30 May 2008

That's no moon

The caring folks at Angel Soft would love for you to smile and sigh when you see this scene, rather than get your stranglin' gloves broken in, as you should:
Angel Soft hates the environment but loves your moneyI don't know about you, but in my house, this kind of frivolous waste would mean that toilet paper would come in homemade 5-sheet rolls, not ones long enough for a puppy to frolic across your house with.*

And I'd still watch them like a hawk.

That's with good reason-- D- has lately shown every intention of making sure I have to. After being really good with everything to do with the toilet, he's taken up the new hobby of creating a hand-crafted softball each time he needs to dab himself clean.

Let me first assure you, we aren't dealing with the cheap stuff-- this is primo extra-thick Charmin bought in a package the size of a Yaris at Costco. That makes it pretty affordable for J- to pamper herself and for me to get by with about half a square each time, but it still ain't free, and regardless, I'd like him to not grow up to be as wasteful as Americans have been conditioned to be for decades now.

We had inklings of the problem in the past few weeks when: J- found an unflushed toilet more full of TP than of water; we marveled at how often we were putting out new rolls; and when I (from the shower...) heard the toilet choking and sputtering just with the effort to swallow what D- understatedly identified as "my pee-pee".

Now, I'll acknowledge that he might come by this proclivity quite honestly, as I've always (lovingly, of course) mocked J- for believing she needs to mummify her hand in order to be clean, but I doubt this is a genetically inherited trait, so hopefully it's just a phase for him. We had a little talk about it, I made some threats, and I thought we moved on.

Then yesterday, I found what at first looked like a particularly swollen disposable diaper sitting on the bathroom floor.** Upon closer inspection, it was virgin toilet paper crumpled into a ball so dense that the sheer weight of it must have made D- struggle to wield it while on the toilet earlier that afternoon. Once it rolled boulder-like away from him, he was surely forced to make a second one***, possibly even a bigger one, cause that's just how men think.

After calling him in for another interrogation, we had a second talk, of course referencing the first, more threats, and what I felt to be a rational and productive Q&A comparing the relative size of his wee-wee and its microscopic leftover drop to the overstuffed bean bag chair that is his apparently typical wiping utensil. That hopefully has now done the trick.

Meanwhile, all three of us (soon to be a fourth, please God) have only just this afternoon finished going through Ball #1 from that single bathroom trip 24 hours earlier.

* How many other industries make a habit of encouraging waste and misuse of their products? What would people say to an Ikea ad showing a 5-year-old cutely taking a claw hammer to a bookcase while the mom shakes her head and smiles, and the announcer says, "Time to go back to Ikea!"^

** It's a testament to how plush this paper is that even in holding and staring at it up close, with that amount of it all balled up, I couldn't immediately be sure it wasn't a diaper, or possibly some kind of rag.

*** Just the thought of this sends a shiver up my spine, headed to wherever in my brain my compulsion to avoid waste in all its forms resides, so I need to find a way to repress these visions of disproportionate environmental damage.

^ That's not to imply I wouldn't like to watch someone else's 5-year-old take the hammer to that someone else's bookcase... maybe it'd be okay if it was already irreparably broken...


Anonymous said...

At the risk of giving too much information (who, me?) we have a related problem at our house. My 11 year old clogs the toilet on the average of every other day (not kidding) by using 1/2 a roll of toilet paper EVERY TIME she uses the bathroom. We've tried everything we could think of to make her "get it" but my husband has become resigned to rolling his eyes and grabbing the plunger everytime she yells, "daddy!"

I feel your pain.

BusyDad said...

Paper wasting must be linked into our genetic code or something. I find it a total waste of perforation machine time to make toilet paper squares the size they are. Luckily my kid's obsession with paper wastage is centered upon the paper towel dispensers in public restrooms (those laser activated ones). He's sit there and use "the force" to spit out sheet after sheet after sheet. "These aren't the droids you're looking for" zzzzt *crumble* chuck, repeat.

Anonymous said...

I'm seeing a weird similarity between our days.

Insane Mama said...

My advice is to buy cheaper toilet paper. and then save empty kleenex boxes and put only the amount of TP that you think he / or she needs to use in the empt box
worked for me for awhile, until I got sick of doing that.

Natalie said...

well...i must say i am a toilet paper user. i try not to use too much, but i am like your wife. i use enough to be clean and then some.

LiteralDan said...

Christy: Oh, that would not be me. Your husband deserves a medal.

I'd be installing some kind of dispenser that only allows a preset number of squares per person, and only I would have the override code.

BusyDad: Oh I'm with Fury-- that's just wicked fun. It's the only useful motion-activated bathroom gadget. Now, if they would only make automatic bathroom doors so I could just flick my fingers and make the door fly open.

MamaNeena: Maybe we're doppelgangers?

insane mama: I'd be all about cheaper toilet paper, but unfortunately my wife refuses. I think I'd get sick of dishing out the toilet paper into a box, like you did, but if I had a butler or something, I'd be all over that, my friend.

Natalie: Well, at least you try (as does my wife, for the record)-- that's all one can ask, right?

SherE1 said...

I spent 20 minutes trying to unclog the toilet after my 4 YO flushed at least half a roll down. I was SO MAD. I made her come in there to see how she had "broken" the toilet. She definitely uses less toilet paper now!

Andrea said...

We seem to have a trend lately to decorate the bathroom with tp. I don't know about you, but I get tired of using toilet paper that has already been unrolled and now is in a ball. I think that the tp companies should get their hands slapped for promoting frivilous waste of paper. Or maybe they should have to be forever banned to using the cheap stuff :).

LiteralDan said...

SherE1: I hope we don't have to get to a disaster like that for the message to sink in. We're getting there, bit by bit. I still wonder what caused the sudden change in usage, except the idea that he just CAN.

Andrea: Mostly I hate having to re-roll the paper, though it does make me twitch to have the aesthetics thrown off by a mangled mass of paper in place of a nice, even factory-made roll.

I think a lifetime of scratchy half-ply paper might be considered cruel and unusual punishment.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you. The problem is that those silly commercial meke them feel they can do same and nothing would happen after you find out what they did. lol.

LiteralDan said...

That's right, and I'm here to be the heavy hand of reality every time they pull stunts like this :-)