Toilet Paper Whoas

(The title of this post is 100% plagiarized from an email from my big brother, John.)

For some reason, I seem to have a lot of conversations about:

-using the washroom in developing countries

-(not) using toilet paper in developing countries

-squatty potties

-falling into sewage

I would like to think that everyone experiences this phenomenon. (If this is not the case, don’t burst my bubble.) On a related note, two things happened this week.

1. I received the following email from my brother who is currently living in Ecuador:

Hi Amelia, Have you ever had to put a coin into a Toilet paper dispenser? I know humans commonly dispense [it] in India, but even there, is it objectively rationed as a machine might? If so, do you have any recollection of how many squares come in a portion? There’s a blog topic swirling around my mind…is thurs. good for you to talk?

A blog topic swirling around in his mind–BAHAHA! Now you see where I get my creative genius and stunning wit.

Apparently, John had to purchase a package of toilet paper (for $1 USD).

Toilet paper packages, finger shown for scale

The contents of a dispensed toilet paper package: 12 squares.

John, as much as we feel for you and would strongly advise you to invest in a whole entire roll, we have one very important question: which direction do the toilets flush? Does it vary within the country depending on which side of the Equator you’re on? Please advise.

2. The second thing that happened was that we had our first small group/home church/Bible study of the year. For a warm-up, Varun and I decided to play Two Truths and A Lie, just to keep things holy. Here’s what I wrote:

-I have eaten rattlesnake

-I have fallen into sewage

-I have met Obama

Apparently, this caused serious confusion. Some people didn’t think I was brave enough to eat rattlesnake. Some people felt it unlikely that I’ve met Obama. And then there was my lovely friend C, who happily proclaimed, “But guys, think about it! If any of my friends is likely to have fallen in poo, it’s Amelia. She’s like a magnet to awful situations!”

Ummm…thanks? I struggled to keep a straight face as I laughed on the inside.

C was right: I am a bit of a catastrophe magnet, and I have fallen into poo. Like, submerged in it.


On to more polite conversation: have you ever had toilet paper rationed? If so, what was the given amount? Have you ever used a toilet paper dispenser? How much did it cost?

How To Keep a Beautifully Clean House

Okay, I lied. If you clicked on this title hoping for the answer, you’re going to be disappointed. This is more of a “How To Not…”

Me: Varun, I need something to blog about. Help me think of a topic. Like, what do I care about? Ooooh. What do I rant about?

Varun: Oh haha, buddy! You rant about lots of things. Most things. Pick anything.

And there you have it: another moment of revelation whilst brushing my teeth. Except before I had time to brainstorm, I saw this.

The curtains in our bedroom

I know. It hurts my heart too. The uneven ties, the falling rod, the curtains that slide to the left more times than I can slide them back in a given day.

And so I’ve stumbled upon my rant: getting stuff done. Varun loves to tell people that my name, Amelia, means “Industrious”. And it does (Nothing says “I have Germanic roots” like a name that could describe a BMW factory…). Most days, I’m pretty industrious. I’m disciplined about exercise, schoolwork, eating healthy foods and getting things done in advance. Except anything cleaning/housework related.

Example A:

A few months ago I was driving across the US border and the snoopy border guard said,

BG: So, you exported this car from the USA?

Me: Yes. Um, how’d you know that? (Thinking his computer is super fancy)

BG: You still have your registration tags on your windshield.

Me: Oh, haha. Sorry.

BG: They’re from last year. Why haven’t you taken them off yet?

Me: (In my head: Have you seen my closets, buddy? One year is nothing in Amelia To-D0 List Time….)

So what is my deal? How am I capable of making homemade tomato sauce and planting basil from seed and yet am completely unwilling (unable?) to organize my closets and clean out my trunk?

You know what keeps those curtains crooked? My fear of the futile. We’ve moved so many times that I think I’m just afraid to care. If I spend the afternoon baking cookies, I expect them to be gone in three hours days. And that’s okay. But when I hang pictures, I’m haunted by the thought that we’ll just move again. Also, our walls are concrete. It takes a hammer drill and some serious strength to get a screw in. And do you know what a pain it is to hang pictures on screws? You have to rig up your own little hooky thingy.

