Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 8.18.17
Stanstead, Quebec


Flushing tips for guests

Dear guests,

Welcome to our home and, more specifically, this little corner of personal hygiene privacy we like to call the guest bathroom. Please make yourself comfortable and avail yourself of whatever you need. We have provided a wide variety of reading material, from an assortment of Archie digests to a well-thumbed Victoria's Secret catalogue, a subtle acknowledgement by your hosts that, here, your business is none of ours.

That said, please be advised that this particular toilet is temperamental, and we ask you to adhere to the following flushing advice.

But first, a little history of this toilet...

The toilet was imported from Ste-Vinaigre-sur-Slaw, France, in 1934 during the height of the Mouvement plomberie fonctionale, which is perhaps best known through the porcelainworks of Henri-Louis Villarouxieuxeut, in particular his breathtaking-to-the-point-of-gasp-producing "Bidet pour des choochoos quotidiennes."

This particular toilet, however, is not a Villarouxieuxeut but rather one produced by his many apprentices who toiled in anonymity, hand-crafting toilets, each one uniquely contoured and lovingly plumbed. We believe ours was originally fashioned for an American manufacturer of high-end women's underpants. However, the toilet was never shipped because the manufacturer went bankrupt after the bottom fell out.

The undergarment industry's loss is our gain. While we are proud of the heritage of our artisanal arse-sit-inal, its one-of-a-kind sluicing action renders the flushing action somewhat fickle. But more on that shortly.

The story of the peach

Several years ago, we were supervising a young child who asked if she could have a peach. We offered said child said fruit, and a short time later she returned, having finished the peach, so she claimed.

Not long after, our toilet began to clog. No amount of plunging would unblock the drain. Eventually, we were forced to disengage the toilet from the floor. In doing so, we found a half-eaten peach jammed in the U-bend. Thankfully, we were able to salvage the toilet; the peach: no.

Please do not use our toilet to dispose of uneaten food of any kind.

Flushing the toilet

    1. Grip the handle gently.
    2. Push down until you hear the clink of metal against the porcelain lid.
    3. HOLD HANDLE DOWN UNTIL THE WATER IN THE BOWL GETS NICE AND SWIRLY. By "nice and swirly" we mean "just to the point where things are starting to rotate confidently but not so swiftly that, if you had to, you wouldn't be able to retrieve your glasses if they happened to fall off the top of your head because you forgot they were there while you were leaning over to gauge the swirliness of the water."
    4. If you happen to have a vortex flow meter handy, 3.78 pf/~l should just about do it.
    5. If you do not have a vortex flow meter, don't be shy to ask your hosts for one!
    7. Make sure everything goes down.
In the event everything doesn't go down...
    1. Do not panic.
    2. Everything will eventually go down.
    3. Wait until the tank refills with water.
    4. While you wait, enjoy the hilarious antics as Archie gets an after-school job at the Chok'lit Shoppe and is immediately accused of sexual harassment involving a banana split.
    5. Repeat the flushing instructions above.
Shouldn't I just plunge it?

Rest assured that the problem is not a blockage, despite my spouse's insistence that we need to pour something strong and toxic down the drain. After all, sometimes everything goes down just fine. Therefore, the problem can't be a blockage. You're just not flushing it right. No offence.

Couldn't it be a half-eaten peach, and sometimes it rotates so that the water and waste squeeze past the bitten part while other times the peach is rotated such that it blocks the line completely?
It's not a peach.

What about another type of small fruit? A plum maybe.

Trust me, it has nothing to do with the drain. It's the tank's flushing mechanism, which was lovingly hand-crafted by French artisans, who may have been tipsy, being French. I recently examined it, and, believe me, there's nothing to be done.

Oh, so you're a plumber?

No, but it's not rocket science.

And yet...

You're just not flushing it right.

It probably couldn't hurt to put something strong and toxic down the drain. I promise you that's not the problem. Please just learn to flush the toilet properly! Honest to God, it's not that hard!

A final word to our guests...

There is a lovely Starbucks one block over. Please leave the Victoria's Secret here.