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Death By Toilet Paper

iStock_000000483926XSmallWhen you’re in a relationship, compromise is your middle name. Like it or not, we have to adjust ourselves to those we love, and they to us. If we didn’t, there would be a rash of homicides.

Yup, relationships can be murder.

I happen to have a very wonderful relationship. That is, until the toothpaste gets low in the tube, the soap bar is reduced to a sliver and the toilet paper roll has one square left … for me. Seriously? People have gone on rampages for less.

Not a big deal, you say? I beg to differ.

My significant other finds a way to squeeze toothpaste from a tube that is already flattened beyond belief. It goes on for days. And days. I have no clue where he learned this skill set, but I do know that I have no desire to go to the school of toothpaste squeezing. We spent our first year together arguing over it. I would simply throw it out, insinuate that he was cheap, and he would become angry, calling me wasteful and lazy. Harsh.

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It gets worse. It wouldn’t be uncommon to find a sliver of soap left in the shower for me to use. I’m talking itsy bitsy teensy tiny sliver of soap. The size of which could feasibly disappear on a person’s body if they weren’t careful. I eventually learned to check the soap tray and have a spare at the ready. But until then, the fur flew.

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The straw that broke this camel’s back was the toilet paper roll. The one that was left caringly for me that had only two squares barely hanging on to it. There are few places that we are more vulnerable than in that little room, where after doing our business, we find 2 squares dangling when it is clearly an 8 square occasion. Such moments are what epic fights are made of.

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Compromise. Finding that delicate balance between sanity and reality. Theirs, not yours. And then making peace with it. It’s great training ground for war mediation.

It hasn’t helped matters that we are both only children, came from poor backgrounds and each of us more stubborn than the other. A ticking time bomb of angst.

The crazy thing is, this man is the most generous man on the planet. He would help any friend in need, whatever the cost, and I have only to look at something and he would want to buy it for me. It wasn’t about the money. It was, pure and simple, about the waste.

When you grow up poor, you either become super aware that you shouldn’t waste a thing, or you become defiantly confident that you no longer have to scrimp to the last drop of anything again. We represented both sides of the spectrum.

Once we stopped the yelling and started the listening, it turned out to be an easy solve … eventually. Never mind that there was blood on the walls, doors off their hinges and silent treatments that were deafening. And all because of toothpaste, toilet paper and soap.

Nowadays, he squeezes to his heart’s content, while I simply start a new tube. I keep a stack of toilet paper rolls in the corner of the commode area, so he can enjoy the last square while I start a fresh one. And soap slivers are a thing of the past. I set it aside for his use and I enjoy a fresh bar.

I’m not sure why it took so long to discover the way to civility. The need to be right isn’t anyone’s best trait.

And so, this is a story where love (and common sense) wins out in the end. I’d like to think that we are not the only two fools that fight over such trivia. Every emotion has a story behind it. We have but to care enough to listen.

I’ve often hear it said that we shouldn’t sweat the small stuff. But in reality, it’s the small stuff that drives us utterly mad. It is the details that the devil is in. And man, can those small details run amok on your peaceful existence and otherwise intellectual outlook. We became raving idiots. Ouch!

I love happy endings. Especially when they come with a full toilet paper roll, a fat tube of toothpaste and a new bar of soap!

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mel glenn - Dear Tammy, It’s hard to paper over differences without squeezing the life out of a relationship, but you are wise to advise a rational compromise. May toilet paper never become the major (t)issue, and may the soap of your relationship never slide down the drain.
A wise column written by someone IN a relationship, not by someone just talking about one. Keep up the good writing.

Carole Milligan - So true about the little compromises that are the major bricks in a relationship.
When my dear hubby and I were first married, one of the big disagreements was about which way the toilet paper rolled off the roll…whether it should peel off the bottom of the roll or the top of the roll. If I had the roll on my way, he would change the roll to his way. Seriously. I gave up because I decided to pick my battles.
When we moved into a house with two bathrooms (what luxury), he got “his” bathroom and I got “my” bathroom.
Thanks for sharing your humor and truth.

Vicki - Love, love your writing! I look forward to your blog!

Joan Cooper - There are few things in my life I am proud of, but I do pride myself on always – always anticipating the tissue role to be near throw away time. Ask my house buddy – Jeff. He is never – never without a squeezable comfy tissue role.

Right Jeff ???


Susan Williams - May all your disagreements be worked out so well.
Love isn’t easy, is it?
But it’s so worth it, and in the end, we end up as better people, for having been stretched in our understanding of the other.

Tammy - Hi Mel, I laughed so hard when I read your comment!! You are TOO funny. And very wise. Being IN a relationship is the only way to learn the true meaning of compromise. I know I am better for it. But I’ve gotta tell you, my friend, it doesn’t always feel that way! Thanks ever so for sharing your wit here with us!

