April 14, 2006

As part of the never-ending funfest that is our remodel, we upgraded our plumbing to copper piping instead of galvanized, which is something I don’t fully understand but apparently is Very Good in some intangible, expensive way.

As a result of this effort to provide us with Very Good pipes, for a few days while having our main water line tinkered with we had the world’s most disgusting substance spastically coughing from our faucets. It was rust-colored, it emerged in violent sputters, and it left a residue of tiny rocks and grime in the bottom of the tub. I guess it was water, but I can’t be sure.

Because I am not a brave little toaster who can buckle down and endure the absence of life’s luxuries, I launched into a full-scale whining campaign that expanded to include the great injustice of not being able to take a bath at night, the expense of bottled water, and the likely DNA mutations being triggered in our house’s mammalian occupants by our proximity to whatever in the HELL was emerging from those pipes.

JB, who has shouldered the entire load of planning and managing all of this work, manfully restrained himself from Gorilla-Glueing my trap shut and derailed my complaining by building a surround for the massive tub he’s having installed in our new bathroom.


Oh yeah, baby. Show me your jets.

The plumbing work has been completed now for the most part, and our pipes are free and clear. However, all is not well, and I’ll tell you why: our toilet has become a low flusher.

Our guest toilet used to be the toilet you’d want to use if you had maybe eaten a shitload (haaaaaaa) of fiber recently, you know what I mean? It took care of business; whatever went in there disappeared in one flush and there were no floaty little peekaboo wait-forever-for-the-bowl-to-refill-jeeeesus-christ surprise endings, either.

For some reason, the inner workings started failing, and for a while we had to constantly lift up the tank lid and fiddle with the…doohickey, the lever-whatsit, in order to get the tank to fill. So JB asked the plumbers to go ahead and replace the broken parts, and now? Our powerhouse turbo could-flush-a-blanket-if-need-be toilet flushes like this:

Ga glurg….glurg….glurrrrrrrg (siiiigh).

The toilet is a pansy now.

I’ve been informed that all modern toilet parts are designed to conserve water, and that if you want a toilet that flushes like God intended a toilet to flush, you have to buy one in Canada. Can that be true? I have to smuggle a bathroom fixture across the border in order to minimize the risk of being confronted with an encore appearance of my digestive output? And for some reason we have regulations that turn our country’s toilets into wusses but anyone can buy a freaking Hummer?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should abandon the noble effort of water conservation, but maybe we could turn off that Bellagio fountain for a couple weeks and everyone could flush their morning glory on the first try, you know?

Because seriously, no one wants to hear this shouted from behind a closed bathroom door: “Just a minute, I’m trying to get rid of Pete and Repeat.”


As an apology for today’s subject, here is a far more pleasant visual:




38 Responses to “No curtain calls, please”

  1. Dana on April 14th, 2006 4:37 pm

    I’m not saying we should abandon the noble effort of water conservation, but maybe we could turn off that Bellagio fountain for a couple weeks and everyone could flush their morning glory on the first try, you know?

    Oh man, that’s like the best line ever.

  2. honeybecke on April 14th, 2006 4:37 pm

    Love the poop entry. Love.
    I hear ya. Stock up on toilet cleaner too, if yours is anything like ours.
    Oy vay.

  3. Whinger on April 14th, 2006 4:42 pm

    There is a great “King of the Hill” episode regarding this. Hank wins the right to get the power toilets back by filibustering in a building that has the weak toilets while ALSO serving coffee and muffins.

    Clearly you had to just see it.

  4. Kristen V. on April 14th, 2006 4:49 pm

    Dave Barry has done a few columns on smuggling in contraband toilets from Canada. Pretty funny, but not as funny as your Bellagio fountain thing.

    Hey, it looks like someone got so fed up with the remodel, they hanged themselves (background of your new-tub construction photo).

  5. Alex on April 14th, 2006 4:53 pm

    Kristen V! I noticed that, too!

  6. sundry on April 14th, 2006 4:55 pm

    Ha! It’s JB’s drysuit. That thing has scared me silly more times than I can count.

  7. Sarah on April 14th, 2006 5:02 pm

    Damn Kristen and Alex, you beat me to it! Your tub looks like the outline of heaven, dudette.

  8. MRW on April 14th, 2006 5:02 pm

    I SO hear you. We recently moved into a newer house. At our old house every toilet was the kind that could deal with the after effects of meals like Thanksgiving dinner without a hitch. At the newer house, every damned toilet is “low flow.” I wish I could say I was kidding when I say this lead to a full scale argument with my husband within a week of moving. I hate those damned toilets and god help me, the second I get to Canada, I’m smuggling a toilet home with me. If it means I have to stop watering the lawn, so be it. F’ing low flow…

  9. Catherine on April 14th, 2006 5:15 pm

    Hey girls … get yourselves an electric toilet. Yes, they come in “electric,” they plug into the outlet and everything, and everytime you flush it, WOOOOOSHHH! You could almost get pulled into the vortex, it’s so powerful. So, YAY for electric potties. Void where prohibited by law. (And no, they’re not contraband in the USA … they’re low flow, but oh so suctioney).

