Did I mention that I have a new author website? I do thanks to the excellent Jodi Chromey. There’s stuff here about me and the book–look around!–and thanks to the talented Jo Arlow there’s a lovely shot of me and my dog, and if you look close, I’m sitting on a toilet.

A couple years ago, my dad, who is over six foot tall, began complaining about my toilets being too short. Does my dad live with me? No. Does he live in the same state as me? No. But he was very bothered when he’d come visit (annually, for a week or two) about my alleged porcelain short comings. “It’s not fair to your husband,” he would say. (My husband is also over six foot but has never mentioned being dissatisfied with our toilet height.)

I wasn’t sure how the toilets, which were standard put in fifteen years ago when we first moved into our home, were unfair to anyone. I liked the toilets fine, and as far as I could tell, so did my husband and daughter.

Dad did not.

That my father took issue with my bathroom appliances was no shock–he’s a generally critical fellow–and anyway, I’m never sure whether he’s actually disappointed in my stuff or simply voicing his disapproval of me. But I digress.

Last spring, I took a trip with my husband to the east coast. My parents kindly offered to stay at my house with our teen daughter and take care of our menagerie of animals. In the midst of my vacation fog on one of my many calls home, my mother said, “Don’t be upset, but your father’s replacing your toilets.”

My toilets? NO! I LIKE MY TOILETS. My. Toilets. my toilets!

“It’s fine,” I said. I didn’t want new toilets, but what could I do? I mean, my parents were staying at my house, graciously taking care of my child and many pets. How could I be upset? Dad purchased the new toilets and replaced them both himself.

When I returned home from the trip, our house was spotless (thanks to my sweet mom). The toilets sparkled, daring me not to love them.

I hated them immediately.

The interloper toilets were now at least six inches taller than my old (now beloved) toilets. The newbies had flush flushers. That is, to flush, you pushed one of two metal buttons inset into the lid. You depressed the one on the left for number 1 and the one on the right for number 2. Who wants to have to make a decision every time you finished your biz?

On the positive side, the lofty latrines were low flow, so better for the environs.

On the negative side, they were designed for giants. They reduced me to a child with dangling legs. The seats were plastic and pinched my thighs because my heels didn’t reach the floor and my own weight pressed my thigh meat into the flexing crack between plastic and icy porcelain. Week after week. They pinched. They bullied. I loathed them.

Everything wrong in my world I laid at the base of these toilets. Stress over revising my book, choosing a title, feeling out of control in the publishing process–I dumped all this crap…well, you know.

I reviled these toilets of pure evil. They had been foisted upon me against my will. And there it is: the real issue. The foisting. The feeling like even in my own home, I control nothing, not even my most private business. Maybe a time machine was what I needed, so I could go back and put everything back to how it was BBT. Before Big Toilets.

But the thing is, I didn’t really want to reinstall the old ones (which my husband had offer many times to do). The old toilets had been moldering for weeks out in the yard (yes, I’m classy like that) and besides, I didn’t want to hurt my dad’s feelings. Sure, I wanted my dad to stop criticizing me (and my old toilets), but that’s not the fault of the new toilets. Perhaps I just needed to, what is it they say? Pull up my big girl pants?

I decided to identify what truly bothered me about the new toilets, aside from the fact that they weren’t my idea, and my final list was surprisingly short:

  1. The plastic seats sucked.

So, a few days later, my husband and I went to Home Depot and purchased better (not plastic) seats. He was kind enough to install them because I think at this point he just wanted me to get over the Great Toilet Debacle of 2016. The new seats don’t pinch my thighs, and I guess you could say that I feel like I’ve now “made the new toilets my own.”

When my photographer Jo came out to the house to take my author headshots, the toilets were still in my backyard. I tried to avoid that area, but after the formal shoot, I sat down on one and my dog tried to jump on my lap with her dirty feet. Jo snapped a few frames.

These toilet pics capture so many real things about my life. I’m prideful and stubborn and kind of a lazy slob (the toilets are STILL sitting by the shop). I hate my dad’s criticism and the way he takes up so much space, but I’m grateful that he cares about me and tries to show it in weird ways. I love my husband for installing the new seats, but mostly for being willing to put the old toilets back in if I wanted. I love my Mom for knowing that I would be upset about the tall toilets, and for cleaning my house to take the edge off.

I see all these things when I look at the toilet pics.

I also see an authentic moment outside with my sweet dog. I see myself laughing a real laugh and wearing my favorite boots. My heart is open, even to new toilets against my will. That is the me I want the world to see.