Tinkle Twins at Disney World

restroom-signs-unisex-handicap

All three girls, my parents and I went to the bathroom at approximately 11:15 AM on January 1 before we pulled out of the driveway for our eight hour junket to Florida.  Before noon, we had stopped once for a bathroom break.  DJ had a sick stomach, and the man I had admired for years for the size of his bladder had taken this opportunity, “just in case.”  Not only did we stop for him in the Tar Heel state, we also visited rest stops in the Palmetto State, the Peach State and the Sunshine State.

I had embarked on a five day journey where the focus of our trip would not be on which attractions we would see at Walt Disney World, but on where we could find the closest bathroom.

My mother’s bladder is the size of a garden pea.  They say I have my father’s nose and jaw line.  I have my mom’s eyes and urological functions.

For years on vacation my mother and I would plead for stops while my older brother and father would roll their eyes, with bladders the size of camels’ humps.  My, my, how the tables have turned.

It did not matter who in the family needed to relieve themselves, my dad joined right in.  I suggested he owed my mother and me an apology for years of urination ridicule.  He blamed old age and refused to atone for the past.

When we booked the trip, I expected my mother to go…and go…and go.  That was no surprise.  What I’d forgotten is the length of time each visit would take.  My daughters explained that when their grandmother approaches an unfamiliar potty, she meticulously wipes it down.  She then wraps the seat, double ply, with toilet paper to ensure that her epidermis does not touch the unknown surface.

Because she is cold natured, she wears a sweater in July mid-day on the beach, imagine the layers of clothing that had to be removed in January in order to proceed with elimination.

I’m not sure what she was wearing on the bottom, but on the top she had a camisole, a t-shirt, a shirt, a sweater, a vest and a white Pillsbury Dough Boyish puffy coat.  Children approached her at the Magic Kingdom asking for her autograph.  They thought she was a character.

To enter Disney World, you hold your Magic Band, a Fit-Bit type bracelet, up to a monitor and then scan your fingerprint to gain admittance into the park.  Time and again, my mother’s Magic Band would work, but the monitor could not detect her fingerprint.  My dad said it is because she washed them off.  The final ritual of her bathroom experience is a full scrub down of any potentially exposed areas of her body.  I have never seen it, but I think she washes her hands, legs and sometimes her hair (depending upon the overall cleanliness of the stall) after each visit.  If you washed your hands 27 times a day, 432,525 days in a row, you would be devoid fingerprints too.

It actually worked fine because the girls and I could wait in line AND ride the more adventurous attractions in about the same amount of time it took her to go to the restroom.

We actually had a lovely vacation, and, we visited bathrooms from around the world.

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Ahhhhh – peace

showerhead

The shower is often the quietest point in my day.  I love my kids, but that few minutes is priceless.

When it’s warm outside, I sometimes pour a cold beer into a plastic cup and take it with me as I scrub down.  Ahhhhh – peace.

Well, that’s what it’s supposed to be.

Me in the shower last Tuesday:

Scrub-a-dub-dub…

Michelle, in a very loud voice:  “Dad, I can’t find the charger for my iTouch.”

Me:  “I’m in the shower.”

Michelle:  “Duh.”  Yes.  She clearly knew that.  But what was my point?

Michelle:  “I can’t find it.”

Me:  “Well I can assure you it’s not in here!”

Michelle:  “Do you know where it is?”

Me:  “Look in the basket in the den.  I think it’s in there.”

Ahhhhhh – peace.

Michelle:  “It’s not there.”

Me:  “Well it’s still not in here!  I can’t possibly find it while scrubbing the wax out of my ears!  Do you have an iTouch emergency?”

Michelle:  “Not really.”

Me:  “Then you’re gonna have to wait until I get the soap out of my eyes!  Chill.”

Ahhhhh – peace.

Stephanie:  “Dad, are you in the shower?”  she asks as if I’ve never taken one before.

