Better: Seat of power comes in 50 shades of gray .. or is it pearl?

"It isn't gray," I said.

We were discussing the color of the fixtures in the master bathroom in our new home. The toilet seat needed to be replaced, but I'd chosen the wrong shade of off-white at the home improvement store.

That morning, I stood before a wall-sized display of toilet seats. My eyes panned back and forth, from one sample to the other, as I tried to picture the color we needed. I had to decide between almond, stone, bisque, bone, ivory, cream, pearl and oatmeal.

Yes, a toilet seat in a color called "oatmeal."

But I chose poorly, and would have to return the seat and get another one. It would have been easier if I'd had the actual toilet with me; but Doug nixed that. So, when you really think about it, it's his fault the seat didn't match the toilet.

"It didn't match because the toilet is gray," Doug said. Again.

"It didn't match because it was too light, that's all," I stated emphatically. "I'll get one just a skosh darker, but still in a warm tone. Not one with blue in it, but yellow."

"That toilet is gray — just like the tub and the sink," Doug reiterated. "Even your own son agrees with me."

My son? The guy who showed up at a family barbecue wearing two different color athletic socks: one white, and the other a shade of pink it had obviously picked up being washed with something in a scarlet-red seen only on Valentines Day in the form of heart-shaped boxes of chocolates from the drug store?

My own offspring turned against me. My first-born — my blood! — was taking Doug's side. You are dead to me, Josh, I thought, at least until the next time I need help changing my windshield wipers.

So there I was again, staring at a wall of toilet seats trying to take my best guess — from memory, mind you — and choose from among 12 shades of warm off-white. I even considered oatmeal (for about two seconds).

I contemplated the display until all colors looked the same to me. Then it hit me: somewhere at home was a catalog of novelties, gifts and unusual home décor including novelty toilet seats of clear acrylic with various items, from the sublime to the ridiculous, embedded in them.

One of those wouldn't have to match the fixtures; yet it would spruce up the bathroom and, as an added bonus, express my charming whimsy.

I was trying to decide between a toilet seat made with dollar bills, to match the green tile, and one filled with seashells, and another with leaves, and one with feather, and one with cobblestones or coins….

That's when Doug came in and looked over my shoulder. "Cool!" he exclaimed. "Pick that one!" He pointed to a clear plastic toilet seat with a whole lot of nuts and bolts of every description floating around in the acrylic.

"Why that one?" I asked.

"Because it looks sort of gray," he said and walked away.

Fine, I thought; seashells it is.

Email Cathy Drinkwater Better at

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