And here’s my other problem with the whole organized/housework thing. I love spending time with people. And so does Varun. Like yesterday, I was going to deal with the Pile O’ Junk next to my dresser. But then a friend texted to ask if I could help out. And then I visited a neighbor. And then we had an impromptu dinner with a friend. And then went to another friend’s house and sipped Freezies/Push-up-pops/Chuski’s and talked about life. And then it was 11 pm and I was totally over the desire to clean. My point is, housework just always falls to the bottom of the list because I don’t mind much, Varun doesn’t mind much and we still don’t have domestic help. (Whooooa Nelly. Don’t judge. Read the link)

Okay, this is my last problem. Things don’t stay organized. I guess because it’s not a priority for me, or because my brain can’t think in boxes, but I have no problem ditching my systems. Maybe I’m too flexible? Or is this what they mean when they say “lazy”?

Anyway. I have two points here. The first is, I think we can all agree that’s there’s way too much guilt and stress going around. So I’m joining Jessi at Naptime Diaries and giving up some good. Not that hanging pictures and scrubbing the bathtub doesn’t need to be done. Trust me, it does. But I’m just gonna chill out a bit on this one. Yup, you heard me: I am dealing with my lack of motivation by choosing to care less. HUZZAH.

You know the whole thing about not airing your dirty laundry….Well, Hello, Internet! (To be fair, this was after being gone for two weeks….)

But, just in case I feel motivated: HELP! Any thoughts on how to have a DIY/Pintrest-worthy house when neither you or your spouse/roommate/Mom/hamster care much?

*To my Man Blog Readers: Let’s be real here, this is not a “ladies” issue. Any thoughts or advice is totally appreciated!

How I Failed to Finish the Hunger Games. Twice.

If you’re looking for a serious and thoughtful reflection on the Hunger Games, the human condition and child labour, this won’t be it. Instead, I’m going to explain to you how I failed to finish the Hunger Games. Twice.

Let me be clear: I did not willfully walk away from the final book, Mockingjay. I was taught from a very young age that books were meant to be cherished and finished. I can count on one hand the number of books I haven’t finished. And earlier this month, I was fully consumed by the series, in no danger of never finishing it. So, a few weeks ago, I cleaned the kitchen while listening to the final chapters of Mockingjay. I was soo curious how it would end, who would survive, who would end up with whom…

I don’t know why I thought it was the final track of the final chapter. But I did. After hearing what I thought was the ending, I sat at the table, stunned. I tweeted my disappointed and sent this email to my sister.

I moped for a few hours. Thankfully, my dear friend Beth saw my tweet and called me to discuss my thoughts. She mentioned that she was happy that a certain something happened. I replied, “Huh? You think so? How do you know that?” And she said, “Didn’t you read the epilogue?”. There was an epilogue?!!

So I went and read the epilogue.

So I was pretty happy. And for the past two weeks, I’ve been telling people how I failed to read the epilogue. And then last night happened. The women from my Bible Study went out for a sushi night. We talked about wedding planning and good restaurants and the Hunger Games. And I told them my funny story about missing the epilogue. And they didn’t seem that impressed. I elaborated, explaining how depressing the last paragraph was and how without the epilogue the book made no sense.

And then things got a little crazy. My friend pointed out the last paragraph was not what I was quoting. I backpedaled, explaining the last scene. They laughed, I got a little panicked, the waitress tried to offer us more water. They asked me about a few key events, trying to stay vague. My brain was exploding as all of the questions I thought had been left unanswered were now being asked of me. Because they did have answers. Answers I did not read because I hadn’t finished the last two chapters


When we met up with the guys, I couldn’t stop laughing. I tried explaining how this had happened. I buttoned my coat saying, “Guys, I’m usually not ditzy”. As luck would have it, I had mis-buttoned my jacket. I borrowed the book, got ready for bed in record time and devoured the final chapters. I read the epilogue. I read the acknowledgments. I read the book jacket. Done.

Can I just say what a relief it is? All of my questions have been answered. My worries about the characters, my imaginings about their fate. I feel like I read a whole new novel.

So, what are my thoughts on the Hunger Games?

It really depends on which ending we’re talking about…

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