Me:  “Did you think it was your Latin teacher?  Yep.  This is me behind the fogged up glass.”

Stephanie:  “Can you email Allise’s mother and ask if she can spend the night on Friday?”

Me:  “Yes.  But the last time I brought the computer in here, the water made it too slick to type.”

Stephanie:  “OK.  But don’t forget!  You forgot last night.”

Me:  “It’ll be the first thing I do when I get out, right after I find the charger for Michelle’s iTouch.”

Stephanie:  “Thanks dad.”

Me:  Wow.  She said thanks.

Ahhhh – peace.

DJ, yelling from the bedroom:  “Dad!  When you get out can you drive me to North Hills?  I’m meeting Kimmy there.”

Me:  “What time are  you supposed to be there?”

DJ:  “Not for another ten minutes.”

Me:  “What?  I can’t hear you I’m in the shower.”

DJ:  “I know!  I can hear the water.  IN TEN MINUTES.”

Just 15 minutes – hot water, quiet, my plastic cup of Yuengling.  That’s all I ask…

A Bug in the House

Most of the time I love being the father of three kids.  In fact, there was a time that I wash pushing for a fourth.  I just really enjoy being a dad.

However, last Sunday night, my enthusiasm for parenting waned a bit.

It started as a lovely evening as I watched the girls in our church’s annual Christmas pageant.  At the pimento cheese reception following the service, Stephanie asked if we could grab a quick dinner at a nearby Mexican restaurant – and take four of her friends with us.

Seeming like I’m always saying no, I surprised her, “Sure, I’d love to.”  She was giddy.

All was good with las adolescentes sitting at an outdoor table can tacos and Michelle and I inside with another family from church.

Approximately ten minutes after arrival, Stephanie flew up to my table, “Dad, somethings wrong.  I’m going to throw up.  We gotta go now!”

“You sure?”

“Daaad, I know when I’m going to puke!  Yes, I know!!”

We arrived home at 6:55 pm.  Her regurgitation began at 7, several of her friends still waiting for their rides.

“Ahh – Stephanie’s vomiting in the bathroom.  Anyone want more salsa?”

I settled her in my bed with a towel and a plastic trash can.  Michelle took nurse duty, while I ran to pick up DJ from another social function.

I drove up.  DJ opened the car door.  “Dad. I feel like I’m going to puke.”

Great  –  a gaggle of gaggers.

At approximately 8 pm, there were two, each vomiting in 20 minute cycles.  I worked hard to keep a clean trash can by each one’s head to avoid up chuck on the furniture.

Michelle actually got tickled as she watched me rapidly cart barf from room to room.  And to her, it was funny…

Until 11 pm.

She didn’t call for me,  I just sensed something was up.

I dashed up the stairs, she’d clearly been asleep.  She sat by her new creation, a zombied look about her face.

Oh baaby.  Couldn’t make it to the bathroom?”

No reply – still in a daze.

The more they spewed, the more nauseous I became.

“Is it possible to vomit and diarrhea at the same time?”, one of my daughters asked.

“Yeah.  Two exits, no waiting,” I replied as I ran for more towels.

Stephanie finally fell asleep at midnight; DJ at 1.

Michelle threw up every 25 minutes, without exception, until 6 am.

I’d put my head on the pillow and nearly get relaxed when I’d hear the beginnings of the heave.

There goes the trash can, then the gut grumbles, followed by the actual act.

Thankfully, I have an immune system made from steel.  I nearly bathed in the stuff but never caught the bug.

Once I think I’ve been through every parenting scenario at least once without Lisa, a new one rears its head.  I don’t think I’m ever going to master this.

Quiet Please

I’m convinced that the cleaning lady at work lives in the men’s bathroom.  She’s always in there. 

There are two bathrooms in my office building, one on the first floor and one on the second.  I’m upstairs.  If I need to go, invariably, her big rolling trash can is blocking the open door.  That is her signal – DON’T COME IN, I’M CLEANING.  But I don’t think she is. 

