Friday, December 11, 2009



As many of you know, and maybe two of you don't, my husband, Vild, has been spending a lot of time in China. Suffice it to say, he built a thing, the thing broke, he fixed the thing, the thing became many things and then all those things needed tweaking. Apparently he is the only engineer on the planet who can make the thing work and the Chinese people stop talking to their lawyers at the same time. So there have been many trips, all of them dusted in a nice powdery coating of Chinese anger and doodie-sprinkles, because apparently they don't use toilet paper over there.  In fact, he tells me, via one line text messages in the middle of the night, the executive bathroom is distinguished from the general populous' by virtue of the fact that its a single hole, and not a trench.  The Execs get a trickle of dirty water to rinse with too, but no soap, no paper. These same people wear masks at the market to prevent swine flu and take your temperature upon entering the country.
Today the pipes froze at The Upholstery shop. The building was originally a carriage repair shop, circa 1880, so the plumbing is sort of an add-on, and hangs stupidly below, and in some places outside, the building. We treat these pipes like the legs of a fine stallion, wrapping them in warm towels, bandaging them and leaving a heater on in the stall - but even so, I had to go to Starbucks to use their trench, which is, in every way, nicer than my bathroom at home.  Theirs are always clean and lovely, and replete with papers of every weight and dimension. For nose, bum and hands. With low light and a clean sink, I often stay a little longer than is considerate, admiring their choice of vinyl moldings and textured paints.

We at home, have two bathrooms. One for the four human members of the family and one for the cat box.  I am the only creature under this roof who goes with the door closed.  And Kitty, at least, will toss some sand over her doot.  The rest of these people have no shame, and borderline flushing skills.  Its only because I love and respect you so much that I have not made posts to the Daily Ick (R.I.P.) illustrating their inferior flushing skills.

The only reason I'm not more jealous of my cat, and her private pissoir, is because that downstairs bathroom dwells in the land that time forgot. Its both hideous and there's not enough of it. Its about 4x5 feet, which is workable, if a reality show came and waxed my throne, turning it into something wee but with a waterfall.  But mine is the ultimate 'before' bathroom. It will never get asked to the prom without being humiliated under a vat of pig's blood.

It has a drop ceiling that is missing a whole tile, revealing a lot of plumbing and weird cold air returns. Sometimes the condensation on those pipes is so severe that it makes a small puddle on the floor. The floor, which is the most egregious kind of bulk ceramic tile,  in a very off terra cotta color, a color I call, Tanning Booth Brown.  It's so cold underfoot, that it even makes my balls shrink. The tiny shower stall, fiberglass, is the smallest they make and is comparable in size to the bathroom on a Boeing 737. You can shampoo your hair, but with only one elbow flexed at a time.  The other arm is mercilessly pinned to your side.

There is a cabinet in there that holds only smell. And not just one smell. Smells of years gone by. Tonics and acne cleansers, cat litter and lotions and cleaning products. You could keep a few seniors from the community college busy for an afternoon doing a forensics work up on that cabinet.

The sink is pedastal, with a wide, too shallow basin. The tiny, plasticy medicine cabinet is pure 80's bachelor. It is flanked by inverted petal sconces with corrugated glass domes.

Sometimes late at night I go in there a blow a tiny, pathetic hit of pot into the outtake vent.  With cat litter grains crunching under foot, I really know how to get down.

When guests come to use our crappy office as a guest room, I can turn that crumpled can of a bathroom into something vaguely accommodating, using fresh towels, candles and ample use of bath rugs. I put little soaps and shampoos in there to trick my guests into feeling that its not the most hideous place on earth. But lets face it. If I forced my guests into a naked pyramid and snapped a few photos, they might stand a chance at better accommodations. But they indulge me, my beloved enemy combatants, because I make a nice stew, and will toast marshmallows with them around a campfire on a summer night. On those balmy nights they can pee outside, or, I know a really nice bathroom in town they can use.


  1. The image of you late at night in butt-ass cold Ohio blowing a tiny hit of pot out the window with dirty cat litter crunching underfoot truly highlights the glamour of your situation, dearie.

  2. Okay, all the times I have been your houseguest I was trying not to say anything... but as usual you have said it all... perfectly.

  3. No fair! As a recent guest I pawed through all the decoy soaps and towels - not a crumb of pot anywhere. None. I did, however, achieve a Full Drowning Houdini in the shower stall you mention.

  4. interesting, how that tree's new roots pierce earth, I laughed fifteen times and everyone at work asked what the hell was so're excellent--Norah H