Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Battle of the Toilet Seat or Symbolism in Life

Recently my husband and I have been at an impasse over the replacement of a toilet seat in one of our bathrooms. He likes the padded plastic kind because he can sit on his throne for an hour at a time and read the newspaper without his butt or legs going to sleep. And I like the wooden ones that last 30 years or more because they don’t have to be replace as often and they’re easier to keep clean. Obviously I don’t read on the throne.

Since I’m the one who usually replaces things like this around the house, you’d think I’d just buy what I want and install it. Not so. Not because I can’t afford to buy it. And not because I’m being considerate of his desires. It’s because I’ve been replacing the toilet seats around our house for 34 years, and I’m tired of doing it.

So, I decided to take a stand. I told him to buy the toilet seat of his dreams. But if it was the padded plastic kind, he had to put it on himself. Undaunted, he zoomed out to the hardware store and bought the seat he’d had his heart set on—or is it that his butt could sit on.

He raved about the model he’d bought, one with a wooden frame inside that would resist breaking and extra padding. He could sit comfortably for hours reading and it wouldn’t pinch his butt. But instead of installing the seat, he set it to one side of the toilet and went on his way.

Did I mention that I had told him that he had to install this himself?

While we’re all waiting to see what will happen, I’ll give you some background to think about.

My husband and I will celebrate our thirty-fifth wedding anniversary June thirteen of this year. We married in 1975 on Friday the thirteenth. (What was I thinking?)

We’ve bought a home and raised three children together. Our kids are grown and there’s just the two of us. I know some people go through the empty nest syndrome and have a hard time adjusting, but we’re both busy and our children are independent, well adjusted people. So, we’re satisfied they’re happy and on their way to being successful.

For the first 30 years of our marriage, My husband made the house payment and paid the utilities. Everything to do with the kids, clothes, medical care, school tuition, food, and etc., fell to me to provide. Now that those responsibility are—for the most part—done, I’ve taken on more of the bills to replace the ones we no longer have. Which is fair enough.

We’re the only two people who live in our household and we’re both adults, of at least one of us is. Once the kids were gone, I had high hopes that we’d share the household responsibilities fifty-fifty giving us both equal time to follow our interests. I was obviously under some kind of delusional cloud or something because my husband has continued to go blithely on his way ignoring his part of that plan. After all, since for the first 34 years of married life he’s had zero responsibilities inside the home, why should he be interested in taking them on now?

Hello--- Do you hear the hollow sound of me knocking on his head to get his attention.

This ol’ gal is tired of doing it all and having to spend her Saturday’s cleaning a house TWO GROWN PEOPLE—TWO ADULTS live in. Duhhh

We’re both of a generation that grew up watching Leave It to Beaver. June Cleaver stayed at home, raised the kids, cooked, cleaned, and met her hubby at the door when he arrived home with his house slippers and pipe. But today is 2010 and the time where people can live comfortably on a single salary has passed. And you won’t catch me dead with an apron tied around my waist. I’d look fat in it.

But my hubby’s problem is he’s bought into that 50’s sitcom like it’s still a possibility. And getting the idea across to him that it’s NOT is like pushing a jellybean up a mountain with your nose. An up hill battle with little progress to show for it.

So the Mexican stand off about the toilet seat progressed. And the seat sat in its plastic wrapped glory between the wall and the litter box for one week, then two. Midway through the third week, my husband made the comment that the old seat was pinching his behind every time he sat on it. I said I didn’t have that problem because I was using the other bathroom and sitting on my 30 year old wooden seat that was still going strong.

Since I no longer used that bathroom, I didn’t see any point in cleaning it. It was after all none of my concern.

At least nothing but the litter box anyway. There are limits even to my tolerance.

About midway through the fourth week I came through the hall to discover hubby taking the old toilet seat off in preparation of installing the new one. He seemed to be struggling a little so, to be helpful, I fetched a screw driver and handed it to him. When he’d finished putting the seat on, he invited me to come check it out.

I of course bragged on the job he’d done. Then asked him why he’d waited so long to put it on if the old one was so uncomfortable for him to sit on. He didn’t reply. And I didn’t push the issue. I’d made my point. I even showed him how easy it was to clean the bowl.

Now, we’ll just have to see how long it is before he actually does that himself. And in the meantime I’ll be diverting visitor traffic to the one I clean almost daily.

And the symbolism in the blog. It was never about a toilet seat at all. It was all about his willingness to take equal responsibility for our home. I’ll keep you posted on his progress.

Write on,
Teresa Reasor


Carolynn Carey said...

