Tag Archives: toilet

Sometimes the planets align…

…and sometimes they, well, don’t.

Today has been one of those “don’t” days.

Got a call this morning from my friend Renee.  We’d visited them last weekend, during which there was a strong suspicion that Lane may or may not have accidentally or purposefully flushed a toy down their toilet.  She said something that sounded like she had flushed a toy down the toilet, but when asked to confirm, she denied.  So while we were there, the toilet flushed a few times and all seemed well.

Not so much.  They amassed a $200 plumber’s bill rectifying the situation.  Which of course I will completely pay back, but sigh.

Then, I had our New York State tax return to sign, and write a small check, and mail today.  I give it a once-over before signing and paying and mailing, and see something odd.  I’m being charged New York City income taxes on the return… but I don’t live or work in New York City.  Neither does Frank or the kids, as far as I know.  And as much as NYC thinks it is the center of the universe, I don’t think they have the power to tax us by sheer proximity.  There has been three phone conversations with the accountant and she still doesn’t seem to think anything’s amiss.  Does she even GET that we DON’T LIVE IN NEW YORK CITY?!?  And now since we’ll be out of the country the last week before the return is due, we may still have to pay, then file an amended return to get our money back.  Um, ARGH!!  The one redeeming thing here is that instead of owing $155 I’m pretty sure we’ll get back $17.  At least it mostly covers the plumbing problem.

Somewhere in there, Lane left the door to the bathroom open and Jake wet himself up to the shoulders in toilet water.

Since Lane is traveling out of the country with her grandparents, they need a notarized letter from us that they have our permission to take her out of the country.  I wrote the letter and arranged to have it notarized today.  Told Frank to sign it last night.  Guess what he forgot to do.  Lane and her grandparents leave on Sunday; luckily a close family friend is a notary public and was willing to notarize without Frank’s signature on the letter yet because she knows he fully intends to sign it and consents to the trip.

Got all the way to the store today and realized I’d left my purse at home.

Got a package, realized it was all wrong, had to send it back.

Consoled my son more times than should be necessary because his sister likes tackling, clotheslining, straight-arming, and otherwise knocking him on his keister.

But right now the kids are playing as cute as can be.  That helps.  And one of our errands today was to PetSmart to get dog food and they were having an adoption event, with some of the cutest, puppiest-smelling puppies you could imagine.  Hearing the kids giggle at the puppies and all those little puppy nibbles and puppy kisses is healing for the soul.  If we were in a house at this point, there was a puppy there who might have come home with us.  She was just sweet and calm and gorgeous and happy and the kids were just as smitten with her as I was.  She looked like maybe she was part yellow lab, and maybe part boxer?  I didn’t ask, maybe they knew.  But man, was she cute.

A different sort of drought

We’ve all heard the ditty “if it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down”. This is often reserved for people operating on septic systems, in RVs, or who have lost water service and is often recited as a joke vs. a real way of operating on a day-to-day basis.

Consider this, though.

Right now the U.S. is facing serious drought situations in many parts of the country. Many reputable sources agree that the current climate change – and whether you believe in the man made aspect of it, the fact is the climate is changing – will only make current and future droughts longer and more severe.

(To be fair, there are also plenty of naysayers when it comes to the ‘reality’ of climate change. But I personally believe that the climate is changing, this really can’t be refuted anymore, and I’m pretty sure the human race isn’t helping.)

So where does your toilet come in here? Let’s assume that every household has a low-flow toilet, one that only uses 1.6 gallons of water per flush. What would be the outcome if every household in America every day just let one “yellow mellow”?

There are, according to U.S. Census estimates, approximately 112,000,000 households in the United States in 2008. (A household includes all the persons who occupy a housing unit. A housing unit is a house, an apartment, a mobile home, a group of rooms, or a single room that is occupied (or if vacant, is intended for occupancy) as separate living quarters.) Now, to be totally fair, according to the 2000 Census there were about 670,000 homes without indoor plumbing, so let’s call it 111,000,000 households that can impact this here.

If each of those 111 MILLION households participated just once per day in the whole “let it mellow” way of life, it would save the U.S. over 177,000,000 gallons of water every single day.

That’s the same amount of water:

  • that flows over Niagara Falls over 5 seconds — which may not seem like a huge deal if you’ve never seen the Falls up close, but if you have — that’s a helluva lot of water.
  • that would fill over 19,000 standard backyard above-ground swimming pools
  • I could put together another example but frankly it’s really hard to do. If you don’t realize that 177 million gallons in a day is a buttload of water then I’m not sure what else to tell you.

So, think about getting in the habit of letting it mellow a little more. Your water bill – and the planet – may thank you later.