If you follow this blog, then you know that last year I wrote a ‘What’s Cookin’ at Hide A Heart Central‘ page where I shared bits of my personal life along with my favorite coping skill…cleaning toilets.
“Why does she use cleaning toilets as a coping skill?” you may ask. I didn’t always simply clean the toilet as a stress release skill.
I borrow one of my favorite lines from the 1978 play CRIMES OF THE HEART by Beth Henley- “I know why mama hung the cat. She was just havin’ a very bad day….”
“I’m on my way to the hardware store to buy new toilet seats because my life’s in the shitter!” That’s the answer I gave my friend when she called to cheerily ask, “What ‘cha up to?”
By the end of the day, four toilets had brand spanking new seats, plus been scrubbed and pumice stoned to remove all trace of stains. Yep, this is what I do when I’m having a ‘very bad day’. Hey! It beats hanging the cat!
One of my favorite UU (Unitarian Universalist) stories to share is about the guy that falls over a cliff but is able to grab hold of root to keep from falling all the way to the canyon floor. He yells for help and from out of the blue he hears a voice say, “Trust me John. Let go.” John yells a second time, ‘Hey! Anybody up there? I need help.” Again he hears a voice say, “John, just let go. Trust me.” to which John yells, “Anybody else up there?”
I find cleaning the toilets a very metaphoric experience through which I ‘let go’ of stress. One pours in disinfectant to douse the germs, swabs thoroughly, then flushes the entire mess in one big swirl, and “away go troubles down the drain.” I like to think of it as a kind of love note I give to myself.
But, what coping skill is available when the toilet is broken? How prophetic!
Toilet Tanks Just Ain’t What They Used To Be
My husband suffers from excessively low blood pressure. He has collapsed on numerous occasions, but so far he has been very lucky. He has not broken any bones or any thing else for that matter. He has hit his head a few times. The last time he hit his head he said, “Boy, I’m getting tired of crowning myself every time I turn around.” We had a good laugh over that comment.
He has collapsed in the watercloset at least 4 times, again, without any real calamity. However, all that changed two weeks ago.
Perhaps it was the last straw for the tank. My husband is a large person at 6′ 3 weighing 215 lbs. and he’d crashed down catapulting the tank into the wall with each fall. After all, how much abuse can a toilet tank take? Apparently, this particular tank had had enough!
In 10 days I replaced two…count ’em, TWO toilet tanks. Clearly the newer version is NOT made of sturdy stuff because he collapsed in the water closet 4 days after the new tank was installed. Twice in 8 days I had lept up out of a dead sleep like a Phoenix to turn off the water supply before the entire room flooded! It’s the kind of ‘wake up call’ I abhor.
Yes! There Are Unbreakable Toilets
Researching ‘unbreakable toilet tanks’ it turns out a one-piece could be the future toilet purchase in this household. You know, there’s more than one way to clean toilets!
When I brought the ‘unbreakable’ toilet to the attention of my husband, he said, “Hey. We’ve already replaced the tank. I’m gonna see if I can keep from doing that again.” Uh huh.
Anger Management Idea
Well, until then, TWO toilet tank replacements and 5 grab bar installations later, I’m happy to report that I am back to simply cleaning toilets as my preferred coping skill for stress AND I know just where to find the better replacement should one be necessary.
My friend Steve offers further insight here