Toi-let or not toi-let; that is the question

Here is a riddle: What has four people, and three bathrooms, but only one toilet?

Answer: My house.

What? You don’t think that’s funny? Actually, I don’t either. Especially when we all have to go at the same time.

It started with the roof. When we bought the house, the inspector said the roof was at the end of its life and we would need to replace it eventually. The good news was, “eventually” turned out to be ten years later. The bad news was, the roof went out with a bang. After two days of monsoon-like conditions, the roof suddenly sprung leaks like a water balloon being tossed at a porcupine. The other good news (if there is any to be had in this story) was that almost all the leaks were directly over the kids’ bathroom. The bad news was, it turned the ceiling of the bathroom into paper maché, and all that was below the ceiling, into a mulchy mess.

While we waited for the roofers to do their thing so the bathroom guys could come in and do their thing, the kids moved into the downstairs bathroom. Four people, two bathrooms. No big deal.

But then one morning, I went into my bathroom, flushed my toilet and watched it swirl up and pool at the top of the bowl. Believing this was a clog issue, I plunged the heck out of the toilet. Hesitantly, I flushed again to see if I had fixed the problem, and watched with rapt fascination as the toilet water lurched up and over the sides of the toilet bowl and onto the bathroom floor.

At that moment, my daughter came rushing into my bathroom.

“Mom, can I use your bathroom. The downstairs one is occupied.”

“No,” I replied.

“Why not?”

“Cuz it’s broken!” I huffed.

“Why is it broken?” she asked.


This is a true fact. The only time things break in our house is when my husband is out of town. It is like some weird cosmic prank the universe plays on me. It has gotten to the point where I break out into a cold sweat whenever he travels. When I asked the doctor for some Xanax for travel anxiety, I had a tough time explaining it wasn’t for my husband, the one who was traveling; it was for me.

So then I did what I always do when something breaks in our house and my husband is away: I called a repairman named Larry.

In case you are not in on the joke, every handyman, repairman, and fish that has ever come to our house has been named Larry. The ones in the fish tank usually die right away. The ones who come to fix things usually fair a bit better.

So Larry the Plumber asked me if it was an emergency.

I said: Four people: one toilet. You do the math.

He said: Can it wait a day?

I said: Sure. We can all just go outside and use the dog’s potty spot in the backyard.

He said: Well, I’m not sure when I can get someone over there. Can you be home all day?

I said: No problem. I’ll just hang out and drink lots of coffee. Wait. Scratch that. Bad idea.

Then he told me the price to come to my house and just look at the toilet.

I decided that the backyard wasn’t so bad and the dog was just gonna have to get in line like the rest of us.

©2011, Beckerman. All rights reserved.
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