Tuesday, June 2, 2009

High Maintenance Girl - Not!

No one can call me a high maintenance girl.  Ever!  Sure I enjoy window shopping at Tiffany and Cartier, could shoe shop for hours and love having a massage or pedicure from time to time, but what really flips my switch these days is....

A new toilet.  

It's all I wanted for my 51st birthday.  Not diamonds and jewelry, not a Mercedes convertible, not luxurious travel. Nope, all I wanted was a toilet-- that flushed really, really well.  My husband thought I was joking but I was dead serious.  

Today I got my wish.  I am the proud owner of a brand new Toto toilet-- with a self closing lid!  The lid was a "perk" I wasn't actually asking for, but it's a nice touch on a toilet if I do say so myself.

My husband and I became "green" and very eco-friendly way before the current trend of the planet conscious. We're no Ed Begley Jr., but we do our part.  It started about about 15 years ago when we changed our toilets to the highly publicized "water saving" models.  We shopped and shopped until we found 1) the MOST water efficient and 2) AMERICAN made.  

It wasn't easy either.  We looked at a lot of toilets.  Do you know how strange it is to sit on a floor sample toilet-- in a store-- with lots of people around-- looking at you sitting on a toilet.  Of course they weren't working toilets and I was dressed and everything, but it's a very strange thing to do in the middle of Home Depot.

Anyway, we found what looked to be the perfect toilet. Only problem was, when you shop for toilets, they aren't actually installed in the store with water, so you have no way of knowing how they actually flush-- As in, if the toilet's water saving system will actually "do the job" when used.

Long story short, in came a couple of eco-friendly toilets. We were so proud.  But hey, wait a minute.  These @#$%^& water saving toilets don't actually work!   They need to be flushed multiple times to "get the job done". That's not saving water!

Numerous plumbers have come and gone over the years all hemming and hawing over the problem.  None had a solution.  Everyone told me I needed a toilet with a bigger tank.  But, NO-- that defeated the purpose of "saving water".  No bigger bowls for this household. Besides, all that porcelain is not biodegradable and would only clutter up our already full landfills.  So we stuck with what we had and flushed, and flushed and flushed.  We tried to find comfort in knowing we were saving the planet-- sort of.

I can't tell you how many times over the years I've been in the middle of a dinner party, a family Thanksgiving gathering or a business shindig only to be tapped on the shoulder by an embarrassed guest who "couldn't get the toilet to flush all the way" in the guest bathroom.  I was so over our water saving toilets I could scream.

So off I went on yet another toilet shopping spree for my birthday.  Since floor model toilets are still not actually connected to a water source, I went to a speciality plumbing store with about 50 different toilets to select from and asked the expert potty salesmen for advice.  He gave me an in-depth education on all the latest toilets and their water-saving features.  (I will spare you the ** yawn** details.)   It's how I found the Toto brand toilet named after the little dog in Wizard of Oz.  (Kidding, I made the movie part up.)

I decided on the lovely Toto Eco-Supreme model.  But, I got smart this time and had the sales guy put into writing that the toilet would "do the job" or it was returnable! How the "toilet return" would actually take place remained fuzzy, but I felt better having the return policy on my side.

When I schedule the plumber to install my shiny new potty, I discovered, by picking the Toto up myself, I would save $100 on the delivery.  Being the low maintenance girl I am, that was no problem. I drive an SUV. (I know, kinda defeats the saving the planet stand I'm taking but I got it well before the gas crisis.  Promise, my next car will be a Prius.)  As I was saying, I stopped by the toilet store and had it loaded into the back of my SUV. Problem is, toilets are very heavy and since my husband was out of town, it had to stay in my car until the plumber arrived 5 days later.

Despite the toilet box being far bigger than the actual toilet itself, I drove everywhere with the Toto in my trunk to the point I nearly forgot I even had it, including during a trip to San Diego.  If you've ever headed up the freeway from San Diego to Los Angeles you know there's a security checkpoint where the Immigration Police either wave you through and on your way, or flag you over for inspection.  Well, apparently a toilet in your truck is a big red flag and I got pulled over.

Looking at my reflection in the officer's aviator sunglasses, I tried not to laugh as I explained the reason for a potty in the back of my SUV.  The officer was very serious about the whole thing since apparently the box looked big enough to hold several small children I might be smuggling over the boarder.

With the slightest hand gesture, my car was instantly surrounded by several other Immigration officers as they had me inch my way off the highway and into a parking space.  Okay, I stopped laughing with that one.  But come on, it was a toilet-- just look in the box.