I think she stands outside of my office and runs to the men’s bathroom when she sees my chair turn around.  She then giggles when she hears my footsteps near her cart.

If I’m headed in from lunch and decide to take a pit stop on the first floor  before heading back upstairs, guess what?  She’s parked her hefty Rubbermaid in the downstairs doorway. 

I think she’s in there watching a television that’s hardwired to a camera above my desk.  

Although I’ve worked in that building for three years, I’ve never seen her though.  How could I?  She’s always inside, “cleaning”.

The other day, when the downstairs was closed, I sprinted upstairs before she could get her can on the elevator.  I’m sure she was upset when she heard me rapidly heading for the stairwell.  Can’t carry the can on your back up the steps lady!  I beat cha’.

When I walked in to the second floor bathroom, there was a dude in the center stall chatting on the phone.  Just chatting and pooping – simultaneously.  I bet he can also walk and chew gum.

What is wrong with people?  Imagine being on the other end of that call – when suddenly you hear the toilet flush.  I could tell by the conversation that it was a work call.  It’s not like he was talking ACC sports with Jesse or something.  No, he was doing business while he was doing biz-ness.

I don’t want to talk in the bathroom.  If I’m at the urinal, I need quiet.  Don’t come up to me and ask about my weekend.  I don’t want to hear about the new software conversion or the monthly budget.  Scares my bladder – and then I’ve got to leave and hope to return when the maid is at lunch.

It is my dream to one day be important enough to have my own personal bathroom attached to my office.  Until then, if you see me near the boys’ room, leave me alone!

Outward Bound!

Posted by Danny

DJ is on an Outward Bound trip in the North Carolina mountains.  Yep, three nights in the woods with only a tarp over your head.  The packing list included bandanas – for wiping.  She was told after you use them you tie them on your backpack so it will dry before the next time you need to go.  I imagine she won’t need to wipe much.  If she’s like me in a situation like that, her colon will go on strike.

She also has to sit in the forest for four hours, alone – no book, no iPod, no nothing.  Just trees, rocks, dirt and her brain.  Four hours is a long time by yourself in the woods.  Maybe her guardian angel will be looking after her.

I wish I enjoyed nature more than I do.  I long to be excited about doing something that requires me to have a pair of those pants than unzip at the knees.  What are those for?  I guess you’d use them if you were hiking and suddenly came upon a creek.  “Whew.  Good thing I can unzip the bottom of my pants.  I’ll just put those boogers in my backpack and they won’t get wet.  Damn, I forgot my water shoes.”  Nah – not me.  I either wear pants or shorts – nothing in between!  And I only want one zipper in my pants – way above the knees.

My level of hiking only requires flip-flops and a pair of gym shorts with a draw string.

The girls and I used to camp with our YMCA Indian Princess tribe.  These other dads would get all pumped about sleeping in the woods. 

“I’ll bring a Coleman stove,” one would offer.

“I’ve got an axe for wood,” another would pitch in.

“I’ll bring my truck, and we can throw our tents in there.”

“Danny, what can you bring?”

“My daughter, flip-flops and gym shorts.”

I had nothing.  You could not find a working flashlight in my house if your life depended on it.  

The only thing I contributed to the Y Princess campouts were scary stories.  On time when DJ was in first grade, we stayed in a cabin at Camp Kanata in Wake Forest, NC.  The bathroom was an outhouse about 25 yards from the cabin. 

About 10 pm, one of the dads started rounding up the girls for their last pee break before bedtime.  So, I snuck to the privy, and shut the door.  After tucking toilet paper in the back of my pants, around my neck and into my socks, I quietly waited for the crew.  As I heard them approach, I ran screaming out of the outhouse – “The Potty Monster, The Potty Monster!  He’s in the toilet!  He’s coming this way – run children, run!”

Most of them did pee, but it was in their pants.

To this day DJ’s 9th grade friends who were on that trip ask me if I’ve had a visit from the Potty Monster lately.

