On Toilet Seats and Meat Thermometers — Oct. 8, 2021

I found it funny this morning to be walking through Kohl’s with a meat thermometer in my right hand and two toilet seats tucked under my left arm. There are some moments in life that are just serendipitous.

Boy The Elder and Wifey Poo are indirectly responsible for this little portrait you now have in your mind. The meat thermometer was a gift for Wifey Poo — one of those “just because” gifts that was needed because amateur-chef Boy The Elder absconded to his new apartment with our old meat thermometer. BTE was not supposed to buy her a new meat thermometer for a belated birthday gift. We had discussed that he was going to get her replacement salt-and-pepper shakers, the old ones falling victim to his newfound living situation as well, and that I would give her the meat thermometer because I love her and a family evidently cannot live without a meat thermometer.

Alas, the plans of 19-year-olds often change and sometimes do so without notice to Dear Old Dad. Our family is a lot of things, but one thing it is not ever going to be is the owner of two extremely similar digital meat thermometers. On this principle I plant my flag and am willing to die.

The toilet seats were a different matter. To say that I gave Boy The Younger a new toilet seat for achieving a personal best in cross country, without giving some context as to why that led to him screaming, “Yes! Awesome!,” would be to invite serious questions about how our little family operates. Come to think of it, the context might still leave those questions, but for what it’s worth, when we moved into New Home in August, BTY made it clear he did not like the wood one that was left behind in what he calls “his” bathroom. I can’t say I blame him. I don’t recall one situation in which I sat down on wood and thought, “Well now that’s comfortable.”

BTY is a big fan of those slow-closing toilets, and, truthfully, so am I. What I am not a fan of is sudden loud noises, and boys aren’t real good about gently doing anything, lowering a toilet seat included.

So I did what Good Dads do: I went on Amazon and ordered him a slow-close toilet seat, where I was immediately faced with a choice between round and elongated. Seriously, people. I know we can’t agree on much as Americans, but can we at least come together around the shape of our toilet seats? If anything in this country should be standard, I’d put forward the toilet seat shape is it.

Anywho, this uncertainty led to a trip into the bathroom, where, if you’d walked in at that moment, you would have seen me staring at the open bowl, tilting my head this way and that, trying to determine which type of toilet seat to buy. And yes, I know I could have solved this dilemma with a tape measure, but the toolbox was in the family room, a good 20 feet away and I can be incredibly lazy when I want to be.

Eventually, I determined our toilet seats are of the round family, which caused me to immediately start thinking of those with elongated toilet seats as pretentious snobs. So I ordered BTY a toilet seat and, while I was at it, I upped the quantity to “2” so I could replace the one in the master bathroom, as well. After all, I am a boy, too, and have no problem startling myself.

Plus, here’s the thing: It’s not a good idea to have a slow-close toilet seat on some of your toilets. If you’re going slow-close, you’ve gotta be all-in. Otherwise, you’ll end up forgetting which kind of toilet seat is where and just willy-nilly dropping the lid on a regular-close toilet, which leads to the sudden loud noises of which I was speaking.

Fast forward. Amazon gets me my toilet seats in 12 minutes, we give BTY his run-like-hell award, and then the seats sit there, awaiting a free moment for me to install them because, apparently, I’m The Toilet Seat Installer of the family. I’m not complaining about this de-facto designation. Wifey Poo is The Vomit Cleaner of our tribe, so we have a good thing going that I’m not going to mess with.

This morning while I was getting going with my morning ritual of contacts/vitamins/shave/shower, Wifey Poo sauntered (yes, sauntered) into the bathroom and casually said, “What color are our toilets?”

Marriage is a funny thing. There are a million things that I would have put higher on the list of “Things My Wife Will Ask While I’m Getting Ready For The Day” than “What color are our toilets.” And here’s the reality: I didn’t even know there were colors of toilets. My assumption, much like my assumption on the shape of toilet seats, was the color of toilets in America was something we as a nation had determined sometime in the past by a vote in Congress or act of the President or something. Never once in my 47 years of life have I ever stopped and actually looked at a toilet to ponder its color, and I think it’s incredibly arrogant of Americans to actually have different-colored toilets. In my world, toilets were one color: White.

