A tough guy in a tight spot

Published 8:29 pm Thursday, January 29, 2009

With an 11-year-old granddaughter living in my home, I’ve spent a lot of time wondering how someone so small can spend so much time in the bathroom.

Mind you, Victoria has always been slow at just about everything. She’s the last of our three grandkids out of bed and the last one ready for school most mornings. She needs an extra 15 minutes of notice before bedtime to ploddingly put her things away and say her “Good nights.”

But when her age hit double digits, we suddenly lost the use of our home’s only full bathroom for periods of time that you almost could measure with a calendar.

Email newsletter signup

Though frustrated with her granddaughter, my wife also considers the situation a perverse sort of payback for me, whom she considers the original lavatory monopolizer.

I’m a big guy, I’ve argued, and I regularly shave my whole head (not just my armpits, like some people who shall remain nameless so they won’t divorce me). It stands to reason that it would take me longer when I’m in the washroom.

All this came back to me on Friday morning as I sat on the toilet lid after my shower wondering how I would get out of the tiny room. Somehow, the latch mechanism on the door had broken, and I was trapped in there with no phone, no tools to remove the hinges on the door and, of course, no one at home to help me.

The bathroom window is too high to climb through without the risk of landing headfirst in the flowerbed. Besides, there’s a pretty good chance my neighbors didn’t want to see me prancing around the yard in my bathrobe.

As hour one became hour two, I was still stumped. By then, I’d stuck my head out the window and called for help — to no avail. I’d listened to two different radio preachers talk about holiness — which helped keep me from cussing. And I had resigned myself to the choice of either an embarrassing or an expensive end to my imprisonment.

I would have to break through one of the panels of the bathroom door and crawl out. Or I could wait until my stepdaughter arrived at home with the grandchildren and get someone to hand me tools through the window so I could get the hinges off the door.

The second choice, of course, would entail a certain degree of teasing by my own grandchildren, including 11-year-old Victoria, who eventually would have realized that Grandpa had spent WAY more time in the bathroom on Friday than she is ever likely to spend.

Needless to say, our bathroom door is broken now. And instead of being the object of pre-teen ridicule, there’s new respect in our home for Grandpa, who actually broke through a wooden door with his bare hands (or feet, as the case may be).

Not bad for an aging, short, round guy, if I do say so myself.