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Toilet Paper


What am I doing?!? I must be nuts. Starting (another) blog. I can’t keep up with a daily (or even yearly) journal. I never made baby books for my daughters, posted pictures from trips to Paris on Facebook, or even ordered our wedding photo album. But here I go, starting another project. And for what? To set myself up for disappointment? To share my intimate thoughts and feelings with the general public? To open myself to critical feedback (bad idea – my mother will warn of my defensiveness). No, I just want to change the toilet paper.

The toilet paper rollers around this house twirl down to cardboard faster than we can flush. I’m not sure if I buy really sparse rolls (come on, Charmin, bulk it up a bit!) or if we use too much per, uh, use. But, in each of the bathrooms in our house, I estimate I change the roll every other day. Day, night, middle of a thunderstorm, doesn’t matter; it’s always me who changes it. So, sometimes I get fed up and I just don’t. I pull out a new roll and plunk it on the counter. There it waits for someone (always me) to come along later and treat it with due respect. If I’m in a daring mood, I’ll balance it on the old roll that now resembles a mummy in disrepair. But inevitably the new, thick roll will fall off and snake it’s way across the bathroom floor. The ingenuity it takes to reel that puppy back in while staying seated should land me a spot at MIT. Or at least a spot in their restroom.

Admit it, we’ve all been there. Peeling off the last snippets of gauzy paper just so we don’t have to be The Last One. Placing a new roll behind the commode, hoping the next visitor has more time. And then there’s the question of the empty roller. A small piece of cardboard that would go unnoticed in the trash. It’ll decompose someday, won’t it? Nah, better to be recycled. One. More. Step.

Well, here’s the thing. Each time I actually change the paper when it needs to be changed and properly dispose of the roller in our recycle bin, I feel this small thrill of accomplishment. I think, “I just did something. Perhaps I should do something else!” And I almost always do (after washing my hands, of course). I’ll put away some toys, fold laundry, or wash the dishes. Once in a while, I’ll do something crazy like keep going until the house is clean. All because of the toilet paper roll.

I figure this blog is much the same. Typing it out, getting my experiences and emotions organized and entered takes a bit of effort. I’ve been trying to balance my thoughts on my own precarious soul for too long. Each time I write, each time I see myself consolidated into words on a screen, I feel an enormous sense of accomplishment. I am so much more than a clumsy chatterbox who changes toilet paper for a living. I am pertinent. I exist where I am not present. My opinions are worthwhile and open for discussion (especially positive feedback). Yes, I will change that toilet paper roll, again, and then I will write. I hope you will read.

The Best Ever


When another woman compliments her guy by saying he’s the “best husband ever,” my weak insecurities tend to kick in. What does she think of my guy? Should I encourage my husband to be more like that one? I didn’t realize I was missing out on anything, but maybe I should be worried. How can we make this marriage better, the best ever??

Then my husband surprises me and does something exceptional and I find my security again. Like today. He didn’t bring me a gift, send flowers, or even vacuum the house. There isn’t a blue box waiting for that classic Tiffany “pop” as the white ribbon slides across. This isn’t about an intimate secret I need to keep between us.

He sent an email, asking me to edit a work document for him.

And I am reminded, I do have the best husband … for me.

Every. single. day. I am grateful for this man who is so patiently wakes up a very grumpy (I said grateful, not cheerful) me. How odd that our paths randomly crossed so many years ago, that we found one another and discovered life wasn’t complete without the other. We often laugh about it now and ask each other “how did we get so lucky?” How did I get to marry someone I admire so much, someone who makes me want to be a better person, someone I want to be friends with forever?

But life isn’t always a bowl of cherries. We struggle. We fight. Sometimes in private, sometimes too publicly, sometimes in front of my parents, which is most embarrassing. We also face hurdles, huge hurdles. Not just between us, but physical, emotional, financial, and, the hardest to talk about, spiritual. But, that’s just it. We do talk. We talk about what hurts. We laugh when things are good and we laugh harder when things aren’t good. We send text messages to make up because sometimes looking someone in the eye is the biggest hurdle to asking forgiveness. And then there are the times we don’t know how to help one another. We pull out the usual bag of tricks, but nothing works. The inability paralyzes us, causing injury to each other and our entire family.

Today, he sent me an email. He needs help. He knows it’s me that needs the help, deep emotional healing. A forklift-sized pick-me-up. But the usual hasn’t worked this time. He already tried washing the dishes, taking me out to lunch, being gentle and kind (not natural for a guy from a family of boys), even finding our favorite British show on PBS. And yet, he knows I am still struggling to shake off the funk.

I need to be needed. He knew that. No, he discovered it about me. “I have a serious project that I need your help with.” And, like that, I was able to reach up one weary hand for help. Sure, I’ll have to keep climbing and he will have to keep pulling, but now he’s got my hand. I know my husband, the best ever, won’t let me go. We’re in this together. For better or worse. But with him, it’s always better. The best, really.