Don’t get on my ass about home decorating options and color matching White goes with everything so just shut up. And if you’re too good to sit your ass down on a white toilet with a round toilet seat, well, go shit in the woods.

So I replied: “I dunno… white?” thinking that this might be her version of Quiz Show and if I nailed the answer I would win a new car or a trip to Australia.

Not only was I wrong about the intentions of the question, I was wrong about its answer.

“I don’t think they’re white,” she replied. “I think they’re more almond.”

I still wasn’t catching where she was going with this in-depth examination of our toilet color, and besides, if she knew what color our toilets were and weren’t, why was she asking me if I knew what they were? So I casually replied, “Oh. Cool” and actually thought that would be the end of it.

Oh, John, you fool.

“Well then the toilet seats you got are the wrong color,” she continued.

“The toilet seats are the wrong color? What do you mean the toilet seats are the wrong color?” I said, suddenly finding myself defensive about my carefully chosen toilet seats. Sitting here now, that I was defensive about toilet seats is probably a new low for me.

“I mean the wrong color,” she said. “As in, the lids won’t match the bowls.”

“And the lids matching the bowls is something we want?” I said, but since you’re reading this and not hearing how I actually said it, know this: You probably want to make that question mark kinda small and certainly changeable to a period because I was doing the Husband Trick of giving myself an out if what really was a question painted me as the stupidest human being alive.

“Exactly,” she replied.

“Yeah, exactly,” I said confidently, as if I knew all along that toilets were different colors and that lids and seats are definitely supposed to match bowls in every circumstance always and forever amen.

So I did what I do. I went to Amazon and searched for toilet seats that were the color almond. Now, I’ve seen almonds. And I’ve seen our toilets. And the former’s color does not match the latter’s. But who am I to quibble with the namers of colors?

No one. That’s who.

I was shocked when, in 0.0128 seconds, Jeff Bezos returned for me a list of a 5 bazillion toilet seats that were not white.

So there we were, Wifey Poo and I, with my phone, standing over the bowl, scrolling through pictures of toilet seats of different hues, trying to figure out which one would match our obnoxiously not-white toilets. As best we could determine in the poor lighting of the master bathroom pooping palace, the color was, as Wifey Poo had postulated, almond. Premium almond, to be more precise.

“Seventy-five bucks!” I screamed.

“What?”

“This toilet seat costs seventy-five bucks!”

“Well how much did the wrong-colored ones cost?” she asked, trying to get me to unwittingly concede that the ones I purchased were, indeed, “wrong” instead of just “different.”

The ones I purchased cost twenty-seven dollars,” I replied.

“Oh. Well then I don’t think they’re almond,” she said.

And right there, I learned something. I learned, at the age of 47, that the color of an object can change based on its cost.

“What’s that color cost?” she asked, pointing to a shade called “Biscuit/Linen.”

Now the answer was $35, which is much more reasonable than $75 though still not low enough for the thing that cradles your ass while you’re pooping, but that’s not where I was at that point. Where I was, was in deep thought over how “biscuit” and “linen” got thrown together with just a mere / between them to denote a shade close to almond but more than 50% cheaper. And here’s the kicker: I’ve never seen a biscuit or any linen that’s that shade!

By this time, I was falling behind in my morning schedule, which was leading me up to an 8 a.m. Zoom call with a guy named Marshall to discuss a live chat and chatbot feature on my team’s website. So instead of furthering the discussion about shades of toilet seats, I simply said, “That’ll do.”

Two new slow-closing, round, Biscuit/Linen toilet seats will be here tomorrow.

So that’s what necessitated my walk through Kohl’s — which, in case you were unaware, takes returns for Amazon for just about any reason you could possibly conjure up on your most imaginative day — with a meat thermometer and two toilet seats in tow.

