78: The Outhouse

78: The Outhouse

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Home Sweet Home

The Outhouse

Today you can go to a gas station and find the cash register open and the toilets locked. They must think toilet paper is worth more than money.

~Joey Bishop

I stood at the end of the driveway waiting to cross the street one night in January. Once the coast was clear, I walked over to the Mobil station directly across from our house. “Hi Ryan,” I said to the cashier. “Can I have the bathroom key?” Our only bathroom at home was getting remodeled and the toilet was currently out of commission. I’m a roughing-it type of girl, thanks to many years of camping in the woods. However I refused to use those skills in the middle of winter. In New England. And at night.

Thankfully I could go to the Mobil station — until it closed at 10 p.m. — because my husband Steve is the owner. But when it looked like our toilet would be on extended leave, I put my foot down. I was not going to go across the street every time I had to pee. And what about the middle of the night? We got a bucket.

The guy remodeling our bathroom was a friend who worked as a contractor part-time. By part-time I don’t mean he had a full-time job and did this on the side. Part-time because he only seemed to work part of the time. I was not a happy woman. But he cost significantly less than a professional, even if he took longer.

Sometimes when I got home from work I would be pleasantly surprised by a functioning toilet. Our contractor friend would take pity on me and temporarily hook up the toilet. But over the course of several weeks, it was more often than not the bucket. Sometimes the bucket was actually in the bathroom. Other times it was in the hallway. This went on for weeks.

So I was thankful to have the station across the street. I was also thankful to have my mother-in-law living nearby. I drove to her house for two months straight to shower. Every. Single. Morning. I did, though, enjoy our morning chats. And I missed that part of the routine when I could shower at home again.

However, I did not miss going over to the Mobil station when our bathroom construction (finally) finished. Or that bucket.

~Kristiana Pastir

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