I assured DJ he would not be on their trip.  Apparently there are no potty’s there for him to spring out of!

Tinkle Tinkle Little Old Man

Posted by Danny

The older I get, the more I pee. 

I just don’t understand it.  Not only do I pee more, but it also takes longer to evacuate an equal amount of fluid.

In my younger days, if I stood before a urinal, I immediately started to go.  The only exception was at the Dean Dome at UNC.  They have long troughs – they herd you in and you stand shoulder to shoulder to the Tarheel next to you.  I stare at the tile wall in front of me, scared of what I might see if I turn my head the least bit to the left or right.  In those instances, I work hard to imagine something happy and peaceful, like my grandmother’s fried chicken.  It takes a lot, regardless of your age, to pee with dudes bumping your arms on either side.

But that’s not what I’m talking about.  Be it the Dean Dome or my own private toilet, I stand and wait.

There really ought to be some sort of iPad designed to hang from the wall behind a man’s toilet.  Might as well do something productive as much time as I spend there.  Sometimes I make a call – but then its awkward when I forget I’m on the phone and flush.

“Bruce, was that a toilet flush?”

“Ahh – I don’t think so…I’m outside, the wind is incredible here.  Gotta go.”

And I probably do “have to go” again, because it won’t all come out on the first try.

Sometimes I pee three or four times before I go to sleep.  Pee, lay down.  Man, I think I need to go some more.  Ridiculous!  You JUST went.  Go to sleep.  Dude, there is still more in there.  And back up I am. 

It’s never a false alarm.  Every time I’m in front of a toilet, something comes out.  It might only be a teaspoon full – but there’s pee.

I think there might be a catch in my urethra.  Sort of like when the yard hose gets bent and water won’t come out.

I knew I was peeing more than ever, but last year it became apparent how my bladder was changing. 

The family was on a road trip, and we pulled in to a rest stop.  Jesse, my father-in-law and I all approached the urinals at about the same time.  As I stood there, I heard Jesse – his flow was quick and strong.  He’d clearly had a lot to drink that morning, but his exit was clear.  His thirty year old self finished and washed his hands.

About that time, I began…

Dribble, dribble, dribble…

Flow… Stop.  Flow… Stop.

Dribble, Dribble.

Drop, Drop, Drop.

When I arrived at the car, Jesse was in the driver’s seat listening to music with another soda in his hand.

A few minutes later, the seventy year old headed toward the car.

And thus is life.  Twenty years from now, I’ll be the last to leave the bathroom.  Jesse will be in the middle and Michelle’s stinkin’ husband will be through and throwing the football by the picnic table with my grandson.

I never dreamed I’d spend this much of my life in a bathroom.  Maybe I’ll try standup Sudoku.

Plunge, Plunge, Plunge

Posted by Danny

We have toilet issues. They constantly clog. Seriously, I plunge potties multiple times each week, and this has been going on for years.

Now keep in mind there are two large, six-foot men living in this house. Our intestines are 25 feet long,  and we pack down some food. My favorite meal is my homemade bean dip: refried beans, cheddar cheese, ground beef and hot salsa. The girls and Jesse won’t even look at it. They claim it looks like it has already seen my colon.

I tell them that not all food looks appetizing. The kids’ favorite yogurt squirts out of a plastic tube and looks like pink snot. But you don’t hear me complaining. Why? Cause it tastes good!

I seldom see Jesse eat – but I know he does.  He often enters the house with a styrofoam cup from Cookout, Chargrill or Jersey Mike’s.  The man ain’t going hungry.  And the stuff hitting his stomach isn’t easy on the system.  I can assure you it’s coming out with a bang.

But are the clogs coming from Jesse and me?  Nah.  Out of the 8,672 times I’ve used a plunger in this house, not one – and I am not exaggerating, has been for someone of the male species.  All have been for little girls and usually just for pee. 

