Something happened this weekend that made me start to think about how different we (meaning Tim and I, not all encompassing..) live then how my parents and uncle live. While at first I was FUMING over the event, once I settled down, had a chuckle and moved on, I realized that the behaviour, while competely irrational and weird on my uncle's part, was not "intentional". He is who is is......all 78 years of him.
An uncle who is 78 you ask?
Yes, my mom has 2 brothers who are 14 and 15 years older than her.... you could call it an "oops" on my grandparents part, but I call it a blessing...their "mistake" turned out to be their only girl, the only one who went to college and became a professional, and the only one, who at the end of their lives., sacrificed every free moment she had to take care of them.
By the time my mom was a teenager, my uncle was almost 30, married with 5 kids. He was a railway worker, barely making ends meet, while my grandpa worked as a blacksmith and my grandma washed floors at Eatons Department store for 25 cents a day...can you imagine?????
My mom on the other hand became a teacher, married a CA and thrived financially and socially. We were spoiled in terms of always getting new school clothes, friday night "treat nights" at the local pizza place, family trips, first cars....very different lifestyle from my uncle and his kids.
So onto the "event" . Over the past few weeks, my parents main floor toilet was on the fritz...my uncle wanted to try fixing the 25-year old toilet and they let him try. No luck. Tim, Cole and I were over last week and noticed the toilet was STILL not in use. A few excuses flew around like" I'm renovating this bath soon so no need to replace it yet" . This is where I start to see some major generational differences.
Tim and I:
- Just replace the toilet! You can pick one up for $150 at Homedepot
- Tim will install it for you, he is handy like that!
- We will replace it when we redo the flooring in this room
- It still works, you just need to do this, this and that...10 minutes later you can flush!
I pulled my dad aside later that night and told him that a main floor bath should be in working condition. It's the bath most people use, visitors use, and at 64 years old, you have the money to put in a temporary toilet, even if you renovate and no longer need it (there are 4 other baths in the house with old toilets that could certainly benfit from this!)
So while they were in Ottawa this past weekend, Tim and I installed a new toilet for them. We were replacing one of ours with a fancy dual flush (thanks MB hydro for the efficiency credit!) so we took our 6 year old toilet over and 20 minutes later the "beast" was replaced. A quick trip to our secret dumpster and all evidence was gone!
Now here is where I REALLY get peeved....
I called my uncle to inform him that we replaced the toilet, in case he went over to the house and noticed..I was expecting a simple "oh good, I tried to fix it but it was obviously broken"
This is what I got....
"Why would you do that! I just put in a new part for that toilet!"
So I offered to reimburse him for the part, my apologies, I had no idea....
"That is NOT the point Cheryl, your father could have used that part on another toilet"
But Uncle, that part did not work in that toilet, so chances are it will not work in the other 4 exact same toilets...
"Where is the old toilet"
In the dumpster Uncle
"Which dumpster? I am going to get that part"
ARE YOU FRICKIN KIDDING ME??????
I pretty much hung up the phone, I think shock and confusion had set in, the anger and irritation came later..I called my dad to explain and ask him about the cost of the "part".
My uncle was willing to get into a dumpster and remove a $3 part from a 25 -year old toilet.......
I am not sure whether to laugh or cry. Is his generation THAT afraid of throwing away $3? Is my generation too quick to throw away $3? We spent more than $3 in gas getting from our house to my parents. Tim spent more that $20 on parts and his time on a saturday afternoon lifting and trashing a 60 pound monster.
Was a simple thank you not in order?
Help me bridge the generational gap here...I feel like common sense and has been "flushed down the toilet" this time.