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