Monday, April 27, 2009

The Toilet Paper Stand Off

I'm sure you've all been sitting around your computers this entire day, completely incapable of tearing your eyes away from the screen for even one second for fear that you might miss the first installment of the first moment of the first word of the first telling of our first Toilet Paper Stand Off.

But the moment has finally come. The time for the telling is here. Here's the whole story.

Last week, I bought toilet paper. Nine rolls of toilet paper. On sale.

What I normally do when I get home with the Smith Family Supply of toilet paper is to put three rolls in the downstairs bath, three rolls in the master bathroom, and three rolls in the kids' bathroom.

(Aren't you ever so excited to have the inside scoop on how our family's toilet paper is distributed? I realize that blogging really doesn't get much better than this.)

On this particular day however, I did my first two drop offs and then I thought, "I'll just throw these three rolls down the hall towards the kids' bathroom and one of them can pick them up and take them in when they go that direction."

Just so you know how well that plan worked, I would like to share a picture of what the hallway looked like on Thursday evening, several hours after I had tossed the toilet paper down the hall.

Now I'm just asking this for the purpose of scientific research, not because I'm dissing my children or anything, but if you walked down this hall and into this bathroom several times a day, would you notice those three rolls on the floor?

I kept on thinking with my perky positivity, "Any moment now, either Sarah or Nathan will pick up the rolls and carry them the two or three steps into the bathroom and put them into the Official Toilet Paper Storage Area. It's a no-brainer!"


On Friday afternoon, this is what the hallway (still) looked like.

Now it may just be me, but I can't really tell much of a difference between those two photos, can you? Once again, I'm asking for research purposes only. I am not in any way insinuating that my lovely children would ever ignore such a vital housekeeping issue for TWO days in a row.

And you'll never, ever guess what the hallway looked like on Saturday.

Even though I'm not going to post a picture, you won't even have to use your imagination. All you have to do is to scroll slowly back up the screen to look at the pictures on Thursday and Friday. There was No. Change.

My first instinct was to make my way down the hall and with my patented, martyred maternal sigh, pick up the three rolls and put them away. But then I thought, "Nope. I'm not going to do it because first of all, both of those children bend much easier than I do and secondly, it's their toilet paper and their bathroom."

By Sunday, the (unspoken) stand off was still going strong. At dinner however, Steve casually mentioned the toilet paper that had been sitting in the hallway for three days.

I said to him, "Oh, you weren't supposed to say anything. I was going to see how long the kids were going to let it sit there!"

Both Nathan's and Sarah's heads shot up and their eyes opened wide. By the looks on their faces, I could tell that they either hadn't even noticed the toilet paper lying there--on the floor, right in front of them, that they were tripping over and stepping around---or else they hadn't thought it was any sort of a big deal. They both kind of made a joke about it and we went on with the meal.

After we ate, Nathan disappeared upstairs. Steve followed a few minutes later and when I heard him up there sort of chortling to himself, I went upstairs to investigate. This is what I saw.

Well, I just stood there and laughed and laughed. It was such a Nathan-esque thing to do; it was like he was saying with his Tower of TP, "Okay, Mom. I moved the toilet paper. Are you happy?"

Now if your heart is longing for a more artsy view of the Tower, I took a picture from a different angle. I know how important it is for toilet paper to be portrayed in an artsy manner.

When I had finally finished my laughing, I called Sarah upstairs and she got a pretty good giggle out of the TP Tower, too. However, when all the laughing was over, Sarah (being a female), figured out that enough was enough and that it was time to get the toilet paper moved to its rightful home.

After posing for the inevitable picture, she cheerily deposited the aforementioned rolls into their aforementioned Official Toilet Paper Storage Area and just like that, the stand off was over.

Later on, I was kidding Nathan about the whole "toilet paper in the hallway" situation and asking him how long he had been planning to leave the toilet paper in the hallway. He replied with the kind of sincerity and wide-eyed innocence that only a 19-year old college student can muster, "But Mom! I was planning on going out there and getting a roll whenever we ran out in the bathroom!"

Like that was the obvious solution. Leave the toilet paper in the hallway and just get out and get some when you need it. No biggie!

He is SUCH a male. Such a beloved, funny, "non-picking up the toilet paper" kind of male.

And Sarah is SUCH a female. Such a beloved, funny "I'll help Mom and and pick up this toilet paper for her" kind of female.

And I am SUCH a Mom. Such a beloved, funny "Those kids had better jolly well pick up that toilet paper or I will have a major mamma hissy fit!" kind of Mom. (smile)

I am very happy to report to you all that the stand off ended peaceably. The toilet paper is where it belongs and the hallway is neat.

And that's the end of the story, right?

I wish.

I had actually written most of this entry before dinner and was going to finish it up and post it after we ate. Well, while Nathan and Sarah and I were at the table (Steve is away at a conference) I casually said to them, "I'm about to post a blog about the toilet paper and how Nathan stacked it in the hallway."

Nathan looked at me with great puzzlement and said, "Mom, I didn't stack the toilet paper in the hallway!"

I gaped at him and said, "You didn't? Well, who did then?"

He said, "It must have been Dad!"

Sure enough, when Steve called home a few minutes ago I asked him The Stacking TP Question and he said, "Oh yeah, I stacked it. I just called you upstairs because I was having such fun with it."

