One day, there will be no surprises.

It happens almost every single day. I even ask them, just to double check and possibly prevent it from happening. The kids disappear for awhile, sometimes announcing what they are doing, sometimes secretly and privately. They are only off of the grid for a minute, before Marley asks for a book and a cover, or Gavin just yells throughout the house what his status is. That’s right, it’s potty time. Not just any potty time, but good-ol, hunkered down, gonna be here a minute potty time.

That’s not what gets me. I understand the digestive system very well. I have changed hundreds of diapers, so I have experience. I’ve also had a very active digestive system for over 30 years now, so there are no surprises. I know what goes on in there, I’ve been right there during the training, and I’ve assisted in the post-duty clean-up. I’m ok with that, as I know that’s what people do. What gets me are the little surprises when I walk into the bathroom, sometimes hours after they were in there.

For whatever reason, it infuriates me. I have even gone so far as to make “If it’s brown, flush it down” our house mantra. It doesn’t seem to help. As soon as I see either kid emerge from their private time, I ask two questions: 1. Did you wash your hands? It’s just common sense, and good personal hygiene. I happen to work in an industry where I wash my hands upwards of 30 times a day, so I expect others to do the same. I’m not a germ-a-phobe by any means, but please, for the love of all things holy, wash your mitts. And 2. Did you flush? Again, it’s just common sense, but COME ON!!!! We have long since left the years of out-houses and port-a-potties. I’m not Jed Clampett, you’re not Ellie Mae, so FLUSH! We’re not working on some underpass out on I81, so FLUSH! It’s not even that hard! You can push the lever with one finger! It’s so sensitive that sometimes it flushes just by my looking at it. Maybe it’s afraid of me, that it knows what’s coming next.

I hardly ever use that bathroom, for just that reason. When I do, however, I almost always expect a surprise. I can’t count the times that I’ve lifted the lid, ever so slowly, peering underneath in the grasp of extreme fear of what I might see. Sometimes I spy a corner of paper before the lid is very high, so I can quickly drop the guillotine and flush. Sometimes I think I’m in the clear, only to be sorry for my haste. Here lately, I think they are doing it on purpose. No matter how hard I try to convey to them that what happens in there is a very personal experience and doesn’t need to be shared with anyone else, they just don’t seem to get it. Maybe they just don’t care, or maybe they take joy in it.

So after I was surprised this last time, I started thinking about it as I would in my restaurant: there is a problem that needs to be fixed. Here is where we currently are, which is an issue. Here is where we need to be, which involves crystal clear water, no floaters, and a fresh, clean scent. Here are the people involved, and the resources at my disposal. Should be an easy fix. So I start working on an action plan. I inform everyone of the issue, where we are currently, what our end result will be, and what steps we will take to achieve said result. I’m feeling pretty good about this, feeling fairly in control and like  I’m making a difference. We start working on this. I think we are making progress. I ask qualifying questions (did you wash your hands and flush). Depending on the answer and the reaction, I ask reaffirming questions (are you sure, let me smell your hands). I then rest assured that we are moving forward.

Hours later, I walk in the hall bathroom, and guess what I find? Sigh. Now it’s just my fault. I mean, when a cook tells me that we are out of olives, guess what I do? I go check. When a bartender tells me that she blew the last keg of Bud Light, what do I do? I go check. When a prep cook tells me that they can’t finish making salad mix because we are out of romaine lettuce, what do I do? That’s right, I check. I drop whatever I’m doing at that time, no matter how important, and I walk back to where said item is held, and I inspect myself. Throughout the years I have learned that people are lazy, have glaucoma, or are just plain ridiculous. Nine times out of 10 the product is there, despite what they tell me. They know that I will do this, so they always double check before they tell me.

You would think that I would apply this to my home life. I want to, I really do, but I can’t. I’m sorry, but for whatever reason, I do not feel that inspecting the toilet for loiters is what I was put on this earth to do. I will deal with the frustration, the endless questions, and the constant fear of surprise rather than march directly into the throne room and check the drop vault for remnants, for a deposit that got hung up. I refuse. Therefore, I will live this eternal “Groundhog’s Day” of sorts, and I will bitch about it daily. Gives me something to do.

One day, though, there will be no surprises.

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