But which toilet flushes Legos and plastic dinosaurs best?

January 27, 2009

The big excitement of this past weekend was the installation of a new toilet in our downstairs bathroom. Our downstairs bathroom is one of the areas we can show people when we want to show how much work we (Dave) have done on the house, since it’s pretty indicative of the state of our house when we bought it: floral wallpaper, drop ceiling, oddly sized fixtures, blue tub and toilet, disgusting peeling-up vinyl floor. The bathroom as a whole is near the top of our to-do list, but the toilet had reached the point where we just couldn’t stand it anymore. In addition to being blue (which might have been reason enough right there), it had a plastic tank (why???) and used more than three gallons of water to do a terrible job of flushing.

We had never bought a whole toilet before, and now I feel like we’re officially responsible grownups, having bought something so boring yet so important. The funniest thing was how the toilet industry falls over itself coming up with euphemisms for “we’ll flush all your poop even though we use less water than your old toilet.” Things like “Water Efficient Yet Gets the Job Done” or “1.6 Gallons Per Flush/Highly Rated for Bulk Removal” or, for the one we ended up buying, “Can Flush a Whole Bucket of Golf Balls!” (we kept this advertising tidbit from the kids, in case it gave them any ideas). The toilet we got is called “The Champion” which also seemed to hint at its superior bulk removal properties. (I’ll also say that we felt a little sheepish buying a toilet that so boldly advertised itself as the champion of buckets-of-golf-ball flushing, but we got over ourselves because it was also the right size and looked like it would go best with our imaginary future bathroom.)

All I can say is, what took us so long? SuperHandyman Dave installed the new toilet in what seemed like five minutes (taking a break for us all to marvel and gasp and retch at the state of the warped flooring under the old toilet), and it’s just so much nicer to have a clean white toilet that actually flushes. Dave did point out that we probably ended up averaging 3 gallons per flush anyway because we were having such a good time flushing our new toilet and watching the vortex action.

It’s one of those things where I wonder how the whole episode plays out in the kids’ minds. Did they think our old toilet was gross, since it’s the only one they’ve ever known? Did they grasp the largeness of spending money on a thing like a toilet, and why it took us so long to choose the right one? Did they think the new one was better? (Well, I’m pretty sure they did. How could they not?)

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5 Responses to “But which toilet flushes Legos and plastic dinosaurs best?”

  1. sutswana says:

    When we were at my cousin’s (modest but nice) house this weekend, Miranda needed to use the bathroom. So she and Iris and I went in and as she was waiting her turn, Miranda said, “I like this house. It’s so… organized. It’s so clean.” What she meant of course was that it had a NORMAL bathroom with no peeling wallpaper or chipped vinyl. No moldy edges near the ceiling. Likewise the rooms of the house: no bizarre faux-stone wall paneling, no profusion of band-aid colored trim EVERYwhere (what were those people thinking???), no dusty faux brick, lights all work, dishwasher works…

    I had been wondering the same thing: does she see our house as a place in dire need of a makeover? Or is it just home to her? Obviously she is catching on to the way life could be. Funny thing is, my cousin complains of all the work that needs to be done on HER house and thinks ours is “so nice” and just needs a little cosmetic touching up. Um, trade?

    Needless to say, I am jealous of your new toilet! Congrats.

  2. Emily says:

    oh, house jealousy! Wylie spent two nights at my sister’s house last week, while scott was in hospital (melanoma mole=big surgery=no cancer found and new big sexy scar on face=harrowing january glad its almost over) and came home to our apartment clearly sort of doing math in his head about space available for toys and running. He’s over it now, you know, has reabsorbed 2 bedrooms as normal…but that’s the thing, I bet: your kids, Julie, didn’t see the bad blueness until you gave them a new toilet! i bet they don’t notice any of the rest of it until you replace it! Hurray!

    Although W has, recently, been putting his toes further and furhter under the peeling linoleum in kitchen and bathroom, saying, “the floor is broken”. sigh.

  3. Julie says:

    We have so many bits of broken floor I don’t know if the kids really know that it’s broken. They just think it’s supposed to look like that. Though I think the clear solution to your problems, Emily, is to buy the house for sale around the corner from me and Sutswana.

    The kids are definitely excited about the new toilet. I’ve noticed they won’t pee upstairs unless it’s an emergency. My goodness, it’s SO much better. I was very happy to bring the old one to the dump this morning.

    When I am ranting about how we need to keep the house clean, because our house is just too small to be messy, Henry will say, “Moooommmmmm! Our house is NOT small!” God bless him. It also makes me remember being at a birthday party last year, and one of the little 5-year-old guests saying to the birthday boy, “Why is your house so small?” and all the adults just kind of inwardly went, “Ack!” and outwardly awkwardly said nothing, esp. also since we were all aware that the boy saying this lived in a huge beautiful 3-story restored Victorian with granite countertops in the kitchen.

  4. Clog says:

    Remember those people who lived around the corner from us, Tyler something, who came to our house and asked her mother “Why is their hall ceiling all stained” very snootily, as we had a recent (well maybe not recent, could have been months) leak in the upstairs bathroom over the hallway? I was mortified at the time but when I think back on it, I realize how misplaced their values were.

  5. Christina says:

    I think that for the most part kids just notice differences- and that they don’t really have a “good versus bad” thing going on until they are older and/or have been taught to think that way. So I am sure that they think the new toilet is exciting in the way it flushes, but that they don’t really think how much “better” it is. I know when I think back to childhood I remember things in our various homes with nostalgia (maybe if you kept it longer they would have thought “oh remember that cool blue toilet we had!?”) rather than thinking of them on a value scale. I think sometimes even when kids say “why is this house small” that they are just making an observation relative to their perspective and it is we as adults who place the judgment part onto it.

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