  10. crystal on April 14th, 2006 5:56 pm

    baby striped socks!

    and i’m very jealous of how big your tub is going to be. if you could only see the tiny quarters in which i take a bath, you would laugh with superiority.

  11. Stephene on April 14th, 2006 6:31 pm

    Hmmm…. The toilets in Australia are low flow but are very powerful. Why does low flow=weak flush? You’d think low flow would REQUIRE a strong flush.

    Also, to save water toilets have 2 buttons instead of a flush. The little button is for urine, and the big button? Well.. it’s for the big jobs.

  12. warcrygirl on April 14th, 2006 7:20 pm

    “And for some reason we have regulations that turn our country’s toilets into wusses but anyone can buy a freaking Hummer?”

    Best. Line. EVER. And I’m so jealous of your tub because you can totally lean your head back and NOT get that annoying crick in your neck. Our back bath toilet gets the job done only to leave the water left in the bowl a loverly shade of whatever was just flushed. Hubby thinks nothing of leaving it like that when it clearly needs another flush. Ick.

  13. Katie on April 14th, 2006 7:32 pm

    Delurking for the first time because of the low flow/Hummer thang. Brilliant! My stupid low flow clogs every time….I …you know….EVERY FUCKING time. So, that means 20 flushes while I plunge my heart out. And let me tell you…..those 20 flushes use WAY more water than the one it would take on a regular canadian made version. I swear I use way more water now than I ever did before. Bastards.

  14. Susie on April 14th, 2006 7:56 pm

    As a Canuck, I shall flush my toilet in your honour tomorrow. Or, to really do it justice, I’ll get my husband to do it for you. bwahahahaha

  15. Amy on April 14th, 2006 8:18 pm

    Riley looks like he just caught sight of the morning glory your soft flush toilet left behind! Heh!

  16. jonniker on April 14th, 2006 8:26 pm

    My husband and I literally spend HOURS lamenting the conservation toilet. Seriously, it’s as bad as you can possibly imagine. And the thing is, it’s not that it leaves behind floaty things. It’s that…when you flush it? Because when you, um, went, it doesn’t GET INTO the water? THERE ARE STREAKS. STREAKS THAT DO NOT GO AWAY NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES YOU FLUSH IT.

    I’m totally serious, y’all. It’s BAD.

    We now have a little basket of disposable toilet brushes in every bathroom next to the toilet. We have three bathrooms.

    Again, I’m totally serious. But I feel certain that at least one of our guests, though they will never admit it and I will never ask/know who they are…has appreciated it, for they were able to save themselves the embarrassment of The Streaks. Because who wants to be known as The Guest Who Left Streaks?

    Even though we so wouldn’t care, because if you FART near the goddamn toilet, you leave a streak.

  17. Mrs. Breedorf on April 14th, 2006 8:27 pm

    When it came time to pick out the toilet for our new bathroom, I knew the only criteria that mattered to me was the power of the flush. What else really matters in a toilet, you know? It came down to a choice between one that boasted it could flush a dozen golf balls and one that could flush a hundred feet of toilet paper. Which is better? In the end I went with the hundred feet of toilet paper one. It’s really freaking awesome. Matt was the first one to use it and when I heard it flush from the other room, I thought that noise was the bathroom ceiling caving in or something, it was so loud.

  18. sundry on April 14th, 2006 8:33 pm

    I wonder if anyone offers a toilet that could do both; after all, if you poop the equivalent of a dozen golf balls, you’ll surely need a hundred feet of toilet paper.

  19. Nobody on April 14th, 2006 10:28 pm

    Too bad “Everybody Poops” didn’t cover this.

    I am just rolling over here.

  20. LLJ on April 15th, 2006 2:22 am

    First time comment, long-time reader. If you really want to er, flush you need a pressure-assisted toilet. American Standard descibes it as:

    “Pressure-assisted toilets harness pressure from the water supply in the home to create a powerful “push-through” flush. All waste is removed quickly in about four seconds. Pressure-assisted toilets are slightly louder and there is no condensation or “sweating” on the outer tank.”

    Add really more expensive and when the parts wear out there is really no replacing a few cheap do-hickeys either. But we have old pipes and were concerned with the removal of “waste” too. It’s expensive and a loud, (alarmingly so at first) flusher. But by god whatevers in that tank GOES DOWN . Never to return. We call ours turbo toilet.

  21. pippa on April 15th, 2006 5:08 am

    Plumbers LIED. How do I know this? Because we have been doing our own toilet repairs ourselves on our 1950s era 5000-gallons-at-a-time flushers since we moved in. With parts obtained at our very own Home Despot.

    Tell them the crappy (heh! crappy!) new toilet shall not be paid for due to untruths propagated in the alien takeover of the world assisted by useless toilets.

  22. jac on April 15th, 2006 6:07 am

    I know nothing of your wimpy toilets … luckily. Do you not have dual flush? Two buttons: one half flush (for number ones) and one full flush (for dropping the kids off at the pool)? You know you want one.

