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Three score and ten or more

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


I hardly know where to start. I really would like to take the first guy who proposed the shrinking toilet as a solution to water shortages. I am not sure whether the next step would be to station him/her in a position where he/she would have to catch toilet effluent from an old toilet and then from a new toilet in buckets and force him to measure (preferably with bare hands) the amount of effluent for a successful flush in each type of toilet or just arrange to seat him/her where the effluent would go on the idiot's head or neck. I am sure that the moronic plumbing mathematician would catch on rather quickly that more water is wasted flushing away the contents of an old toilet in one flush than is wasted in three flushes on the new modern version. The old ones worked better and saved water, but there are now laws in every state prohibiting the new installation of old style toilets. There was even a program on one of the legal television shows about some poor soul who went to Canada, smuggled in an old style toilet from Canada, installed it in his home and got caught. (I don’t remember how he was caught, and probably we don’t want to know since this is a family blog) but he was actually sentenced to prison for the act. (He caught a break though because his judge died,and somebody else received his sentence, but he admitted it was he, and they were merciful—I know, it’s complicated.)

In my old house we had one “new” toilet and one “old” one that had been “grandfathered” in. I salvaged the purity of our sewer lines by using the old one as often as possible and by placing an industrial strength plumber’s friend (sewer plunger) in a convenient relationship to the new one. Life, if not perfect, was, at least functional, and we lived there successfully for almost thirty years.

We then decided it was necessary to “downsize” since our kids were grown and the old house had 2700 square feet of space with four bedrooms and two baths. This was more house than we wanted to take care of . Our decision was helped by the fact that a realtor had found someone who wanted to buy our house, the house next to us and a vacant lot owned by the Salvation Army and build therein a little complex that would have shops downstairs and garden apartments upstairs, and we were offer almost a hundred thousand over the normal price at that time. We hastily downsized and bought a little 1700 square foot house with a pool and and acre of yard.

(We love it, but if you know anyone in the three score and ten or more category who is considering doing the same thing, remind them that someone has to clean and maintain the pool, as well as mow that acre of lawn and trim all that shrubbery, and three score and ten is not a good age to take that responsibility unless one can afford a pool boy and a yard service. Of course, if the sale of the house had gone through, we might have afforded these things.)

The fact that we still own both of these properties is evidence that the sale did not go through. Although this property was originally developed as commercial property, it has been zoned residential and the neighbors protested to the city fathers that this would make their property less valuable. (The value of almost all of it has dropped about thirty percent now, and most of the homes are now student rentals. Oh Well)

Back to toilets. We discovered that both of the toilets in our new house are “new” toilets. They require at least two or three flushes to flush away anything heavier than urine. Even worse, one has to hold on to the “handle” for at least ten seconds before they will flush at all. If one fails to hold on to the handle for the required period of time they just run constantly, thus filling up the septic tank with water. (bad thing). I am pretty handy, and I have replaced the entire guts of both these toilets twice (the second time, in consultation with a friendly plumber type), to no avail.

When Janet fell last December and shattered her femur into about four pieces, she ended up in a wheelchair for about three months and a walker for quite a while (still, occasionally). This required surgery on the bathroom door (so the wheel chair could fit in) and the installation of a raised “potty chair) with arms over the existing toilet.

When several months passed, we decided to replace one of the “johns” with a new sixteen and one half inch sitting place, enabling the removal of the temporary facility. Off I went to Lowes to purchase one of these. I examined the literature, talked to the salesman, and picked one (Made by Jacuzzi, a name that has always done me “good”) that was rated as the best flusher in the lot. (four stars).

I took it home and after removing the miserable toilet that was in place, I installed my new one. I discovered that the new toilet (Lots of people down here use the term commode, but I call a toilet a toilet) doesn’t require one to hold down the handle at all. One small touch and “swoosh” the toilet empties in about a second. BUT it still carries the curse of the new waterless toilet requirement, Though it flushes, any thing in the toilet bigger that four sheets of toilet paper remains in the bowl, looking up expectantly as if to say “HO HO HO”, and we go back to the industrial strength plumber’s friend. It is higher though, and both Janet and I can stand up after use, without a cane or an assistant.

As for the old toilet, I arranged for a charitable organization who builds homes to collect about two FULL rooms of furniture, picture frames, old stereos, etch to sell at their local “RETURN” store. I put old John in the back of the van and carried to to be placed with the other stuff. They got caught in the rain and only took a part of the stuff and couldn’t come back before my new renters were ready to move in, but guess what they left! JOHN himself. It sits there on the lawn of old house, looking lonesome. I am afraid that John’s reputation must have preceded him. I have proposed to my wife that we turn Southern Eclectic and fill the back with potting soil (as well as the seat) an plant begonias in him. I won’t darken these pages with her reply, but I am still looking for a place for him to live. If anyone wants a sturdy “new style” toilet that looks just normal and has to be flushed at least twice, come pick him up. I give directions.


At 8:32 PM, Blogger Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

Don't talk to me about "low-flush" toilets. I thought they were an "only in California thing." Boy, do I hate them?

At 6:32 PM, Blogger Three Score and Ten or more said...

Nope Patrick, the darn things are a nationally shared pain (literally) in the butt.


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