on my laptop beside a heated trailer containing a queen-sized bed.

And kvetching about fly shit in my deluxe outhouse.

God, I’m old.

When the hell did that happen?


It’s interesting to be Canadian.  As a nation, we’re generally regarded as the polite, low-key, boring neighbours of the superpower south of us.  We tend to define ourselves by what we’re not, instead of by what we are, and we may get quite impassioned about the whole thing.  Especially if beer is involved.

We’ve got a lot going for us.  We’re superpowers in hockey and curling.  Our military, while pathetically undermanned, is generally respected.  We are usually laid-back and polite.  Until you get to know us.  Then we’re potty-mouths (language warning on this link).

Despite (or perhaps because of) the abundance of off-colour jokes about our national animal the beaver, we are actually quite attached to the furry buck-toothed rodent.  And every now and then, the beaver gets revenge on its detractors, though this may only happen in beer commercials.

And speaking of beer, despite my high regard for our neighbours to the south, our beer is generally much better than theirs.  I have a sneaking suspicion that most U.S. beer is just Canadian beer that’s been warm-filtered through a kidney.

We’re a nation of oddballs who are perfectly capable of starting a violently destructive riot over a hockey game, and then getting sidetracked partway through:


After all, which is more important, a hockey game or getting lucky?  (Note:  If you are a Canadian male, this question will cause intense indecision.)

You know you’re Canadian when you put on your parka and go out to buy a Slurpee in -30 degree weather.  (If you’re not from around here, a Slurpee is a slushy drink composed of crushed ice and a soft drink).  Winter is a great time to drink Slurpees, because they don’t melt and dilute the flavouring, and your hands don’t get cold while you hold the cup because you’re already wearing mittens.

Maybe because we spend a lot of time sitting inside to avoid the cold, we’ve also contributed quite a few useful things to the world.  We’ve offered up handy-dandy stuff like insulin to treat diabetes (Banting & Best, 1922), basketball (Naismith, 1891), and the Canadarm for the space shuttle (SPAR Aerospace, 1981).

There are many reasons why I’m glad I’m Canadian, but a couple of weeks ago, we scored another notable achievement.  A Canadian stuntwoman, Jolene Van Vugt, set a new land speed record for the world’s fastest motorized toilet:  75 km/hr (46.6 mph).


Now I’m really flushed with pride!


On Monday, I thoroughly enjoyed an experience most people would appreciate just about as much as a root canal without anaesthetic.  I drove 800 miles across the Canadian prairies in 12 hours, stopping at hours 5 and 10 to fill the car’s tank and empty mine.  I’ve been making that trip pretty frequently lately, but I’m still not tired of it.

There are many things I love about driving across the prairies alone.  Not the least of these is the opportunity to sing along with my music at the top of my lungs without losing friends and/or straining my husband’s tolerance to its limits.

Auditory abuse aside, a drive across the prairies in good weather is about as close to heaven as I expect to come.  I love the places where there’s nothing to see but a long, straight ribbon of highway that vanishes into the big blue sky with no visible human habitation in any direction.  And I love the variety in the rest of the drive:  sloughs and open fields and occasional clumps of trees; isolated farmsteads and little towns; foxes and coyotes and deer and antelope and (once in a blue moon) a moose; hawks and waterfowl and songbirds and all kinds of other critters.

There’s room to breathe out there.  When I get out of the city and into the open prairie, my joints loosen and my muscles relax and my soul heaves a sigh of relief and soars up to meet that blue, blue sky.

Mind you, I’m a freak.

Most people consider a drive across the prairies about as stimulating as watching paint dry.  Beige paint.  They’re delighted when they finally arrive at civilization.

I consider civilization an annoying but necessary hiatus in the pleasure of my drive.  To wit:

At the first gas station, I waited approximately forever outside the women’s washroom, only to find that the kid who was using it was taking so long because she was industriously clogging the toilet with paper towels and who knows what else.

If I’d known, I could’ve gone straight to the men’s in the first place.  And don’t get me started about men’s washrooms.