It has nothing to do with what’s coming out.  It’s about what they’re putting in there.  It’s all about the toilet paper! 

I swear they’re wiping with my t-shirts.  Like entire, large, possibly long-sleeved, Hanes for Men tees. 

I’m aggressive in my quest to be clean after a bathroom visit.  I understand not wanting to be all damp or squinchy down there.  But geez.  We go through toilet paper like a Chinese restaurant goes through rice.  I bought Proctor and Gamble stock years ago and have made a killing – because I’m keeping them in business!  (They make Charmin.)

I’ve decided to solve the issue. I will ration the toilet paper.  I’m going to buy a metal box and a combination lock where I’ll keep the loot.  If they need to go, they’ll have to come to me.  I’ll give them six squares.  That should be good for three wipes. 

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Stranded on I 95

Posted by Danny

This post is dedicated to my daughters who I’ve cracked on mercilously through the years for inconvenient bathroom stops.

I was trapped!  Heading down I-95 North to West Virginia, it was 9 pm and I was alone.  The kids rode with the grandparents earlier that day.  I was ready for the six-hour drive, my  i Phone newly filled with 1,900 of my favorite songs.  Kenny Chesney keeping me company.

I knew the urge to tinkle was coming, but I didn’t realize the traffic that was in front of me.  Nor did I understand the lack of exits between Richmond and Fredericksburg, Va.  I was in a hurry.  I’d heard bad things about stopping at rest areas at night, besides, the next one was 43 miles away.  There seemed to be no other option. 

I eyeballed my McDonald’s cup.  Yep, I still had the lid.

I didn’t realize how difficult it would be while in transit.  Moving, while moving, is nearly impossible.

I drank the last bit of Diet Coke and strategically placed my fountain drink holder.  Stop , then go – there were brake lights everywhere.  I glanced at the cars around me.  It was dark, the semi driver next to me couldn’t possibly see.  I’m sure he’s done the same thing, he drives for a living!

Almost…then a horn.  I’d forgotten to press the gas and was lagging behind the car ahead of me.  I sped up, my bladder contracted.

Think about something relaxing.  A day on the beach – not helping!  I don’t do that on the beach.  Picture the bathroom – yellow walls, a window, a tan tile floor.  Whew… relief.

Oh no, the cup is filling yet I’m not empty.  Can I stop mid stream?   

Brake!

Oh man. 

No wonder girls pee in their pants.  Sometimes there just isn’t a better option.

It’s March: Time To Cover Your A$$

POSTED BY JESSE

I was checking out the Mothers With Cancer blog when I came across a post alerting me that March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness month. I figured that would probably be a good thing to pass on to our blog readers since, you know, it’s kind of relevant to our situation here.

I am sure that March was designated as the month for colorectal cancer awareness before Lisa was diagnosed with hers, but it wouldn’t surprise me if she planned her trip to heaven as a lead-in to Awareness Month; she was a meticulous planner. And this may be too blunt for some people, but it’s a fact: in March 2009 no one had a clue that Lisa’s gastrointestinal tract was a ticking time bomb; by March 2010 she was gone. If that’s not reason enough to get your colonoscopy, I’m sorry–that’s the best I got.

How clueless were we? Extremely. Ignorant enough that I didn’t even know what one was or why you got one before Lisa had hers. And based on our family email chain the week Lisa went to get checked out, you can tell that none of us had a clue what we were in for (the topic was the family Christmas exchange, but as you can see we took a turn into Lisa’s impending screening):

Sallie: I’ll take Lisa! I have lots of potty/poop-related items in mind. Sam will put together a collection of his favorite poopy diapers for her too. (Danny told me to say it!)

Danny: I DID NOT.  Her poop is off limits for me.  I have pledged not to make any jokes about her colon…and except for putting together a care package for her the other night (had each kid go find something potty related to put by her bed – magazine, plunger, t. paper, crossword puzzle), I have done well.

