A Cautionary Tale.

ToiletproblemsYup. That’s our toilet. To the right is a plunger. Those green things are rubber gloves. And that long metal thingy with a spring on the end? Well, the only way I can describe it is that it’s kind of like a large, bendy pickle picker. You probably didn’t even think a pickle picker was a real thing. But it is. Some people need pickles and they need them FAST. They ain’t got no time to fish around for one with a fork. No, they have a pickle picker, for when they need that pickle, like, yesterday. Pickles are serious business (for some).

Anyway, pickles were not what I was trying to pick from that toilet. Nope. In case you are feeling horrified right now that I’m going to start talking about brown pickles  poop, I’m not. I don’t have a problem with talking about poop, but this story doesn’t start with poop or even end with poop (there may be some poop in the middle though – I’m not gonna lie). No, this story starts with me trying to keep my toilet clean and smelling FRESH. Because I’m a Hausfrau now and keeping my toilet clean and smelling FRESH is my job (not my only job, but about 5% of my job).

My husband wanted to help out with this so he picked up one of these. Except it wasn’t a Lysol brand one. I can’t find a photo of the one we used, but the Lysol one is basically the same thing and just as dangerous as far as I can tell. Sorry Lysol.

My spidey senses tingled when I hooked this FRESH device to the rim of the toilet. Part of me was like, this doesn’t seem quite safe? It’s not that secure and probably wouldn’t take much toilet seat dancing (what?! You don’t toilet seat dance? Weirdo.) to dislodge it and then *gasp* accidentally flush it. But the other part of me was like: FRESH. So I clipped it on and forgot about it. Except two weeks later I looked down and…


I was pretty calm, thinking maybe Martin moved it. Maybe it wasn’t lodged in the U-bend waiting for me to poop (sorry),  causing a massive clog and  forcing the water to backflow and spill over the rim. Oh, the horror! But I was calm and waited for Martin to come home from work. When he did, he informed me that he hadn’t moved it, which confirmed my fear that it had indeed dropped into the toilet bowl where it was unknowingly flushed out of sight. But, who was the flusher? For the next few hours we looked at each other suspiciously, each secretively blaming the other for this unforgivable and careless act. I blamed him for buying it. He blamed me for using it. Except, it didn’t really matter whose fault it was. What mattered now was that we potentially had a massive blocked toilet issue. Martin contacted the landlord, who contacted the building manager and, long story short, we were informed that an emergency visit from a plumber would cost upwards of 400 CHF. For my international readers, that’s 500 CAD, 455 USD,  328 EUR and 270 GBP. So yeah, 400 CHF. Scheiße!

Luckily, it wasn’t really an “emergency”. The toilet was still technically flushing without overflowing so I implemented a “no flushing solids” rule, that’s no TP and no…um, you know, poop. Martin used the facilities at work and I used the facilities at our local Migros. We took a trip to our local DIY shop where we picked up the plunger, rubber gloves and the big, bendy pickle picker. While we were there I realised that we had very different experiences with blocked toilets. Whereas I had a long history with plungers and Ack!TheToiletIsOverflowing!Quick!GetATowel!, Martin had none. Yeah, NONE! I Skyped with my parents later that evening and my mom was like, yeah, the difference is Martin’s family didn’t have YOUR DAD. Well, we can’t blame dad for all of the blockages as I distinctly remember shoving an action figure down the toilet because he was banished to the waterfall of DOOM! “Nooooo! Not the waterfall of DOOOOOM! Aaaaaah….gurgle, gurgle, glug, glug,…purp!…fsssssss..Ack!TheToiletIsOverflowing!Quick!GetATowel!”

Moving on.

The plunger was absolutely useless as it turned out to be a sink plunger and not a toilet one. There is apparently a big difference (thanks, Internet!). The pickle picker helped a little, but it was obvious that the FRESH maker was still not dislodged. So six days after I implemented the  “no flushing solids” rule, we bit the bullet and asked our landlord to arrange a visit from the plumber, but stressed that is was definitely NOT an emergency.

Yesterday afternoon the plumber arrived. He didn’t speak any English, but seemed to be briefed well on the situation by our landlord and got straight to work. After 30 minutes he came out of the bathroom with (tadaaaah!) the empty FRESH maker dangling from his finger. Shocked,  I blabbed on in English about how I thought I’d never see that stupid thing again and he blabbed on in German about something I did not understand (I’m guessing it was along the lines of: “you silly Hausfrau! You’re NEVER supposed to put anything near or in the toilet like this. Dies ist verboten! So many Hausfrau’s make this very silly mistake, which is okay because I charge a super ridiculous call-out fee”…or something along those lines. If you did not already, you must read it again but with a German accent, ja?!). And after a week of inconvenienced toilet usage, his invoice of 227.05 CHF didn’t seem that bad. Except, 227.05 CHF! Scheiße!

That first flush after the plumber left was glorious (no, really! I could hear angels singing “Gloria” as the water effortlessly emptied from the tank and was quickly sucked out of the bowl by the siphon and refilled without an odd little burping/sucking sound). It was also very FRESH.

From now on, I will not be a lazy Hausfrau and will listen to my spidey senses. I went to Migros this afternoon to do my grocery shopping (not to use the toilet, canIgetahighfive!) and when I saw a pack of these exact FRESH makers on offer I was like, NEIN!

xx BHF





5 thoughts on “A Cautionary Tale.

  1. We have recently been stationed in Germany and the title of your blog caught my attention immediately. I JUST bought some of those toilet fresheners from Netto (our local grocer). I think now I will remove them pronto! We have three toilets, luckily, but I really don’t want to either fish them out, have backed up toilets, or hire a plumber. Thanks for the post! It was highly amusing!

    PS: my dad was also the culprit behind many backed up toilets! Lucky me, I married a man who is also the culprit of backed-up toilets!

    • Hi Angelique! Thanks for stopping by! Yes, from my experience, I definitely cannot recommend using these fresheners. I did see that Migros was selling some really long ones that I can’t imagine would be able to be flushed, but I’m not taking my chances again.

      I hope you’re enjoying your time in Germany so far!

  2. Pingback: The ugly truth about my fabulous new life. | bored Hausfrau

Thank you for your feedback! xx BHF

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