At the second gas station/sub shop, I arrived exactly in time to:

  1. Have a guy slip in front of me to pay for his gas, only to engage the clerk in a lengthy conversation about “Where’s the best place to eat in Virden?”  Not satisfied with the clerk’s initial answer, he diverged into, “But what if I want Chinese food?  But what if I want ribs?  But what if I want…”  You want to live, buddy?  Get outta my way.
    This delayed me enough to…
  2. Have a woman slip in front of me and slam the door to the women’s washroom in my face.  Repeat the above waiting experience, this time with trepidation.  Fortunately, the toilet was still functional by the time I took my turn.
    However, this set up perfect timing to:
  3. Have two women slip in front of me at the sub counter, only to order multiple subs.  Each.  With great indecision about toppings.

I’m not sure whether the drive helped or hindered my retention of equanimity.  On one hand, I was happy and relaxed when I went in, so theoretically it should take longer for me to reach maximum annoyance.  On the other hand, the normal vagaries of humanity seemed extra irritating after ten hours of solitary bliss.

What do you think?

Any other prairie lovers or long-distance drivers out there?

Toilet Trepidation: Number Two

Warning:  If you have a weak stomach, don’t read this.  Come back next week instead.  I promise not to tell any gross stories then.


Last week, I mentioned a few reasons for my troubled relationship with toilets.  I have more.

You may think that having to use an ancient outhouse in childhood would be enough to leave me with an antipathy toward outhouses.  Not so.  That came later.

When I was a teenager, I volunteered at a children’s summer camp in the Lake of the Woods area around Kenora, Ontario.  I’m not exactly sure why I did this, because kids in large numbers tend to make me run screaming.  Fortunately, I was the archery director, not a counsellor.  My only responsibility was to keep the archery equipment repaired and prevent the kids from shooting each other.  Or us.

One day, I was sitting with a few of the counsellors when a six-year-old dashed up to us, screaming the words of doom:  “Shawna’s down the biffy hole!”

A volley of sidelong glances between the camp staff, accompanied by mutters of, “Not MY kid.”

The unfortunate soul who was responsible for Shawna rushed to the scene of the disaster.  I heard about it later, and that was as close as I cared to come.

Apparently, Shawna had dropped a candy down the hole.  She wanted to see if she could see the candy.  Don’t ask me why.  The logic of kids eludes me.  But it was dark down there, so she got her flashlight.  Apparently Shawna had grip issues or something, because she dropped the flashlight as well.

Horrified that she’d lost her father’s new flashlight, she delegated one of her six-year-old friends to hold her by the ankles while she retrieved the flashlight.  Guess the other kid had grip issues, too.

On the up side, I think Shawna must have had a pretty good life since then.  Getting dropped head-first into a pile of shit is probably about the worst thing that’s going to happen in her lifetime.  Nice to get that out of the way early.

And speaking of getting things out of the way…

Many moons ago, I lived in residence at Tache Hall at the University of Manitoba.  Communal bathrooms were down the hall.  About once a week, I’d find an enormous mound cresting out of the water in the toilet bowl.  I’m not sure whether the Phantom Shitter didn’t know how to flush, or whether he/she was simply so proud of the pile that they wanted the rest of us to be able to admire it, too.

Or, what do I know?  Maybe it was a team effort.  There were some sick puppies living there.

I used to have a recurring dream.  In my dream, I needed to go to the bathroom.  But every bathroom I found had something terribly wrong with it.  I couldn’t find the toilets.  Or the toilets were overflowing.  Or the cubicle walls ended at knee-height.  Or I started to use the toilet and discovered that it was leaking all over me.  It was an utterly repulsive dream.

When I looked it up on a dream-interpretation site, it said toilets are symbolic of expressing or repressing emotions, or that these types of dreams might have indicated I was afraid of what people thought of me.  Or something.

I’m not so sure.

I think it was probably just a flashback.

Anybody else have that dream?

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.