I Have a Wee Problem here in Canada

friday bubble bath

Last night I was contemplating things that are challenging for me here. Things that make living in my adopted country of Canada a learning curve experience. Things that are mildly irritating or otherwise just not right because it’s not like back home – because back home in Australia we do it right you understand.

Its not that I don’t I find it maddening that here in Canada people drive on the wrong side of the road, which leads to me being confused as to what to teach my daughter in regards to learning to cross the road safely. When I was a child Hector the Safety Cat used to sing a handy dandy song that gave every child instructions on to how to cross a road safely.

This song made perfect sense – in Australia. But here in Canada, when I sing that little ditty to myself, it only leads me to trouble. Because here in Canada I’m not sure if I look left or right first… I can never recall which side of the road traffic is going to be approaching from. Picture if you will, a spectator at a tennis match being played on the television in high speed, head whipping left and right at full speed, desperately trying to gauge when the right time is to walk across the road. Way to teach the child huh?

In my incredibly accommodating, welcoming home state of Victoria, as a driver with a licence from overseas, I can walk into my local VicRoads office, produce a licence from valid country, and walk out with a full Victoria licence without having to even prove I can drive. Gallingly, here in Ontario, I have to jump through hoops that would send a highly trained circus poodle into a psychotic frenzy, and if I screw up my one chance to prove I can drive (I am a nervous test taker – years of secondary and university transcripts would attest to that) I have to go back to the very beginning of the driving scale (equal to a 16 year old) despite my having driven cars for almost 20 years with no major accidents and only one (highly contentious) speeding ticket.

After talking to the chemist, oh, sorry, the pharmacist it is just a little niggle on the frustrating side of things that I blindly assumed I would have easy access to medications you can buy over the counter back home are only available with a prescription here.

And I do find it demoralising that I can earn $21 an hour as a casual worker in a supermarket stocking shelves or putting customer’s orders through the check out, and here, if you earn $9.15 an hour, people say that you are on a good wage for a customer service job.

Oh and whilst I’m at it, please don’t ask me to pass you a Klennex… it’s called a tissue and the brand you are asking for isn’t the one we currently offer in our home… will a Shoppers Drug Mart do?

But for all the frustrations I feel with these little annoyances, I say to myself, “Suck it up buttercup! You came here; you deal with here.”

But none of the above issues have the ability to truly drive me mad.

No. What really drives me over the edge is this.

It’s when I’m resting in a far too infrequent warm bubble bath, and someone in my family simply insists that they have to use the toilet..

Pass water. Piddle. Whizz. Tinkles. Twinkies. Wee-wees. Pee-pee.

When I’m in the bath.

Now its bad enough that there is no natural light in this room which is squeezed into the centre of the building as if its an after thought, but to subject me to the indignity of hearing – smelling – you twinkle right at my heads height as I recline in the bath – oh it is not to be endured!

And every time this occurs, I ask the offending member – did you not know that you had to pee before I got in the bath? I told you I was going to have a bath. I walked up and down the length of the apartment calling out that I intended to have a warm bath… could you not have chose to empty your bladder then? Why when I’m here, enjoying the sensations of warm water do you feel the need to relieve yourself?

Of course, the offending member (my husband) will offer to pee in the kitchen sink, which sets of new waves of nausea in me, earning him the verbal reward of being called a jerk! Sadly that only makes him laugh all the more, thus threatening to spray his pee everywhere, because the sight of me, holding my nose, tightly screwing my eyes shut and singing “Tra La La Laaaaa!” in an attempt to not experience the streaming water hitting the water in the base of the toilet is just too funny for him. Some are more easily amused than others.

And the thing that is truly beyond my comprehension is having a toilet in the bathroom in the first place. The room is called a bath room for a reason people; you are supposed to bathe in it, not pee in it. Even the Penguin Concise English Dictionary agrees with me:

Toilet n 1A A fixture for receiving and disposing of faeces and urine. 1B a room or compartment containing a toilet and sometimes a washbasin. 2 archaic or literary the act or process of dressing and grooming oneself.

Does anyone see the word bath or bathe in there? No? Do you note that the toilet is described as a room or compartment containing a toilet and sometimes a washbasin? That would be because it’s a very simple thing. Bath room – bathe. Toilet – pee. The toilet does not, I repeat, does not belong in the same room as the bath tub.

And I have learnt that it’s not just because I live in a small two bedroom box apartment that I must deal with a toilet in the bathroom; no, no, no! Even the big fancy – schmancy houses here in Canada have the chamber pot in the same room as the bathtub. The only advantage in a big house is there is more likely to be a smaller toilet tucked away some place incredibly useful – like under the stair well, only big enough to be comfortable for oh, say, a two year old troll or something.

I think it is the one thing I truly hate about living in Canada. It is the one thing I cannot be a buttercup about and suck it up. I will, til my dying day, think it is wrongWrongWRONG to have a toilet in the bathroom. And even worse to use the toilet when someone is in the bath.

Now please excuse me, I have to post this love letter to my husband now so it gets to him by next Friday.


  1. *trying to stifle the laughter* Oh I know I shouldn’t laugh but I can’t help it *grin*
    BUT don’t even get me started on when people say the brand name instead of what it bloody well is ala kleenex v’s tissue aaaaaarghhhhhhhhh

  2. Yep, the thrills of adjustments to life in another country. I had lots of similar gripes when I was the Canadian living in Australia! 🙂 I kind of like the different names and the way English is spoken in different parts of the world though. And I forget what they are now, but I know the Aussies refer to some things by their brand name, instead of the item name. I think that’s so quaint and culturally interesting. The whole toilet thing – yeah well, I can’t say anything about that. In my opinion the Japanese are the only ones who TRULY know what a bathroom is. 🙂

  3. Jullienne says:

    ok.. I’m curious now…. what DO the Japanese use bathrooms for??

    And you mean to tell me your toilets are NOT in the bathrooms? Where are they then?

    As for the Kleenex, Band-Aids, Tylenol…. ugh. I’m with you on that one!

  4. Ack, I have a husband who does that too. He says it is because I spend so long in the bath, that maybe he didn’t need to go when I first asked, but cannot predict how his bladder will be doing in 2 hours time (Ok I admit it I am a topper upper-er). After reading horror stories about how far wee wee can travel I agree with the whole toilet/bathroom seperation, which I have had in every other house except this one.

  5. Loved this post – you realy do have a talent for writing, and don’t you ever doubt it!

    So, in Australia, toilets are not located in the same room as bathtubs and/or showers? I’ve lived in 3 different countries (Brazil, USA, Canada), and all three have toilets and bathtubs/showers in the same room…. although in Brazil we may also have a bidet – something I haven’t seen in North America.

    I, too, am also curious as to what Japanese bathrooms are like! You’ll have to find out for us!

    I admit that I have grown up using the “Kleenex” terminology, so if I ever say it to you, forgive me! 😉

  6. Totally with you on this one. Thankfully, in this house, you might remember that we have both a toilet in the bathroom AND one on the laundry. When we build our own house – one day – there will be two toilets and neither of them will be in the bathroom! *nods* While we’re there, there can be a little half-basin in the toilet room as well. Keep all the germs in one spot!

  7. there is one useful thing about a toilet in the bathroom. When my 2 year old suddenly realizes she has to poo while taking a bath, i can quickly get her on the pot. lol. 🙂

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