Charmin is Charmin’

I have been banned from purchasing toilet paper for the family.

Apparently, there are rules to buying this stuff that women know, and I do not. When Tara first moved in, I had a stockpile of my usual brand on hand. It had served me well for years, and most importantly, was cheap. Soon after, Tara gently suggested that she take over TP duty, and the MD was replaced with Charmin (in much the same way that my Arm & Hammer detergent was replaced with Tide, and the generic store brand dried pasta was replaced with American Beauty – slowly but surely, she has been classing up the joint).

Last week, we were running dangerously low on TP, and I had to stop at the store for something else anyway, so I decided to buy some. I found a twelve-pack of Scott toilet paper on sale, several dollars cheaper than Charmin, and figured that would be fine, especially since it advertised DOUBLE ROLLS! Skeptical, I compared the ply count with my ol’ standby MD, and twelve 288 double rolls did, in fact, equal twenty-four 144 single rolls, so into my cart it went. I figured Tara would be appreciative of the fact that I had gotten us extra cushiony TP, even if it was a different brand. Minor detail, right?

Aww, babe. It's not THAT bad!
Aww, babe. It’s not THAT bad!


“Scott, huh?” she said, examining the toilet paper that I was – for some ridiculous reason – beaming over purchasing. “They make good paper towels.”

Indeed, they do. Scott mops spills right up. So it stands to reason that…umm…anyway…only, I failed to recognize the importance of a little thing called comfort. Efficient though the TP may be, it lacks softness.

My bad. I assumed double rolls automatically made toilet paper twice as soft, but realize now that’s faulty logic. In an attempt to salvage the situation, I came up with what I felt was a winning solution. “We’ll stick it in the kids’ bathroom!” Kids are the repository of all failed experiments. Buy new towels that pill up constantly? “We’ll let the kids use them!” Buy a new brand of crackers that taste gross? “We’ll let the kids eat ’em!” They’re like little furry unknowing lab rats. God, I love them! But while my advice was sage, it was too late: I had my toilet paper buying privileges taken away.

Naturally, I turned to Facebook to air my grievances, and was met with scorn from most of my friends. Heidi said, “I’ve got your back, Tara.” Nancy M. said, “Ouch. Scott is a dude. Scott does not get it. Bad move.” Jessica said, “Oh NO! Scott is the worst.” I won’t repeat what Wendy said, because it involved flushable wipes vs. TP and was quite graphic and disturbing.The point is, I am a guy, and apparently clueless when it comes to this stuff.

OK, fine. Charmin is charmin’. I get it now. The things you learn when you live with a woman!

If The Snow Won’t Come To Us…

We’ll come to the snow. That’s what we decided when we purchased a couple of Groupons recently. It was a two-for-one deal for cosmic snow tubing at Mount Hood Ski Bowl. I had been there with my coworkers for a company retreat and Christmas party in December and had a blast, and knew the kids would enjoy it. (I also secretly tweaked my knee that day, but was too ashamed to admit it and hid my limp for the  next month because my boss made this big declaration about how “nobody got injured this year!” as we boarded the bus to leave, and I couldn’t very well rain on his parade). It bothered me for a couple of months, and in fact the pain had just barely gone away a couple of weeks earlier, so I was a little leery about going up there again, but decided to just be extra careful.

Predictably, the kids loved it – and so did we. We ended up staying there about four hours (though for Tara and I, a decent chunk of that time was spent in the bar ). The weather was perfect: a 5′ base of snow, overcast with no wind and temperatures in the 40s. There was music and lasers and black lights and, best of all, nobody got injured FOR REAL this time. We’ve decided that one day next winter we’re going to have to play hookie and spend a day up there. Driving home in the dark, after midnight, Tara and I singing along to old Bruce Springsteen songs, just felt – at the risk of sounding sappy – kind of magical. But we tend to have a lot of moments like that.