After about 20 minutes of "procedures" and "official business", the officers figured out it really was a toilet. And that drew even more attention than the possible posse of smuggled kids in my car.  Apparently, toilet flushing problems were not just limited to my house!  A couple of cops asked about my research and decision-making process for the Toto.  

There we stood, with cars flying by, discussing potties, water saving devices,  environmental issues and landfills. I'm telling you, it was riveting conversation. 

Finally, my toilet and I were back on the road in bumper to bumper traffic.  The following day, my darling plumber appeared right on schedule to install my birthday present in the guest bathroom.  He had a big laugh over the Immigration Check Point and that my Toto was actually a present.  He wished his wife was that easy to shop for.  Further proof, I really am a low maintenance girl.

In less than an hour, I had a shiny new toilet that flushed like a champ!  Swoosh!!!!  The water rushes in and out faster than you can say illegal alien!  And the "job is done" on the first water-saving flush.  No, I'm usually not into potty talk but my new toilet is so great I just had to share my news.

It seems the older I get the less "stuff" I want or need.  I figure, if at 51, I'm asking for toilets, my husband will have it very easy shopping for me in the years to come. What's next?  A new garbage disposal, car tires, a garden hose maybe?  Okay, maybe I'm not that low maintenance.  

What's the craziest gift you've ever wanted?
Welcome to The Fifty Factor  -  Joanna


  1. Oh my, what a fun post. You made me laugh, "Well, apparently a toilet in your truck is a big red flag and I got pulled over." Um, yes!!

    Imagine their faces.

    I can also just imagine the faces of people when they asked you what you got for your birthday and you said 'a new toilet'. And I can also picture you showing everyone that came to the house your new gift.

    It sounds great and a self closing lid is a dream. Now even I could get excited by a toilet for that reason alone. I think you are the practical kind I think.

    And the best bit is, now everyone will know who to come to given your extensive education on the subject.

    I could do better on the eco friendly side of things I think. I am into saving water though which is a real issue for us in Oz.

    Delightful, fun post!

  2. AWESOME present! Love the story of your loo's trip etc.
    I am a high maintenance girl... sadly for Stew! I'm getting a new sapphire ring shortly... but I don't think it will beat your amazing new loo!
    I don't think I have ever asked for a a 'crazy' gift! It's got me thinking though......lol

  3. You really ARE a woman "on the go", aren't you?? Great story; loved the check point part...guys and their plumbing talk.

    MY gift that sticks out in my deep, dark memory is "all I wanted for Christmas" was a basketball hoop and backboard from my first hubby. I can't remember if I got it or a vacuum cleaner!

  4. I don't remember, but I'm PRETTY sure it wasn't a toilet.

    xoxox (great post)

  5. We recently renovated a bathroom and put in a high efficiency toilet. Love it! It even gets the job done after teenaged boys use it!

    The craziest gift...well, every year for mothers day I ask for cow manure, to put in the garden and around the roses. I get it, too, a whole truck load. Then they help me spread it.

    ha- word verification says "choors"

  6. The craziest gift I ever wanted?...

    The horse farm?
    The diamond upgrade?
    The All-Clad cookware?

    Hi Joanna! Thank you SO MUCH for stopping by Casa Hice and leaving such a nice comment. I came by to return the favor and - wow!, your blog is killer. Can't wait to read it line for line. In fact, I need to go back now and do two things...

    ...read this amazing toilet post, and subscribe to your blog!

  7. One more thing... now you have me jonesing for a Toto of my own.

    Oh, and the illegal Alien comment was a classic!

  8. I think I love you just a little bit more after this post. Oh, and also for being green...love that more.

  9. I can not even imagine a toilet that has a self closing lid, how clever. I am glad you like the model you purchased. Thank you for coming by and have a great week.

  10. Your story remind me of the time my friend took her kids to Home Depot to pick out paint. Her four year old had to go potty. She kept holding her off. telling her to wait just one more minute. While she was talking with the paint guy, Little Kathryn wiggled out of her hand hold and relieved herself in one of the display toilets.

    A very angry store manager told Jane she had to leave the store immediately.

    i don't think she has ever returned!

  11. hilarious and I am glad I am not the only one who doesn't need diamonds or fancy car. My car is paid for and almost 10 years old I plan to get an antique tag for it one day..LOL

  12. That is so hilarious. Thanks for sharing and had such a good laugh. Just imagine the pocliemen faces.

  13. Back in 07 there was news of these high tech toilets being recalled.

    hot seat techHopefully all those problems have been worked out.