Somehow all along, I had assumed it was Nathan's doing. And now my entire blog is ruined because I told the story wrong.
Hmmm . . .

Here's the deal, folks. I would like to earnestly request that you please just ignore the untrue portion of the blog that talks about Nathan's stacking because I have spent way too much time already writing about toilet paper and I'm not going to re-write the entire blog over one little ol' stacking error.

The bottom line is that the stand off is over. The toilet paper is put away. Peace reigns.

Life is good.

17 Had Something To Say (Just click here!):

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of the suitcase on the stairs (that was there for many days) in Everybody Loves Raymond.
Maybe you should be a sit-com writer based on
Smith Family Happenings.

mrs pam

Anonymous said...

This story was especially funny to me because I remember when you, Ruth and I were teenagers and you did the same experiment with us. You purposefully left something in the middle of the floor and waited to see how long it would take for one of us to pick it up. I can't remember who finally succumbed, but to this day, whenever I see something laying around for a while, I think of your "experiment" way back when! And I have to admit--sometimes I still don't pick it up right away:-)).

Glad the toilet paper is, at last, in its rightful place!


Sue G said...

I am particularly thrilled that Sarah's outfit while standing in the hallway holding the toilet paper matched the hall decor perfectly.

I have a lot of outfits, but none of them can be described as "The Putting Toilet Paper in the Proper Place" outfit.

Do you have a personal shopper, or what?

lesley said...

That's very funny, right down to the surprise ending!

Did you ever read the fictional Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books when you were young? She was a clever older woman that parents turned to for advise on how to handle specific issues with their 'naughty' children.

She would have recommended leaving tiolet paper there in the hallway along with their laundry and anything else belonging to them until they were physically unable to get down the hallway..and then there would be a hilarious, common sense result where the kids learned a lesson :) Anyway, just wondered if you had ever read the very enjoyable Mrs. Piggle Wiggle.

Pam D said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! The Smith offspring are usually such perky paragons of perfection that I could never have imagined such perfidy in your house. In MY house? Daily. Hourly. Minutely. (no, wait.. that's not right! But you know what I mean...). To discover that the punctual, peaceful, personable, pleasant Nathan and Sarah are actually capable of ignoring toilet paper for days? Well, it just makes me feel like we aren't lagging QUITE so far behind; I think I can at least see Sarah's smile from here. :<) And considering Steve's role in this misadventure? I'd have to say that I know which side that teeny, tiny ornery streak may have come from. I'm just sayin'...

Sarah said...

It is probably a good thing you didn't post this earlier or I would have started laughing in the middle of a research forum (They can't expect me to pay close attention for all 11 hours they had me scheduled to be on campus).

The situation seems like a familiar one in the life of a college student - our clean tupperware will be left "drying" for days as my roommate and I wait for the other one to put it away. It may take two seconds to do but it is a matter of principle! I think us college-aged kids (pretty soon I can't say that any more) are just too stubborn to be the one who puts things away. Luckily, my roommates and I are only stubborn about putting the clean things away.

Anonymous said...

Love it! Funniest Blog ever!!!
Kim W

Anonymous said...

This post proves what a well-behaved dog Mr. Snowy is...I have left toilet paper on the stairs to take up to the bathroom and my naughty-naughty dog will take it and shred it into a million non-usable pieces. So, I can't try this experiment at our house...but I'm sure it would stay in the hallway until, like Nathan said, the roll needed to be refilled. (And the other two rolls would stay in the hallway...)

L in Alaska

Anonymous said...

My mom always leaves things on the landing of our stairs for my sister and me to take up. We can literally go weeks without noticing the items. We used to have a basket on the stairs called the "pick me up and take me upstairs basket," but that disappeared over the years leaving only its contents to be abandoned for days on end. Alas.


Anonymous said...


House For Sale! Have you thought about the wonderful explanation for the new hallway storage for toilet paper if an unxpected couple showed up at the door to see the house.

You've wrote some funny things in the past but this tops them off.

Sharon P.

Catherine said...

Ha, ha. I've put the garbage bag in front of the door, and my kids have just moved it and gone on their way. Amazing.

becky said...

yeah we have lots of those stand offs. but with things like detregent. my brother baciscally lives in the basement so my mom will set things on the steps that go upstairs, which is right next to the basement stairs. we think he would see it since his mail also goes there when he gets some and take it down but we were wrong. so now we either have to call him up or if he is out put it right in front of the door or it could sit there for days.

MaryH said...

Glad to see I am not the only one in the world with toilet paper stand offs - what is it about toilet paper duties and/or responsibilities that seem to be ignored by all others except the mom - toilet paper rolls, empty cardbord toilet paper rollers and the last lonely one-fourth piece of toilet paper pitifully dangling from the cardboard roller seem invisible to all but a mother's eyes. We should start a toilet paper support group!

Our Family said...


You think only kids do it?

My husband does it! "I never saw it" I have yet to figure out how he never sees things that sits at the door or in the hall ect that needs to go in the right place.

I think my daughter is better at picking things up she is always telling us "that no no goes there"

Anonymous said...

I love this. I'm going to have to try it myself.

Love Being A Nonny said...

Your kids fit into the *Perfectly normal teenagers* CLUB!! I don't know what club your husband is in.........:)

Caroline said...

This reminds me of my sister and mom doesn't get my we don't pick up stuff if it's sitting on the stairs. Well, it's mostly because it's more fun to jump over it! :)