The Toilet

Greg has an obsession with flushing toilets.  When my long time friend, Pat Derk, called yesterday to recommend water saver toilets, I realized that she had figured out a solution.  To deal with Greg's shenanigans, we needed these friendly suggestions since we were stuck on the obvious one of keeping a plumber's phone number handy.

Now that we have decided to move into the next phase of life with Greg's return from the group home (the group home had become disastrous), we realized we needed to look at our old age.  What challenges do we face now that we have decided to keep Greg with us?  What do we need to do to prepare for Greg to transition to a time when we are no longer here to support him?  Most of all, how can we relax and refresh to reduce stress in our lives so we CAN live longer?

Moving to a wooded lot is a start.  I am indebted to Harry, a high school friend who, at one of our periodic McCaskey high school get togethers, described his wooded lot near State College.  He shared stories of the warm moments getting away from the hectic work day, and how necessary it was for everyone to be able to do this.  Jay and I will have to learn how to stay home when it snows, to savor the moment and to sit back and chill with Greg.  We need many more family moments with my sister and brother-in-law such as I had this summer when the three of us went out together for lunch or with Adam and his girlfriend, Erika, like we have at the beach.  New prospects for family events like cross country skiing, hiking or swimming in Mount Gretna's lake await us.  It is widely accepted that stress contributes to illness which contributes to aging which....well, you know....and we need to embark on our new journey quickly.

If you read A Spot on the Wall, you know that one of Greg's earliest obsessions was flushing toilets.  That obsession has continued, resulting in many a night when I hear Greg crawl out of bed, walk into his bathroom, flush, crawl out of bed, walk into the bathroom, flush, and so on, perhaps twenty times a night!  So when Jay and our realtor, Dwight Kopp, looked up at the living room ceiling during their walk through, that wet spot was no surprise.  We added "call the plumber" to the ever-growing list of repair calls I would have to make to help us get ready to sell.  The heater/air conditioner, the hot water heater, the dryer, the tree guy, the granite installer, and, now, the toilet.  

We placed a trash can on the toilet and directed Greg, "Greg, you can't use this toilet.  It's broken.  You need to use Mom's toilet until it's fixed."  The shocker was that he seemed to respect this and did not get up for his all-night flushes during that time period.  He did not flush our toilet all night, just his own?  We never could figure out the way Greg's mind worked.  

The plumber came, he saw and he conquered.  That evening, Greg went upstairs to use his own bathroom.  All of a sudden I heard, "Fix it!" coming from the top of the staircase.  I knew something had gone wrong, again.  I called for Jay.  Jay ran upstairs, bent over the toilet and yelled at it!  I couldn't get out of him what was wrong, but I envisioned a flood of water stains covering my living room ceiling below, thus preventing us from being ready for the first showings of the house.

After 41 years with Jay, I know that leaving him to rant and rave is the best solution, so I went downstairs with Greg and waited.  I yelled up the steps, "Do you want to me to call back the plumber?" Jay accomplished a quick fix which seemed to pacify him, and he yelled back, "NO!"  He was mumbling something about the handle not working the way it used to and the water and the excessive flushing.  "Stress.  I am stressed."  (I'd become accustomed to hearing that from Jay ever since we decided to put the house up for sale.  I know you are saying to yourselves, "But why move if you have more stress getting ready to move than the woodsy house would lessen?"). Didn't say this was a rational move....just necessary,

"What should we do about Greg's peeing tonight?"  I asked Jay if we should put the trash can back on top of the toilet, and he replied, "There will be no peeing in this house tonight." 


"There will be no peeing in this house tonight," Jay repeated. I looked at Greg and laughed, telling him that he would have to go outside and pee on a tree.  He got up and headed to the door.   

Fooled me.  I thought he was going straight outside, but he turned right, into the kitchen, where he sat, waiting for his bedtime snack.   

Greg has a sense of humor.  He knows Jay and I lose our minds from his antics because, often, I hear him mumbling "angry, Dad is angry" under his breath.  With autism and its OCD, Greg cannot stop himself even though he knows it makes us angry.  Thankfully, we laugh a lot in this household, and that should counter the stressful moments just enough to keep us alive another day.

Water saver toilets?  Smart solution.  Pat assures me that they are not too expensive or difficult to install.  They might just make their way into our woodsy retirement home.  Greg will never stop flushing.  

Still, there are plenty of trees outside the new home to pee on.  We must think positively.

 The toilet

The toilet

Could we have found a solution to the flushing obsession?  After the final visit to the bathroom each evening, we could place a trash can on top of every toilet in our house for the rest of our lives.  Problem solved.