Tammy - Carole, aw, yes, the way the TP rolls out is yet another bone of contention. The over or under conversation took place in our house too. Isn’t it funny the things that we cling to? The places in our relationships where we choose to draw the line. It seems the bathroom is a breeding ground for disagreements. We have to chuckle about it all, and as you say, pick our battles. Some of us go easier into the realm of compromise than others! So very happy to have you here, Carole!

Tammy - Thanks, Vicki! And I LOVE, love having you on the other side of my blog! Thanks for being here.

Tammy - Joan, clearly you have your priorities in order. Life is a lot easier when you live alone. Less rich, less exciting but easier. When you live with someone, that when the ying and yang takes place. Sounds like you’ve got it together. Appreciate you popping in, Joan.

Tammy - Hi Susan, no, love isn’t easy. It is the little things that often trip us up. We are such silly creatures to allow toilet paper, soap, or toothpaste cause such a ruckus in our relationships. Live and learn. And, yes, it IS so worth it. Compromise is something we generally learn the hard way. Hopefully we hang on to the knowledge. Wonderful having you here, Susan!

Suerae Stein - Haha – I love your “it was clearly an 8 square occasion” line! I was laughing out loud at that one. I’m glad you managed to find compromises with all those irritating habits. I think sometimes we take so long in finding a solution because we don’t want to give in to compromise right away. We want the other person to change their annoying little habits because we think that will somehow prove their love to us. Silly us, right? Great post!

Tana Bevan - Thank you for a delightful read! (I do, however, notice the article’s silence regarding another biggie –> toilet seat placement! *smiles*)

cheryl shaw - Loved your post and so understand the issues———the soap one is the biggest around here. I have a “roll” at the ready on the back of the commode, and I have no problem with the toothpaste thing as I am cheap and intend to use every last ounce——-especially since, I am told, that the brand I like is not made in the U.S.——–shame on me. For me, the “big” issue is placing the dish cloth between the sinks in the kitchen so it is always soggy and disgusting————it has started “discussions” and it is also a pretty small issue.

Ande Lyons - Oh Tammy LOVE!

It’s those pesky details that can take a relationship down fast. One couple ordering a backhoe for a quiet burial… the other filing papers and skipping town. All over – due to a scrap of toilet paper. Or in our household – refrigerator/pantry blindness.

Thank you for reminding us to focus on the big picture – and providing tips to overcome PDS – Pesky Detail Syndrome.

For the gals, may I suggest one of my favorite posts: Why Chromosome? It’s all about the gentle care and feeding of the Y in your life.

Much love and appreciation for YOU!


Kitt Crescendo - Oh, Tammy! I loved this post. My issues were never about the soap or the toothpaste. I always used girlie shower gel, so mine was safe, and I’ve always kept toothpaste right under the sink. The toilet paper, leaving the seat up and the empty rolls decorating my counter top? That drove me batty… Of course, talking things out helped fix most of those problems, but I’ve also learned…I’d rather take a good man with bad habits over a bad man with good habits any day. 😉

Tammy - Suerae, stubbornness is an ugly thing. Unfortunately I have it in spades. I’m working on it. Part of my “problem” is that I think I have the better idea. Ugh. I just cringed when I typed that. But, really, my ideas just make sense. Um, at least, more sense. Oh, drat, never mind. Sillyness is abounding. Thanks for the pop in and the oh too true comment!

Tammy - Hi Tana, ah, yes, the toilet seat. Well, let me share that the first time I fell into the toilet at 3 a.m. was the last time it was left up. I think the screaming and whining made my point. I think I could use these kinds of “incidents” as blog fodder fodder months! So happy you enjoyed the read. I know I am thrilled to have you here!

Tammy - Hi Cheryl, I get it. A soggy dish towel is not help to anyone. I think that the smaller the issue the harder it is to resolve. I’ve heard myself say more than once “This is simple stuff, what is the problem here?” Yup. We are a stubborn lot, each of us. Finding a common ground is often easier said than done. Luckily, after many “discussions”, we’ve accomplished just that. LOVE knowing you’re still out there, Cheryl! Thanks for chiming in!

Tammy - Hi Ande, hahaha, refrigerator and pantry blindness. Love it. I gave up on that one. The butter barrel that had a smear of butter left, or the juice carton that was empty but still left in the fridge. We all have our own “stuff”, don’t we?! Oh, those pesky details can really ruin an afternoon, a week, and sometimes a relationship. LOVE that you shared your AWESOME blog post on the Why chromosome! (love that title) Hope my readers click on it. They won’t regret it. I know I never do. You, my dear, are one fun and talented writer! As always, the pleasure is mine!

Tammy - Kit, LOVE your super wise perception. Yes, I’ll take a good man with bad habits any day over a bad man with good habits. I think. Maybe. Yes, Yes, I would! Okay. It’s all in the give and take of things. It really should be a whole lot easier. Just saying. Happy to see you here, wildcat!