What a fun blog, Teresa! Isn't it strange how the little things in a marriage can drive you crazy? When my hubby retired (before I did), he decided to take up cooking and suddenly all of the mixing bowls, spoons, strainers, etc., that I had used for 25 years were no longer adequate. I now have a kitchen filled with every sort of gadget you can think of, plus mixing bowls and measuring spoons and strainers of every size imaginable. But he does cook some, so I guess it's a decent trade-off. LOL

Susan Macatee said...

Oh, I hear you Teresa! I've been married almost 29 years. We married in 1981 and I fully expected my husband to share in the household chores. Of course, that never happened, even though I worked full time and made more than he did. When the kids started to come along, I did the working mom thing until the second one came. And all that time, I got no help at all from my husband. Even trying to get him to do typical husbandly things around the house, like repairs, painting, etc.... didn't work. After our second son was born I quit my job to be a stay at home mom. Couldn't figure out how I'd manage otherwise...and that's when everything fell on me. Now, the boys are all grown, although the two youngest still live at home, but I'm so used to doing everything myself, that if it's possible for me to do and doesn't involve much heavy lifting, I don't even ask, just do.

Sigh. I grew up during the 60s and early 70s and never expected it to be this way.

Jannine Gallant said...

Your husband is a classic man. If I ever fine one who will clean toilets, I might be tempted to replace my current model!

Amy said...

I was SO happy to finally see this blog! I love the way you described "pushing a jelly bean up a mountain with your nose"!

And it really is a statement about life and relationships! Glad you stuck to your guns. And good for him for changing the seat himself!

Teresa Reasor said...

Be grateful that your husband took up cooking. My father-in-law used to cook all the time. And the rest of the family loved it.
Mine doesn't even barbecue. Isn't that supposed to be a man thing?
Thanks so much for joining me on my blog.
Teresa R.

Teresa Reasor said...

I hear you and I feel your frustration. I too stayed home until I got all three children into school then went back and finished my degree. That was an adventure too, going to school full time and still juggling kids and trying to keep my grades up.
I'm sticking to my guns about this. I'll be gone for 2 weeks to Scotland and we'll see how he does by himself.
Thanks for stopping by,

Teresa Reasor said...

Don't buy into it if he just does it a time or two.(clean the toilet) It's consistency that counts. lol.

My next lesson is wiping out the sink.

Teresa R.

Teresa Reasor said...

As always friend it's good to share things with you.

And yes, I was like a new mother whose child had taken their first step.

Now if I can get him to take some more instead of sitting on his butt.(or throne)


Kiera McAllister said...

I laughed so hard at this blog. What is it about our men? They can dream big, but the actual doing isn't as important. Well, I'm glad he finally got part of the message, and it only took three weeks and a little butt pinching. Good luck getting him to swish the bowl a little!

Teresa Reasor said...

Thanks so much for coming by. I'm so glad you enjoyed the blog.
I think my hubby is a slow learner, or maybe just unbelievably stubborn.
Aren't they all?

Mary Ricksen said...

You are me!! I have the same bathroom situation. I only divert women to my bathroom. Men can see if he is clean or not. I have a sign over the bathroom door that says "Beyond this place, there be dragons"
He actually cleans it periodically, now I wouldn't use it even when it's clean. The older they get the less they can control that thing!
But, the cleaning, everything...was my life too!!

Teresa Reasor said...

It's comforting to know that I'm not alone in this. And I love the sign idea. Mine would read, "Enter at your own risk." Since I collect dragons, I wouldn't want to give them a bad

The things we put up with.

Texas Writer said...

This was a fun read--even if it was about a vexing issue. There is a tie hanging on the bedroom door that has been there since about 2006. I now regard it as part of the decor. But you know, having separate bathrooms has got to be cheaper in the long run and far more effective than marriage counseling.

Teresa Reasor said...

Roman Scribe:
I agree. Maybe all couples should have separate bathrooms. It might take the place of counciling.
You said a tie hanging on the door since 2006. Men don't deal well with change. If you try to change the furniture around they gripe about it. Maybe that tie is just a symbol for that.
Thanks for commenting.
Teresa R.

Unknown said...

What a great blog, Teresa! I can sooo relate to the not installing the hardware and the not cleaning. Once, many years ago, my hubby bought a shower head that sat on the bathroom floor for close to three months. I finally returned it to the store just before the 90 day limit on returns. It took at least another 6 months for my hubby to even ask about the shower head. And don't even get me started about helping out with the housework -- I could write a lengthy blog on that! Sigh. . Have a great day!

Teresa Reasor said...

So many women will relate to your story just like they do mine. My problem would have been that after three months I'd have had to install the shower head myself. It would have driven me crazy.
Thanks for stopping by my blog.
Teresa r.