Burn Therapy

Sunday evening, we sat on our patio as the light in the sky was fading, and enjoyed a blazing fire in the portable fire pit. It wasn’t fueled by wood so much as by my past life. I had a box full of old paperwork – receipts, bills, bank statements, etc. – dating back to 2006 taking up valuable room in the closet. Figuring the risk of an audit is low (knock on wood) and desiring more space, I had planned on shredding all those documents, but it would have been a very time-consuming task. Tara suggested we burn it all instead, and burn we did. For over an hour we  fed the flames a steady diet of old papers, and it was a liberating feeling. Almost therapeutic. Like I was incinerating the last vestiges of an old life. Literally. Naturally, some of those documents caught our eye. Things like old retirement plan statements of my ex-wife’s, testament to Once Upon A Time. Tara was interested in seeing the things we bought while married, and her eyes lit up with glee when she found Walmart receipts. Walmart! It’s common knowledge how I despise that place and refuse to shop there. “Walmart, babe?” she asked. “YOU?!” I hastily explained those purchases were my ex-wife’s, that I never set foot in the store myself, and that is true except for this one time when I was forced to, but I couldn’t help feeling guilty by association. See why I was so eager to watch that stuff burn?

It was soul cleansing. And had the added bonus of keeping us warm.

I highly recommend this (though not at your desk).
I highly recommend this (though not at your desk).

Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

11 thoughts on “Charmin is Charmin’

  1. LOVE that last photo, Mark! HILARIOUS!!!

    Okay, and this is just too weird because about fours years ago on my blog, I posting something about Charmin toilet paper and used the SAME (cheese grater) photo on MY post as well, I kid you not!!!

    “OK, fine. Charmin is charmin’. I get it now. The things you learn when you live with a woman!”

    No, it isn’t just women because my father would FREAK if my mother purchased any other toilet paper but Charmin. We HAD to have Charmin in the house.

    Personally, I used Scott’s because it’s cheaper and lasts longer. And I honestly don’t find it rough paper at all.

    Fun post, Mark!


    1. Too funny about the photo, Ron. It’s amazing how in sync you and I are sometimes.

      Amazing and scary.

      I think Mr. Whipple would have been just fine with Scott toilet paper myself!


  2. I can see how it would be really therapeutic to burn that stuff. Great idea!

    I’ve been with Ross for nearly 5 years now. Do you ever have these odd feelings when you see MA that you can’t really remember you life with her? I have been having that lately when I try to remember my life with David — and it was 17 years. But I can’t really remember all that much about that life anymore. I certainly don’t EVER remember feeling this euphorically in love with him. Ever.

    I’m glad we both found partners who are an excellent match for us. I really can’t wait to meet Tara.


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    1. Do you ever have these odd feelings when you see MA that you can’t really remember you life with her?

      Yes! Absolutely. Though it’s not seeing her so much (our physical interactions are extremely rare these days; I can’t even remember the last time I actually SAW her) as just trying to think of what life was like with her. It’s very hard to remember a typical day in the life, circa 2004 or so. Maybe my brain is just repressing those memories.

      And Tara cannot wait to meet you, either.


    1. What Tracy said. And, yes – I can make you a character in my book. Why break precedence now? I think that’ll be my signature: every novel will feature some reference to a Wendy.

      Happy now?


  3. Oh Wendy…we love you because you are a freak!

    Oh Mark Petruska! You just continue to make me laugh and people at work must of thought I was off my rocker while I was on break, staring at my phone and literally laughing out loud.

    Keep it up.




    1. Thank god there’s no pressure or anything! LOL. But seriously, thank you for the compliment. I love making people laugh, and hope to continue doing so for a long time to come.


  4. Yeah, they wanna change everything. One that moved in for a while threw away all my “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” yellow margarine tubs used for leftovers and replaced them with store bought expensive Tupperware. Next the aluminum foil on the windows got replaced with curtains and she also demanded that sheets and pad be put on mattress. She crossed the line when she connected the ice maker in the freezer. Do you have any idea what that does to your electric bill ?


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