Sheryl - There are few things more comforting than knowing a brand-new roll of toilet paper is only a glance away…

Tammy - Sheryl, haaa! You got that right. It seems like such an easy thing. But nooooooooo. It took months to resolve. Shame on us! Hope you enjoyed the read, so very happy to have you here!

Carol - Tammy,
Always a pleasure reading your blog. You are indeed a witty woman writing!
Can’t wait for the next one.

mickey - So funny and right on target as usual! You truly understand the human condition.
Love you!

Susan smart - OMG…….think I would have gotten separate bathrooms a long time ago !!!! Good job…..great compromise, and may the best tube or roll win !!!! You are a wonderful writer !

Tammy - Hi Carol, thanks SO much for the kind review. I can’t wait to write the next for you! Super glad to have you on the other side of my blog. Thanks for that!

Tammy - Hi Mickey, funny and on target are always good things. I just all ’em as I see ’em. Love you too, and so very grateful to have you here!

Tammy - Hi Susan, separate bathrooms are my dream. Wouldn’t it be wonderful?!! So happy you enjoyed the read. So, so appreciate you popping to say so!

Rick Dean - Tammy, once again you make me re-think life. From rethinking my use of toilet paper to the toothpaste, when we tackle a relationship, it makes everything a cooperative effort.
I gave up drinking out of the milk carton and walking downstairs in my underwear a long time ago, and now realize I need to be more attentive to my wife and the things we share. So much to do, but ya know….she’s worth it dammit!

Steven - When you’re right, you’re right…the great part is that you’re so damn funny when you’re doing it!

Tammy - Hi Rick, I hope your giggling while you are doing your re-thinking. Boy, you are right on when you say relationships are a collaborative effort. Every minute of the day. And night. Yes, you’re wife IS worth it. And so are you, my friend. So are you! Thanks for sharing and caring! Thrilled to have you on the other side of my blog!

Tammy - Hi Steven, funny is good! I appreciate the compliment. And I appreciate being called right … a lot. *giggle* Happy you enjoyed the read … and that you popped in to say so!

Laurie - You are right that we all have to make compromises. I can relate to those very same things. But I have had to pick my battles carefully, because as I get older, I find my frustration with those things runs higher than it used to. I remember reading a story once about a woman that was always mad at her husband for leaving his socks all over the house. Or leaving the toilet set up. When he died suddenly, she yearned to see his socks on the floor just one more time. We have to try to live with no regrets.
Keep up the good work!

Tammy - Hi Laurie, I agree, picking your battles is the secrete to a lasting relationship. I learned that from my 4 year old. One morning she chose a green and purple polka dotted skirt with a pink and yellow striped top with bows on it. She wanted to wear it to school. I was mortified. And then it happened. I thought to myself, did I really want to begin her day with tears of disappointment and not understanding? No. So, I threw it to the wind. She was happy, I was mortified, but when I picked her up from pre-school, her teacher hugged me and told me I did the right thing. Who knew?! Some things are worth fighting about. Some are not. I’m still learning the difference between the two. Thanks so much for stopping by. Wonderful to hear from you!

shirlene - Funny Tammy

Maureen - Love reading your posts!! I buy all three in bulk and keep a stockpile in both of the bathrooms with more out in the pantry…but now for the most important TP question – Over or Under?

Tammy - Hi Maureen, LOVE having you on the other side! Over for me …. under for him. Don’t even get me started!!

Elan - LOVED this! I swooped by to check out your blog and see how to implement your advice from last night’s seminar: 1) Shorter sentences; 2) employ humor; 3) Make sure that share buttons/follow buttons are visible visually. Now I can see how everything flows together!

Your piece was well-written, engaging and FUNNY, as well as easy to share. I will definitely have to start using shorter sentences & more catchy titles.

Thanks again for the great blogging workshop last night and I’ll make sure to read more of your funnies.


Tammy - Hi Elan, so happy you enjoyed the read. And even happier to see you implementing some of the things I talked about at the CSUN lecture. Hooray for you!! I visited your blog, enjoyed the read and happy to leave a comment. Good luck to you, Elan, so happy to have you here!

Chloe Jeffreys - Yes, we’ve fought over this nonsense before, too.

It never ceases to amaze me how entrenched we get in problems that have easy solutions. I’ve known fairly well-off couples who have gotten divorces over dishes in the sink and dirty laundry left lying around. Seriously? Of course, I doubt those things are the real issues, but still.

The need to be right is a marriage-killer.

Tammy - Chloe, you are so right. I, too, know many a couple who have split up over issues such as this. I didn’t want to be among them. Life is too short and the world way too aggravating on its own. In our house, behind closed doors, we are a team … right, wrong or ridiculous, we stand together and work the stupid stuff out! So happy to have you here, Chloe!

Shannon Bradley-Colleary - Hi Tammy — lovely read. But I do have two words for you two. “Second bathroom.” xo

Happy Hiller - That’s funny!

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