    You also could of brought some high tech self cleaning toilets from the city of Seattle on ebay not too long ago. I guess a refurbished public toilet for your guest might be a bit tacky.

    I suggest you invite all your readers over to try out the toto.

  14. Hmm, yes well, whatever turns you on, I guess. Great post. Very funny. You don't sound all that low maintenance to me, which can refer to effort rather than just cost, but I'm sure you're worth every penny and every second - but then again, what do I know? ;)

    My strangest want? Not sure really - years ago I did ask for a blonde in a Porche and got a Barbie doll and an Airfix kit. Serves me right for being facetious I suppose. These days I hardly bother with birthdays any more either as, after soo-oooo many years of being 36, I sort of feel it might be getting a bit unrealistic these days, but I don't really want to celebrate being any other age.

  15. Oh Joanna, I should be doing a million things today but I'm reading your blog. And, I'm so glad that I took the time because this one will stay with me for a long, long time!!
    I received a Dyson vacuum cleaner for Valentines Day once and it made my heart melt! I love to suck up all of life's nasties....Now, if only Mr. Dyson could make a toilet, right?
    I'm glad that you found one that you like and you got to do some travelling with it before it was installed.
    All kidding aside, this is the funniest story I've heard in a long time!! Thanks dear! Also, I stole the linkwithin feature from you. I loved that too!!

    No kidding w.v is vices

  16. What a fun post and what a perfect gift! I need 2 new toilets myself! I got a new vaccuum cleaner for Mother's Day at my request! No high maintenance here either!

  17. well the TOTO's are top of the line and the self closing lid is intriguing! All the better that it flushes properly! Good for you Joanna. I usually have no idea what I want for gifts except maybe flowers.

  18. Just to clarify, I don't suck up you-know-what with my Dyson, just dirt. I thought about my comment and it sounded weird. I'm sure you're not surprised!! I should be doing other things. That's what I get for rushing!!


  19. Thanks for the big smiles! I can relate to this, being a toilet girl myself. (Love potty humor, too!) I am right with the others who listed new vacuum cleaners as the ultimate gifts. But one of my neighbors asked for a power drill last Christmas, and while everyone else said this wasn't very romantic, she loves that darned thing!

  20. I'm not a high maintenance girl. A new toilet would make my day.

    Loved Your Story!

  21. *still laughing* This was great, but you reminded me of some bad dreams with the "sitting in public on a toilet" - ever have one of those dreams?! Not fun. Lol.

    I can't believe you were pulled over and then they wanted to discuss your decision making.

    OK, you didn't tell us though, did you get a round seat or an oval seat?

    Oh and my parents bought a toilet, but they installed the lid on backwards, so for men - it was particularly dangerous when they lifted the lid - it wanted to come right back done. LOL

  22. My 2 boys love to plug the toilet!!! They hold it until they just have to do a number 2 with no other choice. So...

    We have replaced all of our toilets with American Standard that were top rated in Consumer Reports. Problem solved. No plugs since!! I do not like to plunge the toilet! Just gross.

    I felt like dajavue when I clicked open your blog!! Same colors and a little bit of the same lay out. But...

    You have ads!!! congrats!! I have not explored the how of ads. Email me any secrets :-)

    Thank you for following my blog. I will stalk you too!!!

  23. Darlin believe when I say that a toilet that flushes properly is really a gift. And you have now given "going across the border" a whole new meaning for me which I am grateful.

    Two years ago I asked for a vacuum for my birthday...my husband thought I was crazy. Crazy I am not. It's the practical things in life that are truly the most priceless.

    Awesome post (and one that won't be flushed anytime soon---tee hee hee_

  24. Really funny post! I saw that you had visited my daughter's blog and had to check out yours. I actually got a new toilet about 2 years ago - but the leasing office had to buy it for my apartment. Turned out the old one had some broken piece blocking the exit so the plunger was needed half the time!!! I was so excited to see that new toilet I can identify with your glee!!!

    Nancy in Atlanta (Diane's Mom)

  25. I am still laughing my arse over your checkpoint conversation!

    I am glad they were so understanding. Can you imagine making the evening news cause one of them got taser happy and it wound up really just being over a toilet?

    You would have been on Good Morning America defending your right to minimize flushings...

    Good stuff!!

  26. You! Are hysterical. I love your life and that you share it with us so frankly and with aplomb!

    That toilet, no job is done till the paper work is done. And sounds like that Toto of yours really rips it up.

    SO happy birthday Woman, many happy flushes of your day.

    I have to say though, that post photo? Oh, my, now I am all about the bling!