And you damn well better believe that, when I got to the counter and deposited the stuff in front of the kind be-masked woman, I said, “Yeah, my wife bought the wrong color toilet seat. Pshhhh. I mean, really? She couldn’t just look at the bowl and see we needed Biscuit/Linen and not white? But hey. I married her before I knew that about her, so whatryougonna do?”


Chimney Sweep Guy

There are three types of people associated with top hats:

  1. Magicians
  2. Abe Lincoln impersonators
  3. Chimney sweepers

I totally understand the first one. You’re not goin to pull a rabbit out of, say, a beret. And Abe Lincoln impersonators gotta do what Abe Lincoln done did.

Chimney sweepers, though? It seems an entirely inconvenient choice of headwear if your main task is to stick your head in a fireplace.

When we moved into New House, we knew the fireplace hadn’t been used in five years or more. FIL just got tired of hauling in firewood, I guess. We, however, are People of the Fireplace. I’ll make a fire in the middle of summer if I need a little comfort. We actually went to Old House on the day before it was officially sold and jammed my car trunk full of firewood we’d stacked there while it still was technically ours. Hey, shut up. Firewood ain’t cheap.

Before cold weather sets in, I wanted to make sure the fireplace was, ya know, safe, and seeing as how I am not going to be the one to stick anything up a chimney, I figured this was a job for someone with a bit more training and possibly better equipment.

Well, for the low-low price of $289, MadHatter Chimney Sweeps came out this morning and shoved a camera up there. And of course they found something wrong. Apparently, there are a few cracks in the tiles on the way up Santa’s passageway. “Don’t use it until you get that fixed,” said the chimney sweep guy, who was, sadly, not wearing a top hat. “It’s not that we’re the chimney police and are gonna come out and arrest you, but creosote can build up in the crack.”

“And we don’t want that to happen?” See above item about the question mark that’s really a pseudo-period.

“Exactly,” he replied.

“And how much would fixing a thing like that cost?” I asked.

“Oh, we’ll have to get a proposal together and send that to you,” he replied.

Here’s something I know: In the history of the world, nothing requiring a proposal has ever been cheap.

So I’m faced with three options:

  1. Not using the fireplace, thereby diminishing my level of home enjoyment.
  2. Getting the chimney fixed with whatever this pending proposal recommends.
  3. Pretending that the chimney sweep guy gave me a “You’re good to go” and hoping that creosote buildup, whatever that might be, isn’t going to kill me and my family with poisonous fumes or incinerate us in a massive blaze.

What would you do?


The ‘Don’t Blame Me, I Didn’t Say It’ of the Day

‘Dumboriss Smith has lips the size of michellin tires.’

JOn Gruden, 2011 email

Yikes, dude.


I Miss Baseball

My New York Yankees went out with a wimper Tuesday night — against the Red Sox, no less. My new-hometown team, the Cardinals, lost in a walk-off the next night. I’m already missing baseball that matters to me. There’s something about baseball the other sports don’t have. It’s a game meant to be savored, to be shared. Wifey Poo and I went to the Cardinals last regular game Sunday afternoon. We talked as we haven’t talked in years. I don’t remember much about the game, except for the fact that the Cards lost 3-2. But I’ll always remember it as the time Wifey Poo and I were at our best. There’s no time for that in hockey, in basketball… even in football, with its 35 seconds or so between plays. Baseball unveils itself slowly, like a leisurely drive through the countryside. I suppose I can jump on the bandwagon of a different team and jump in the deep end with its fans. But it’s just not the same.

Today’s Reasons to Keep Living.

  1. I have a whole weekend with zero responsibilities, and the mandate is to unwind and enjoy myself. So I will.
  2. Rediscovering old music that once was my favorite. It’s like catching up with an old friend.
  3. Maker’s Mark. I’m technically supposed to drink only dry red wine to stave off inflammation and the hell that is Longhaul COVID, but every once in awhile, it hits the spot.

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