Friday, December 31, 2010


If I removed all of the pages from all of the catalogs I receive each year, I could wallpaper the entire interior of the Empire State Building with them. The truth is, I really do enjoy catalogs and love to order unusual things from them – things I’d never find locally.

For example, about four years ago, something in one of the catalogs caught my eye. It was unusual, a real conversation piece, and it immediately made me think of my husband. It was a toilet seat.

This toilet seat had a lid that was made to look like a shield that a knight in armor would carry. It resembled real pewter with a big gold cross on it. And imbedded in the clear Lucite seat was a strip of actual chain mail, the kind a knight would wear in battle.

I thought of how my husband always said he was going to the “throne room” whenever he disappeared into the bathroom, so before I knew it, I was ordering the seat, mostly as a joke gift for him for Christmas.

When the seat arrived, I was surprised at how well made and heavy it was. It truly was a work of art. It looked as if it could be used in an actual jousting tournament (if the seat part weren’t attached to it, that is). I hid the package so my husband wouldn’t find it. The problem was, I hid it so well, I never found it again, either…not until we moved a year ago.

That’s when I decided to use the seat in one of the bathrooms in the new house and surprise my husband.

The seat looked so spiffy once I installed it, I came up with the brilliant idea of decorating the entire bathroom in a medieval décor. I bought a mirror that resembled a stained-glass castle window. I also bought a small scatter rug made of real stones, smooth and polished, glued together, which I put it in front of the tub.

My husband got a big kick out of the toilet seat when I finally showed it to him…but the stone scatter rug was a different story.

“Do you really think stepping out of the tub with wet feet onto slippery stones is a good idea?’ he asked me. “I have visions of myself breaking a hip.”

“Then just shower in the other bathroom,” I said, not wanting to disrupt my décor.

The toilet seat (a.k.a. the “throne”) soon became a tourist attraction in our house because no one had ever seen anything like it before. I must confess, I was pretty proud of that seat.

Two weeks ago, however, something happened to my prized possession. One of the little rubber things under the seat – the rubber things that the seat rests on to lift it off the toilet bowl – fell off and landed in the toilet. Before I realized it, it was on its merry way to the septic tank.

When I told my husband about it, he said I should go to the hardware store and see if they carried the rubber things that go under the seat.

“But what are they called?” I asked him. “What are their proper names?”

He shrugged. “Raisers? Bumpers? Anti-slipping devices? I have no clue.”

I searched on the computer for hours, checking toilet suppliers and hardware stores, and couldn’t find anything to replace the rubber thing. I was crushed. The throne, the conversation piece, now was lopsided.

But if that weren’t bad enough, the other night, disaster struck. My husband went into the bathroom and within seconds I heard a sound that was similar to that of a wooden baseball bat splintering when it hit a fast pitch, followed by, “Owwww!”

Visions of my husband slipping on the stone mat and landing head-first in the bathtub ran through my mind.

“What was that noise?” I shouted through the bathroom door.

My husband’s sheepish voice quietly came back with, “I sat on the toilet seat and it broke in half.”

“You broke the throne?!” I felt my heart momentarily stop. But then, remembering the “Owwww,” thought I should at least give him the courtesy of asking, “Are you OK?”

“Yeah,” came the answer from behind the door. “When the seat cracked, it well…pinched.”

Before I could comment, he quickly added, “The seat broke where the rubber thing was missing. There was no support in that area without it.”

When I finally saw the actual destruction, the crack didn’t look as severe as I’d expected. “If we don’t mention it, I don’t think anyone will even notice it’s broken,” I said.

I later ate those words when I sat on the seat and discovered the true meaning of the word, “pinch.”

“Why don’t we just put duct tape on the crack?” my husband suggested. “That’ll work.”

I glared at him. “Oh, sure, duct tape will look just stunning on a clear toilet seat!”

So back to the computer I went to see if the catalog where I’d originally bought the seat had a replacement in stock. My luck, the seat had been discontinued. Even worse, it apparently had been on clearance for 60-percent off before the company discontinued it. Panicking, I searched the entire Internet, including online auctions, for the seat. There wasn’t one to be found anywhere.

“I guess you’ll just have to settle for a plain wooden one,” my husband said.

“Plain wood?” I was appalled. “How can I put a plain wooden seat in there after having had something so special, so unique? And what about my medieval décor?”

“Well, if you truly want to be medieval,” he said, “you can always build an outhouse.”

During my online search, I did happen to see a medieval seat with a 3-D dragon’s head and a sword on it that I just might buy as a replacement. In the meantime, I’m finding that duct tape really can be quite comfy.