  27. Joanna, thanks so much for your kind comment on my blog. Yay, another follower! Whoo-hoo!

    And you, my dear are too, too funny! Oh my gosh, can't tell you how hard I laughed at your 5-day toilet chauffering, complete with inspection (and approval!) by the federal government.

    So, I'm curious...how many gallons does it use?

    I am totally in sync with you about the desire for a better toilet. My weirdest gift request may have been when I asked for a thesaurus for my 13th birthday. I still have it, over 20 years later!

    This year, Miss Chef may actually buy me a ladder for my birthday...we'll see!

  28. THANK YOU ALL!!! I am loving your comments and laughing every time I look at my toilet-- Which, by the way, my godson has shown to everyone he can pull in off the street-- The mailman, UPS and FedEx guys and the gas meter reader! He just stands at the open front door and says "Would you like to see a toilet with ta seat that closes by itself." It's hysterical (or a great way to dodge doing his homework) because ALL the guys want to check it out. It's been like Grand Central Station around here.

    Thanks for visiting my blog. I'll be by yours soon! xo

  29. i would not have imagined such a long and informative and even funny post about toilets.

    we got new toilets in the past year, but my impression is that european ones are far ahead of american on water consumption and ..ahem...flushability. so no real challenges there. just in case, there's always a toilet brush right beside toilets both upstairs and down so no guest has to ever be embarrassed. :-)

  30. Tears in my eyes from that story. Too funny!!
    I'm definitely low maintenance, preferring no celebration other than dinner out, we're definitely not in to gift-giving for our birthdays. We're the most low-maintenance couple you'll ever come across.

  31. You have to be the world's most talented writer to make a toilet post that riveting! Love the cops. And I am low maintenance too. For Mother's day I asked for a garage door remote!

  32. ps,
    I finally got that tag posted from last week.

  33. I love this! I think the toilet is a great gift! We have one that doesn't flush well and it drives me crazy - so maybe I need a Toto too!

  34. That is hilarious! There is an episode of "King of the Hill" all about the water saving toilets. It was funny too. You know I tried one of the water saving devices on my shower, I was in there twice as long just trying to get the shampoo rinsed out of my hair! That thing came out the same day, luckily a little easier than changing toilets! I totally get your gift wish list. I still have a brand new wheelbarrow on my wish list but hubby hasn't got it for me yet!

  35. What a great birthday gift!!! The crazy gift I ever got a collapasable collander. I know, real edgy. LOL!

  36. You're so funny...my priorities are changing too as I get older: ) The big 40 on Friday!! So, your a Gemini too;-)

  37. A toilet with a self closing lid? Wow!

  38. I love this story! Those security police are living proof that people like to talk about the things that really affect their lives.
    I'm so happy you got the toilet that you wanted, isn't it nice when you get what you want?
    Did you know that you are only 4 months older than me? xo

  39. Hilarious! I love the fact that a toilet can unite people as shown by those Immigration Officers!

    All toilets in Sweden have two flush modes - water-saving and full flush (only used when needed to get the job done)...

  40. Funny post! I have often wondered how I could get a "Public restroom" type toilet in my house. I love the force at which they flush!

  41. i want a new toilet for my birthday. inside a new volvo.

    i bet i could have fit inside the toto box. that would have been something.

    it'd be like...
    *stops for immigration po-po*
    *w jumps out of box and yells "surprise"*
    *toilet confiscated and used by immigration po-po*

  42. When I had the bathroom in this old house redone 18 years ago, the guy who did the work suggested a water-saver toilet and ok, that was fine with me. Supposedly it worked in that department but I have no way of determining that for sure. However, the past couple of months we have problems with it not flushing properly -the bowl filling to the rim, just to the point of almost overflowing. It gets plunged then, repeatedly and finally the water recedes. The culprit in this case is something that is a known thing and embarrassing as this may be to type or read I'll tell you what our problems is now with the water-saver here. It's my 5-year-old granddaughter's poopage! Yes, indeed, that is what it is! Clogs the damned thing everytime she has a passage of one of these humungeous things! Looks like a big old softball but of the hardball variety and they have to be left to lay in the base of the toilet for a good long while to soften them up before attempting to flush them! Seriously folks, I am telling you the gospel truth here about this poor kid! And although she is tall for her age, she is not otherwise a big child -not the least bit on the plumpish side at all and you wonder as you gaze upon one of these "wonders" of hers how exactly did this little girl push that out anyway? No wonder the damned commode gets all plugged up, for sure! So now -here's that word again -I wonder just how much or a water-saver our commode really is then?


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