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