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Little Bites 8

My friend asked me a question a few years ago that confounded me, and I still think about it all the time.  She was at my house and needed a roll of toilet paper for the bathroom.  She asked me whether I put in the roll with the toilet paper dangling over the top or underneath.

Without going to your bathroom and checking, can you answer that question?

I couldn’t; and not only that, but when I went to check, every roll of toilet paper was different.  I literally had no preference in the over or under debate.  She could not believe that I didn’t have a stance on this; she thought out of everyone we collectively know, I would have a preference.  But I don’t.  And I think about this every time I replace the toilet paper.

My friend is coming this week for a visit.  I considered walking around the house, making all the rolls of toilet paper the same and affixing a sign next to the dispenser stating our preference.  But then I decided that she probably wouldn’t remember asking this question and the joke would be lost.


My new favourite way to annoy the twins (because they haven’t learned songs yet such as “The Song that Never Ends” and I’m sure that once they do, the tables will turn and they’ll be annoying me, so I want to get in my annoying moments now) is to pretend to be a GPS while we’re in the car.  We do not own a GPS.  But I like to do this calm, British accent, announcing everything before we do it.

“Go to the stop sign and turn left.  Turn left in 500 feet.”

Even better, sometimes I say things that I’m NOT going to do, and then I counter in my breathy, British voice, “Recalculating.  Now go straight and turn right at the second light.”

Drives. Them. Crazy.

Which reminds me of something I liked to do back in high school and college.  I’d get in my friend’s car, knowing full well that they know where we’re going — for instance, school — but giving them the directions anyway in this overly cheerful voice.  We’d get to the end of my street and I’d say, “okay, turn right and go up to the next stop sign.”  The first time I did this, the person would stare at me strangely but not say anything.  The second time I did this, they’d also look at me strangely.  I would count to see how many times I could give directions BEFORE they finally asked me what the hell I was doing, or why I thought they didn’t know the way between my house and school.

I still like to do this to Josh, even after 10 years of marriage.  He usually just ignores me.

I have so much fun.


I have fallen in love with Starbucks VIA packets.  It’s an instant coffee, and you can get them by the cash register.  I wouldn’t want to drink it daily, but I take them on the road with me.  I had been squeamish about trying it, but my sister vouched that they were drinkable, and a Starbucks employee made me one to try in the store.

I only like iced coffee — even in the winter — and getting my daily 16 ounces of coffee is paramount to stave off caffeine headaches (I am so freakin’ addicted it isn’t funny).  So all you need is the coffee packet and a 16 ounce bottle of cold water.  You open the water, take a sip to make a bit more room in the bottle, dump in the coffee, close and shake.  And then you have an instant bottle of drinkable iced coffee.  Is it perfect?  No.  Would you want it daily in your house?  Probably not.  But you cannot beat it for convenience when you’re away from home.

My sister passed this tip to me, so now I spread it to you.


1 N { 07.24.11 at 8:36 am }

Over the top. All of them. It’s a Thing. I hate it when it’s under.

2 BigP's Heather { 07.24.11 at 8:43 am }

My mother had strict toilet paper rules. It must go over the top. I fear I have inherited it. I always, always put mine to go over. BigP unfortunately doesn’t see a need to even put it on the roll – as long as there is some arms reach from the commode. That drives me more nuts. I’d rather have it on the roller any way than not at all…

3 HereWeGoAJen { 07.24.11 at 9:04 am }

Over the top. You know, the way it is SUPPOSED TO GO. 😉

I like that you pretend to be a GPS. Excellent.

4 Becky { 07.24.11 at 9:10 am }

over the top. always.

