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photo credit – urbanore.com

When I take a much-needed step back to look at the big picture, I am both mortified and encouraged by the things that stress me out on a daily basis. Mortified because, last week, I found myself dangerously close to having a nervous breakdown …over a toilet seat. Inspired, because, according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, if I’m worried about that kind of stuff, I must be pretty damn close to achieving total self-actualization. That’s good news, right?

With my flavor of OCD, consisting primarily of disordered obsessive thought patterns,  I don’t (and never have) engaged in compulsive behaviors like washing or checking, as a means to relieve anxiety. My go-to response is to mentally cycle through the same issue over and over again — like a needle stuck in a groove on a record.

These days, thanks to modern medicine, I don’t get bogged down all that often, and, if I do, I’m pretty aware of what’s happening. Having said that, this toilet seat business had me pretty fired up.  (Disturbingly enough, I’m not the only one in my family to have had an issue with one, but more on that later).

The twins’ bathroom is always a mess — that’s a given. Honestly, I try to avoid looking at anything in there too closely. The toilet boasts an ever-present “ring” (yes, they are adherents to the “let it mellow” school of thought) and miscellaneous detritus.

When I purchased a new toilet seat, with chrome hinges, last year, I thought that I was adding some class to the bathroom that is also our guest bathroom. At the biggest of the big boxes, Home Depot, it was still almost the plainest toilet seat on the wall o’ seats. I passed over wood grain, puffy, embroidered, and acrylic (with colorful fish suspended like bugs in amber) and chose white wood, with chrome hinges (the above-mentioned touch of class).

For $19.99, I actually believed that the hinges were, at least, metal based, but they were plastic covered in shiny silver paint. Still, I didn’t expect them to to deteriorate as fast as they did. It goes without saying that they were PEED on.  While crash test dummies are making our cars safer, somebody out to be checking to make sure that bathroom fixtures don’t corrode in less than six months.

Like a bike left out in the rain, the paint first puckered, then flaked, then crumbled…leaving what looked like black ashes all over the back of the seat.

Last week, it finally got to me, and I decided to replace the seat with the cheapest white plastic one that I could find. Public restroom cheap, in fact. First, I liberated the existing seat – laying under the toilet like a mechanic under a Toyota, using a wrench to loosen the bolts — also in pretty nasty condition.

I bagged it, tossed it, and headed to Target. This is not my first rodeo. I’ve purchased toilet seats before. The sad part is that the rodeo goes the same way every time.

With four toilet seats to choose from, “cheap seats” are nowhere to be found. The cheapest one in stock was $18.99 and white wood (read compressed wood particles). The empty shelf of $6.99 seats must have held single use, disposable seats!

When I arrived home, things started to feel awfully familiar, as I realized that we have oblong seats, not round ones. Back to Target. Finally, with the right size in hand, it was a simple install, until I stepped back to admire my handiwork.

My hands started shaking. The seat is WHITE, and the toilet is, well, NOT. On the Benjamin Moore trifold of pastels and whites, the seat would be bright white and the toilet, well, maybe not bisque, but an impossible to duplicate builder’s grade non-color.

But Target only HAD white toilet seats, I’m sure of it. This is where I start to think that maybe it’s time to up my medications. Before I know it, I’m digging in the trash bin for the old seat and hauling it upstairs for a comparison. Okay. It’s a shade somewhere between the two. Do toilet seats age or, ick, “season” over time?

Now I’m losing it. The last toilet seat that I bought was for the master bath, which boasts a toilet “closet” that makes it hard to get enough distance to really assess the color. Regardless, it was my next stop. In this case, I KNOW that the seat that I bought was white, because Walmart only HAD two toilet seats – both white, one oblong and one round (yes, I bought the round one first).

At this point, Evan is rubbing my back and suggest that I calm down and “stop freaking out”.

Scott was ready to tuck everybody into bed, and I asked him to meet me in the guest bath, after. I’m not sure what he was expecting, but he should know by now that he wasn’t going to be allowed to go to bed until he came to the guest bath to check out the toilet seats….and a followup trip to the master bath toilet. At this point, my pupils are dilated, my heart is in my throat, and I’m all “Well??????” (pant, pant, froth at the mouth) His response? A disinterested (and slightly frightened) “riiiiggghhht”, as he backed out of the bathroom.

Time to get a grip, mentally. The only person who ever stays with us is my mother, about twice a year (she’s only 35 minutes away). Is a cruddy seat that looks to be leaking gunpowder better than a white seat on a bisque toilet? Deep breath. And, repeat.

Of course, in the days after, I stared at it (a lot). By Friday, and this may just be MY reality, but I think they’re beginning to meet in the middle, color wise.

Like I said, it runs in the family. Try being my 70-year-old obsessive-compulsive, self-professed eccentric uncle and trying to replace PART of a toilet just like this…

photo credit – Life As I Know It (blogspot)

He has employed duct tape and rolled hand towels (to avoid pinched thighs), to put off the painful task of finding an actual exact-match replacement. I can’t blame him.

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