Chicago dad shares his potty problems

We have three perfectly good bathrooms in our house. And that’s not enough. We don’t use the one upstairs because it’s at least 17 steps too high. There’s one in the basement, but it’s inhabited by spiders and marmosets. We don’t use it unless we need an emergency science project. So a family of four is left with the guest loo, which we all need at the same time. Every time.

We’re in constant battle for squatting rights and no matter how long I wait, as soon as I shut the door, someone starts pounding and there I am, coffee cup and magazine in hand, glaring at the tiles.

“Dad, I need to get in there.”

“I’m already in here.”

“Dad, seriously.”

“Trust me, son, this is serious.”

“Dad, I reeeeally need the bathroom.”

“There are two other bathrooms in this house,” I say, murderously.

“Dad please!” he says, tapdancingly.

Because I’m awesome, I relinquish the lavatory, lug my load upstairs and lock the door.

“Hon, I need to get in there.”


“Babe, seriously.”


“You know that picture you won’t let me put on Facebook?”

“I’ll be right out.”

I carry my coffee down two flights into the spider conservatory, wedge the door shut with cardboard, and crank up the hot water for a shower. I’m lost in a welcome cloud of steam when heavy breathing stops me mid-scrub. I take a peek around the moldy curtain to see my dogs staring at me with the look on their faces that means they’re about to water the plants-on my laundry.

Growling, I wrap a stiff towel around my waist, shuffle over to wrench open the basement door, and scream like a girl as the dogs plow through me to get to the yard so they can pee on my towel.

Which is not on me.

But hey, it’s the basement, right? If I just duck-walk under the windows to the bathroom, there’s another towel in there…

With my daughter, who snuck in (I think she’s in league with the hounds) and stole my shower.

“Sarah, I need to get in there.”

“I’m already in here.”

“I reallllllly need to get in there.”

“Whatever. Can you get me a towel from upstairs? I used this one as a rug.”

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