5 Meghan { 07.24.11 at 9:39 am }

Over the top. Anything else is just plain wrong and I will take it off and re-do it

6 Chickenpig { 07.24.11 at 9:40 am }

I think if I went and looked at our TP they might be the same, or not. Our dispenser in the downstairs bath is annoyingly open at one end, so the tp has the habit of falling off. I just grab it and push it back on at this point, I’m beyond caring which way it goes. 🙂

Thanks for the ice coffee tip! I have to get up at the crack of dawn to drive an hr and a half to get blood drawn, and I end up sitting around to drink my coffee because I can’t drive in rush hr traffic w/o it. This is the perfect solution. (I can never drink hot coffee on the rd, I always burn myself or leave it, and so go un caffeinated)

7 Janey { 07.24.11 at 10:06 am }

Over the top. I pretend it’s so my 4 year old can reach it more easily (which is true) but this is really just a side benefit to the fact I have to run it over the top.

A friend once told me it’s ok to insist on having the correct tp orientation in your own home… you are only taking it too far if you change it round at your friends’ houses!

8 Baby Smiling In Back Seat { 07.24.11 at 10:52 am }

Another vote for over the top. I’ve always done it that way, but a side benefit is that it’s harder for a cat to unravel the whole roll that way.

I just asked my husband, and he agrees with the overhand preference because “with underhand you have to touch the toilet paper roll to get it started. What if someone else just used it and they got their poo hands all over it?” Oh, the face and gestures he just made when talking about someone else’s poo hands.

There’s a Simpsons episode in which Marge is investigated by CPS for neglect. One of the citations: “Toilet paper hung in improper overhand fashion.” She gets so indignant when she reads that from the list of citations. I get indignant every time I see the episode. Underhand is the improper fashion!! Which perhaps is the point.

9 Esperanza { 07.24.11 at 11:03 am }

OVER THE TOP. It must be over the top. I get mad if Mi.Vida puts it the other way and I always turn it over if he forgets. I’ve even turned it over in other people’s houses. Yes, I am crazy, and rude.

I noticed you spelled favorite with a “u”. What’s up with that? Do you say schedule with a “sh” sound? I do because I grew up in Hong Kong and people give me such a hard time. Just curious about your British spelling.

10 Prairie { 07.24.11 at 11:07 am }

Love VIA! You can buy a box at the grocery store too.
Word to the wise : the ones designed to be iced coffee. They have lots of sugar added. The regular ones in a bottle of cold water are just fine.

11 Pam { 07.24.11 at 11:18 am }

Over the top. I don’t know when or why it started, but I even go so far as to flip someone else’s roll over if I”m at their house. It’s a sickness.

12 Rachel { 07.24.11 at 11:27 am }

When we’re at stop signs pr stop lights, while hubby is driving, I try to slip the car into neutral without him noticing. Then he tries to go and just revs the engine. I also pull away when he tries to get in the car. Repeatedly. Because I am thirteen. And both things are hysterical. Every. Time.

13 Blanche { 07.24.11 at 11:55 am }

TP has to be over. It’s just WRONG the other way.

Also in a related position: toilet lids have to be down. I say it’s because the dog will help herself to a drink if the lid is up (which she will, /shudder/) but it’s really because ever since I heard about e. coli on toothbrushes thanks to flush spray I can’t stand to have a lid up.

14 K { 07.24.11 at 12:21 pm }

Over the top for me. And not only that, but I worked as a hotel maid in college, and every now and then when changing a roll in addition to ensuring the paper goes over the top, I’ll fold the edges into a little V. I’m a weirdo.

On the Starbucks VIA packets, I also love them and think they’re quite tasty. I haven’t tried them for iced coffee yet but that is a brilliant idea, thanks for the tip!!

I don’t have any fun car habits, however, I’ve been feeling particularly stressed and frustrated lately. And I’ve also noticed over the course of dealing with IF is I’m growing a thicker skin and have become a little bit more aggressive with standing up for myself. My point is, I don’t take shit from anyone any more when I’m driving. I don’t act like a jerk myself, and I’m understanding of the occasional cutting someone off, or other minor driving impolitenesses, but if some beeps at me just a little to soon after a light turns green, or if I see someone driving in the breakdown lane through a traffic jam, I either give them the bird, or beep at them and then give them the bird. It’s immature, I know. But it’s my own personal small act of rebellion against the jerks of the world and it makes me feel good.

