Why ply?

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Recently when my sister was visiting us, she commented about the flimsiness of our toilet paper. I don’t remember her exact words, but I’m thinking there was some reference to Soviet-era Russia. Apparently our daughters have been feeling the same way, but never said anything to me until I passed on my sister’s remark to them. So, basically, our house stocks low-quality toilet paper. Why didn’t I know this was a problem? Why was I never taught about toilet paper by my own mother (sorry, Mom, but I’m pretty sure Dad never bought tp for our house.)? I watched television… I know about squeezing the Charmin. It just never occurred to me that my kids would grow up with toilet paper envy.

The truth is, we have OLD pipes. And back when the kids were little and I was home with them, I recall more than a couple of run-ins with our upstairs toilet that just barely escaped becoming major plumbing disasters. Daughter No. 1 coming downstairs where I was busy with Daughter No. 2 and saying, “Mommy the toilet isn’t flushing. It’s just filling up.” And then blithely off to something else. Honestly, what if she hadn’t noticed? Or hadn’t told me? I’m downstairs with baby and not thinking about what’s going on upstairs. Would I have known the toilet bowl was overflowing, that water was spilling out onto the bathroom floor, down the hallway, and soaking the entire upstairs before it started dripping from the ceiling? These scenarios are so accessible in my anxiety-plagued brain that I would do anything to avoid them. Like stocking up on low-grade, super-flushable, 3rd-world-style toilet paper.

Downstairs is a different story. When we moved in 20-odd years ago, the downstairs toilet was a reliable relic from the 40s that would flush a horse. It NEVER clogged. Now we’ve replaced it with one of those snappy lowflow models and, can I just say that these babies require a lot of, ahem, maintenance? LIke, we’ve gone through 2 toilet brushes in as many years? But the pipes are more ply-friendly. And so, yes, I have splurged on 2-ply, squishy-soft, loo paper that has cute little embossed patterns. And my kids are pissed that their bathroom doesn’t enjoy this amenity. But, I am here to say that 2-ply (or 3 or 4) is a total ripoff. We go through those fancy rolls at twice the rate of the low-rent version. I know, because I buy the t.p., and I’m keeping track of our supplies, and I shop for it, and there’s nothing I hate more than a big-item Target run. And on top of that, when you buy those super-packs of toilet paper they are really hard to bring into the house. They don’t fit into normal-sized bags, and the little sticky handles that Target gives you to carry them with? Useless. Useless. So I am acutely aware of how often I need to buy toilet paper and I would like to keep that particular chore to a minimum, and so I am here to say that I support every American’s right to whatever toilet paper they choose, but for my family, in my house, we don’t waste $$ on expensive, wasteful, cushy paper for our perfectly okay bottoms. If you don’t like it, go visit my sister.

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