Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Great Port-A-Potty Adventure

Remember the outhouse of yesteryear? It was basically a hole dug deep into the ground with a wood shed built around it meant for privacy and to protect the inhabitants from critters and the elements. Other than the occasional use of the nearest bush or tree, outhouses were used to relieve oneself all of the time and not only on rare occasions when indoor plumbing or public restrooms were not available.



Nowadays, outhouses are made completely of heavy duty plastic so the people that clean them never have to touch them. Just get out the fire hose and blast away.

And it is rare that we come across an occasion where we have to use an outhouse. That is one of the nice things about having boys. They are still young enough (at least Luke is) that if Number 1 is calling, we can usually find a secluded area to take care of business and never have to venture in to an outhouse, or port-a-potty in modern day speak. However, the other day we found ourselves at the baseball practice fields with no public restrooms and no desire to do what a bear does, if you get my meaning. As I was going for a lovely evening with Bossy that night, that gave me the perpetual short straw for the day and off Luke and I headed to the port-a-potty. For me, that was a walk of doom.

On the way, we stopped at the car for wipes and Kleenex. Luke wondered why. I explained to him, in the gentlest terms possible, the usual condition of port-a-potties. The first thing he did when we got in was exclaim excitedly that there was indeed plenty of toilet paper. And the port-a-potty was in fact very clean. And not very stinky. Though it was crowded. And hot. And though clean, it was still a port-a-potty which meant that I wanted to get out of there as fast as possible. But Luke was mesmerized. I swear it was as if I had taken him to the Bellagio in Vegas.

He was amazed with the way he could look down and see his butt reflected in the water below while he sat and did his business. He was astonished at how far his poop had to drop to reach the water. He was enthralled by the green color of the water, and called it dirty alligator water. He informed me that when his expulsions reached the water, they sunk right to the bottom. He asked why I didn’t want to sit next to him on the little platform they had obviously made just for that reason. According to Luke, this spot would have been the perfect spot for me to sit and wait while he was doing his business. According to me, I would have preferred sitting in the car. I kept asking, “Are you done yet?” Who was I kidding? For a four-and-a-half year old, this was definitely an experience not to be rushed.

As he sat and observed, he noticed a mirror above the door. How considerate of these makers of the port-a-potty. They must understand how women feel after spending more than a minute in one of these. So, after your makeup is completely smudged from pinching your nose to block the smell and from sweat running down your face and your hair is plastered to your scalp from the sweltering heat, you can use this mirror to primp. I see several problems with this, however. The first is the mirror is so tiny you can only see one feature in the mirror at a time – an eye, your nose, a piece of your hair, etc.



Second where do you set your bag while you’re primping? Do you put it here?



Or would you put it next to the toilet, in the place that Luke thinks is the perfect spot for sitting while waiting for your son to finish his two-day long poop.

Third, the angle of the mirror on the door such that it is, means that you have to stay on the seat, or too near it, to be able to see yourself in the mirror. I really do not feel it necessary to sit on the seat or next to it and do any kind of primping.



At last, Luke was finished. We used our wipes to clean our hands and then he sprinted back to the fields to fill his dad and brother in on what he truly considered to be a magnificent adventure. He honestly described it as, “Totally awesome.” I would have to disagree, although I would say my son is totally awesome. How else could you describe someone that could turn one of the grossest, most dreaded experiences into something so perfect and childlike?

16 comments:

Amber said...

Hello, I am a big lurker, without a real blog of my own, but I had to comment here. You are so entertaining when you write about your boys, and this adventure is wonderful as well. Leave it to a kid to feel a need to use every public restroom in the country, but pee on themselves in the house (or at least my daughter is like this). I love that there was a seat for you. That is great. At least that one was clean, usually those "extra seats" are covered in mysterious liquid and goo.

Tara R. said...

How can you make a port-o-potty so funny? What an adventure... alligator water... hilarious!

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

Totally awesome port-a-potty report. I hate those things. And my kids refuse to go in them, thank goodness.

Kellan said...

I am still laughing at this, "So, after your makeup is completely smudged from pinching your nose to block the smell and from sweat running down your face and your hair is plastered to your scalp from the sweltering heat, you can use this mirror to primp."!! So funny and those port-o-potty's are so awful!!!

Have a good evening - Kellan

MP said...

GREAT POST!!
I have to agree with him, the portapotties are MUCH cleaner now-a-days.. I can recall drinking at any givin parade and just DYING cause they were so gross..but you gotta go...so you go. Maybe it was OK cause you weren't at Mardi Gras..or St Patties Day or the VP Fair. .... I am thinking WAY too much about this..
Alligator water :-)

jennifer said...

I do love a good port-a-potty story!

Marshamlow said...

Hi Heather, nice to meet you. I am glad you had a relatively nice experience, those things scare the begezus out of me. I have been known to drive home to use the potty.

Kathy said...

I'm glad that turned out so well. Aurea is six and won't go near a port-a-potty. The park we go to has no restrooms so we have to leave and come back if she has to go. UGH! Glad Luke thinks its so fun. LOL

www.kathy-iamwhoiam.blogspot.com

Swistle said...

YIKES. I love the part about the primping mirror. Also, the light in those portapotties is usually (1) dark and (2) green.

Susan said...

I swear I can smell that port-a-potty from here. Kids are so sweet and innocent and... fascinated by gross stuff.

HRH said...

This was a great adventure. I was so glad you took pictures? or found suitable ones. My favorite was how far the poop has to fall...

Robin said...

Wow, I will never look at a PortaPotty the same way again.

Happy Campers said...

It always kills me how 4 year olds find adventure in odd places, huh? :)

The Frankster said...

What a great story about Luke and the port-o-potty adventure. As the sense of smell is the strongest trigger of memories, your vivid description took me back to our family out-house in South Dakota.
All out-houses were of the same design with the half moon cutout in the door for ventilation, the rear slanted roof and dual purpose foundation. The foundadtions were actually wooden skids so that when one hole filled up you could dig another one and simply pull [skid] the outhouse over the fresh hole. It was a special treat to be the first one to use the fresh hole.
I was afraid of spiders so I would always leave the door open, drop my pants and read what ever catalog was placed there for toilet paper. One of my fondest possessions is the picture my mother took of me in that posture.
The out house was a great place to hide stuff. They were braced with two-by-fours that ran horizontal above the door.The two-bys were above eye level of an adult so we could hide things up there. In our teen years, we found that a pack of Lucky Strikes and a box of wooden matches would fit perfectly.
The memories of trudging through butt deep snow to the out-house in sub-zero weather will never fade.
On Halloween night, on of our favorite "tricks" [treats were not an option] was to push an outhouse over on its back. It was especially rewarding if we could accomplish the feat with the owner inside.
Oh what memories of the stinky little shack-out-back.

Damama T said...

Hey girl! I read this way back when you first did it. I can't believe that I didn't comment on it then because it reminded me of a similar, but very different, experience I had. I was looking through my draft posts tonight and realized that I'd never published the story. Ahh, the insanities of life! LOL! Anyway, I posted it just now with a link back here. Loved very graphic representations, by the way! Too, Too funny!

Kathy said...

That is way too funny. I could never make a port-a-potty story into such an adventure. Sorry you had to deal with it though.