Relationships can be tricky at the best of times. With all of the pressures of modern life, we can so easily forget what’s really important. It’s not about how much money you have or how new your car is. It’s not about which version of the iPhone you’ve upgraded to, or what brand of expensive jacket you have splashed out on.
It’s about much more basic, vital elements; the ones that mean the same to people the world over – no matter their culture, age, or status. Like getting the next toothpaste out. Yes, that’s right. The next toothpaste. In our house it is one of those things that only I apparently have the skill to achieve. Admittedly, I am very skilful, but sometimes you need to pass the knowledge on.
The kids will get a new toothpaste tube out when the existing one is ¾ full still – mainly because they can’t be arsed to spend more than 5 seconds squeezing the paste towards the open end, and hey – it’s not their dime!
My darling husband, however, has made NOT getting the next toothpaste out into an art form. We dance around it for a few days, having to squeeze it so hard that our knuckles turn white – but still, nobody caves. The next stage requires laying down the toothbrush on the edge of the sink, to free up both hands for the immense effort required to coerce enough paste out to successfully clean your teeth – but still, no surrender.
When I go into the bathroom and see the “concertina”, I know we have reached DEFCON 3. This is serious shit now. Then, as I stand there, turning purple with the effort of getting the last smear of minty goodness out, it hits me – I’m a fucking grown up. I am standing in my bathroom, trying to avoid getting a replacement tube of toothpaste out of a drawer that I am stood RIGHT NEXT TO.
And why? For what? To save 1p? I’ve already put in all the hard work by finding a brand of toothpaste in the overcrowded dental hygiene market that covers all our anti-cavity, whitening, sensitivity and fresh breath needs. I’ve tracked it down to Poundland and bought 4 boxes, saving us at least a tenner on the next supermarket shop, so I’m already well ahead of the game. So why do I need to not be the one to open the next box?
It’s just down to our competitive natures at the end of the day. I am always the one who gives in to the lure of the new tube though, mainly because I favour the higher moral ground/can’t bear it anymore. Besides, there is a different kind of pleasure to be had as the loser of the contest – you get the very first squeeze of the new tube. Good grief, I need to get out more…
More annoying than the Toothpaste War though, is the Battle of the Bog Roll. Now we have 2 loos to furnish with paper, it is twice the amount of irritation. This, my friends, is the stuff of the divorce courts, or quite possibly, justifiable homicide. The number of times I have turned to get some paper, only to find the last tattered strips of half a sheet attached to an empty loo roll is mind boggling.
For a start, how have you managed to get to that exact point every time? Was there more than that left and you just decided to be cruel and chuck unused paper down after you’ve finished? Or should you really have gone and got some more and are now going to spend an uncomfortable afternoon squirming whenever you sit down? Whatever the reason, it’s always the same end result – I have to replenish the stocks - nobody else.
Also, how come we are now using MORE loo roll? We have an extra loo, it’s true, but we have exactly the same amount of bums to wipe. Are people using the loo roll for something else now? I would dearly like to know what…or maybe I don’t.
With one upstairs loo with limited storage (most of which is given over to toothpaste stocks), the downstairs toilet is where we keep our plentiful (see previous reference to me already doing the hard work on this one) reserve of Spring Force – cheap bog roll. Because in this FMCG household, there is no way I am forking out for fucking Andrex.
This obviously means that nobody can be arsed to replace the loo roll upstairs, because by the time they have reached the ground floor, their minds have turned to far more important things. Things like Minecraft, or very probably Guinness. I’ll let you fill in the blanks as to which family member is which. We even have an unsightly loo roll tower to lessen the impact of the loo roll draught. It looks like a space age torture device, but you can fit 5 full rolls onto it – probably meaning a once a week top up is required. Not a lot to ask…or so you’d think.
Mostly, I’m the only one who bothers to even use the loo roll tower. It’s located just next to your right foot when you are sitting on the throne. Handy to reach, and that is not a coincidence, friends. So why does my husband find it necessary to leave the roll currently in play, on the top of the cistern? You have to twist awkwardly back to reach it and then awkwardly back again to replace it. Just use the fucking tool we have for the job that is 4 inches from your foot!!!!!
This then means that if anyone forgets to check the back of the loo, they start another roll and then we have 2 rolls in play. Add a late night loo-roll-used-as-tissue incident into the mix and you all of a sudden have a toilet paper may pole situation going on. Who tidies it up? I think you can guess…
The other day, I decided that the only way to make my family realise how infuriating this really is was to NOT replace the loo roll. I am soooo out there…
Then I realised that I have to wash the pants in this house and I would be the one to answer the wails of “Mu-ummmmm!” (pronounced with at least 3 syllables), so I decided to plump for the middle ground. I DIDN’T put the empty loo roll in the bathroom bin (4 inches from your left foot when you’re on the loo – again, design, not fluke people). Instead, I left it on the maypole and went downstairs to the CostCo sized store of paper in the downstairs bathroom and got out 5 rolls, which I then left on the stairs-to-go-up. (I’ve had some success with this concept in recent years by forming an actual barrier with items so that they HAVE to be taken and not walked past.)
Will wonders never cease! My darling husband did not ignore them – he picked them up and dutifully carried them on their final journey to the upstairs loo. Hurrah! I had cracked it. Feeling contented that we were all on the same page, I went about the rest of my day, happy in the knowledge that he had realised the error of his ways.
Later on that day, I resolved to forget about "training" and keep my own stash of toilet roll and toothpaste in a secret location and take them into the bathroom with me whilst the others got on with not thinking about anyone but themselves.
Why, you ask? What happened might not be the end of the world, but now you know the back story to my frustration, I think you might be able to understand how it was the toilet roll that broke the mother’s back.
One toilet roll (now in play) sat on top of the cistern whilst the other 4 were actually on the maypole. Great!
Except for the fact that they weren't sitting quite right. They were leaning over at a strange angle, where normally they sat straight on top of each other. Why? Because, at the bottom of the pole, slightly squished (under the weight of 4 full rolls) sat a lone, empty roll of toilet paper. What sort of a person does that? PUT IT IN THE BIN!!!!!
Luckily for him, it was well past the yard arm and a bottle of wine had just arrived on the online shopping…along with another multipack of loo roll. FFS.