Me: what’s up with Lisa’s colon? And if she gets it -oscopied is there anything we can get bronzed? Or how about poo-wtered? [note: this was in reference to my mother giving us all our bronzed baby shoes one Christmas]

Sallie: Poo-tered – I laughed so hard I nearly peed in my pants. For once it is not me as the “butt” of the joke!

Danny: She’s been having a lot of stomach issues.  They are ruling things out.  Probably much doo doo about nothing.

Lisa: I’m not coming to Christmas [note: it is assumed she was rolling her eyes at this point]

Me: so no one has honestly answered my question about Lisa–has she been diagnosed? the closest explanation I got was Bruce saying it’s much doo-doo about nothing.

At which point my mom informed me what was happening and why, though even then she said she suspected it was Irritable Bowel Syndrome. We would have really liked an IBS diagnosis–the fatality rate is much lower and, as you can see, we could have made potty jokes for days.

So what’s it going to take to get you to get checked out? I’ve tried fear and humor. I could sprinkle in some guilt and say you owe it to those around you if you won’t do it for yourself. And if you have had any recurring/consistent stomach issues, then by all means get your ass (pun very much intended) to the doctor now.

I don’t want to get into pitting one type of cancer against another (we’ve been through colon and breast in my immediate family; I think a grandparent may have even battled leukemia at one point), but colon cancer is not currently getting the love that breast cancer awareness enjoys, with its turning everything pink. Colon cancer is less of a sexy cause, so it’s even more important we push it on the grassroots level. (I feel compelled to point out again: I am not calling for LESS breast cancer awareness, I’m calling for raised levels of colorectal cancer awareness!)

Later this month Danny and I might share some of our own experiences with getting a colonoscopy. Go ahead and make your appointment now and we’ll walk you through this thing step by step.

Here’s some more colorectal cancer screening info from the CDC:

-“Among cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer—cancer of the colon or rectum—is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Colorectal cancer also is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the United States.”

-“It is estimated that as many as 60% of colorectal cancer deaths could be prevented if all men and women aged 50 years or older were screened routinely.”

-“You should begin screening for colorectal cancer soon after turning 50, then continue getting screened at regular intervals. However, you may need to be tested earlier or more often than other people if:

  • You or a close relative have had colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer; or
  • You have inflammatory bowel disease.”

Justin Bieber Is In My Bathroom

Posted by Jesse

Justin Bieber is in my bathroom. Seriously. I don’t know how long he’s been there, but I bumped into him last night as I was brushing my teeth before bed. Don’t believe me? See for yourself:

I have a bathroom attendant. Goes by the name "Bieber"

As I’m sure you were aware, Tuesday was Justin Bieber’s birthday, and it was definitely cause for celebration at the Tanner house. DJ made a cake she took to school, and later that day Danny’s parents brought her a life-sized (actually, I think it’s bigger than he is) cardboard cutout of the Biebs.

So, being the last one in for the evening last night, naturally I was the sucker who got “Bieber-ed”. I came in from watching basketball at a friend’s house and nearly joined the peed-my-pants club when I found what appeared to be a 6-foot tall, 13-year old pop sensation standing in my bathroom.

Like any good prank-ee who was pranked sans witnesses, I downplayed the result to the conspirators this morning at breakfast, acting as if I barely noticed. Truth be told, I jumped a little last night. And a little this morning. And a little the two times I’ve been into the bathroom since and forgotten about him.

But more than scared, I was excited….because now it’s game on. If you live in the Tanner house, you should expect to see Bieber around every dark corner, behind every door, and in your bed every time you pull down the sheets (well, if you haven’t already been short-sheeted).

There’s nothing more fun than a running prank where all parties involved are thick-skinned enough not to raise a stink about a little fun, and creative enough to keep it going–and, as you can tell, there’s plenty of both to go around this house.

But the best part is I can start with the most dastardly prank I could think to pull on DJ: making her beloved Bieber cutout DISAPPEAR!

Any other good prank suggestions? I might need some help.