  23. Emily on April 15th, 2006 6:15 am

    I think someone probably mentioned it up there somewhere, but years ago Dave Barry wrote a couple (hell, maybe even an entire SERIES) of wussy-toilet columns. I think the whole thing is some kind of plumbers’ union conspiracy.

    Also, whining? Works.

  24. Leah on April 15th, 2006 7:00 am

    I live in Canada and do not have to worry about my toilet not flushing away all the badness in the world, most of the time. I worked for a large US company that set up a call centre in Canada, and in the process of renovating the building, they brought up low-flow US toilets. There were eight toilets in the women’s bathroom, and on any given night, more than half of them would be clogged. Part of the problem is, of course, that Canadians are used to regular toilets and use too much toilet paper. The poor cleaning ladies spent their time unclogging toilets, rather than wiping dust off the computers.

  25. K on April 15th, 2006 7:57 am

    Dude, when we remodeled our bathroom, the low-flow toilet became the bane of my existence. My mom claimed that they’re supposed to be able to handle a secondary flush seconds after the first flush, but it’s all lies. Thanks for the Canadian heads-up… I’m going to have to run for the border.

  26. Jane on April 15th, 2006 6:54 pm

    Please be advised that pressurized toilets do flush like nobody’s bidness, but they scare some little kids who are beginning potty training. I know you think that’s so far in the future as to seem fantastical, but it’s never to early for these considerations.

  27. Ashlea on April 16th, 2006 8:25 am

    heeheeheehee! I’m so glad that someone else feels the same way about toilets! My family dreads the day our toilet just gives up on us because we know that these new fangled toilets will not be able to handle our lovely loads. Thank goodness I spend half the year living a dorm with toilets that work just fine for that kinda thing. Lol! Love you Sundry!

  28. RubyLemon on April 16th, 2006 2:38 pm

    When our old, normal toilet cracked, we obtained 2 replacements from some idiot rich people who threw away their old, ugly white toilets to buy themselves new, colored, low-flow toilets (husband works in construction). Hah! We installed one to replace ours and have another in storage for the inevitable need. Also, we have a power-assist flusher in our new basement bathroom – pretty loud, but very efficient. My only complaint is that when you open the back of the tank – like to put in a bleach tab or Kaboom – there is no stuff in there. All mechanics are contained in a large black plastic container that looks like a bomb. So, you can’t put any type of constant cleaner in a power assist, low flow toilet.

  29. Pete on April 16th, 2006 7:20 pm

    They sell a “Power Assist” toilet at Home Depot ($250) that will flush a small cat without problems. I have been meaning to get one or two because my wife and son’s crap is something you could build a house out of. That is one thing you will find as your son gets older, how such a small butt can leave such a LARGE turd.

  30. Pete on April 16th, 2006 7:21 pm

    BTW, nice framing JD

  31. Pete on April 16th, 2006 7:22 pm

    Sorry, JB

  32. Jessie on April 17th, 2006 5:31 am

    I’m jealous of what looks like it will be one fantastic bathtub! Also, I’d like to nibble on the cute little baby toes. They’re adorable!

  33. Mr. MRW on April 17th, 2006 7:51 am

    What MRW doesn’t tell you above, is that nobody else in the new house has any problems with the low flow toilets. Heck, I have been known to deposit the equivalent of the whole 82nd Airborne on the drop zone and haven’t plugged it once. Streaks may occasionally be an issue, but really, just close the damn lid and nobody will see the potty-Picasso.

    Now the garbage disposal, on the other hand, I plug up on a weekly basis…

  34. angela on April 17th, 2006 9:28 am

    there has to be fix for the toilet issue. i have the awesomest shower head ever and it is supposed to be a “water saving” deal, but all you gotta do is remove one little part and you’re back to sucking up the resevoirs again.

  35. beckyfay on April 17th, 2006 6:10 pm

    you know.. if you go to one of the reuse places around town, like earthwise or the restore, they sell toilets and toilet parts, some of which are nearly new, but have the big old tanks and really let the water flow through. and you can feel good about doing your part and still flush everything down the first time.

  36. Karl on April 18th, 2006 3:09 pm

    One word: Toto. Go buy a Toto toilet. You don’t even need the power version, although
    they have them too. We put a Toto into our remodeled bathroom a year ago, and it’s never
    clogged once. Not even The Princess Herself has been able to jam it, and that’s saying
    something; she could plug the old high-flow toilet at least once a month.

  37. Niki on April 19th, 2006 8:54 am

    I just have to jump onto the dual flush bandwagon. (I think Toto makes dual flush, but I’m not sure whether that’s what Karl was referring to.) I spent a year in Sweden recently, and the very first thing I saw and fell in love with was their fabulous dual-flush toilets. As described above, one button provides a dainty little flush, while the other button really takes care of business. If I ever own a home, that’s the first upgrade I’ll make. (The second thing I fell in love with was the recycling bins and IKEA and MacDonalds — no comments, please — which had a sink for leftover drink, then round opening for cups, then separate bins for paper, then separate bins for food.)

  38. Shawn on April 24th, 2006 4:29 am

    Just whant to say HI! I love this place!