15 a { 07.24.11 at 12:46 pm }

Over. All of us at work are over too – except for our maintenance guy, who replaces the rolls. He’s under, and since I complain about enough stuff with actual merit to him all the time, I will not say a word about it. I’m merely happy that he ordered toilet paper that actually rolls on the roller instead of getting stuck so you tear off one square at a time.

I…don’t think I’d want to ride in a car with you. 🙂 Unless I used Rachel’s tactic of throwing the car into neutral…if there was some payback, it might be OK.

16 Tigger { 07.24.11 at 1:22 pm }

Over the top, when I care enough to make sure. Aaron doesn’t care which way and I used to try very hard to convince him to do it over the top, but he just wouldn’t and I got tired of fixing it. 🙂

17 JustHeather { 07.24.11 at 3:23 pm }

Another over the top-er here! I don’t think hubby cares, so if he puts a roll on the wrong way I change it. I also change it at friends’ houses and even at work. 😛

I love that you pretend to be a GPS. I usually drive alone, so I would only be entertaining myself. hehe. But if/when hubby is with me, it is all I can do to not yell at him for telling me how to drive. *grin*

18 missohkay { 07.24.11 at 3:24 pm }

I will chime in to say under because that appears to be in the minority. Although I have a preference, it’s such a slight preference that I make no attempt to put it on that way. The rolls are on different ways in our two bathrooms right now.

19 Sunny { 07.24.11 at 3:52 pm }

Always over the top!

20 Anna { 07.24.11 at 4:11 pm }

I appreciate the bites, perfect for the end of a long car journey.

Our toilet rolls are also both over the top. As a child-young adult they were the other way and at some point as a student I remember having a moment of conversion which was something to do with hygiene, obviously nothing stunning as I can’t remember what it was. I notice other people’s orientations too. How bizarre that so many of us have feelings/a preference about this.

I like your GPS mischief also and am storing away Rachel’s ideas too. I am looking forward to when our car journey’s with our daughter have the fun/annoyance of songs and pretending to be the sat nav woman. I spent most of the journey this afternoon repeatedly kissing my daughter’s toes with a doll and then making the doll sneeze, the hours just flew by!

21 Gail { 07.24.11 at 5:00 pm }

Our toilet paper goes over the top. I knew without even looking and my husband agrees, so no fights there.

I have a love/hate relationship with our GPS. I love that it (usually) gets my from point A to point B, but I sometimes find that it has made a mistake and has occasionally gotten me lost. Thank goodness that I can actually read a map!

22 Myndi { 07.24.11 at 5:27 pm }

Definitely under, under, under. Not sure why, but it drives me nuts otherwise. I realize I am in the minority on this point, but I can’t help it.

23 Manapan { 07.24.11 at 5:50 pm }

Actually, it depends on the brand of toilet paper. You want it so that when you grab it and roll it around your hand, the textured side is facing out for maximal wiping efficiency. For most brands, that ends up being over the top. But if it doesn’t matter for that brand, I want it over the top.

24 Sarang { 07.24.11 at 6:13 pm }

I was once in a job interview and got asked the TP question…and didn’t have a preference. After the interview, I polled all my friends via email as a study and emailed results to the interviewer.

If I recall, over was the slight winner. I did not get the job. 🙂

25 Katie { 07.24.11 at 9:19 pm }

Over the top. My husband is an “under” kinda guy, so it’s always a battle in our house. 🙂

And I am obsessed with the Via packets, too. I actually prefer them to the coffee at work because I like stronger/darker coffee. So I bring my own. I’ve never tried it iced, though. I’ll have to do that.

26 Alexicographer { 07.24.11 at 9:49 pm }

Over, and OMG, I love the GPS thing. Rachel leaves me feeling slightly nervous, though, am hoping that “put it neutral” thing isn’t somewhere where the ability to move the car forward might actually, um, matter? Like, you know, Manhattan…

27 Rachel { 07.24.11 at 10:14 pm }

I’ll never forget the first time I rode in a car with GPS. It was on a date with an incredibly cute guy. I found it so sexy that he not only took directions from a woman, but KEPT THANKING HER! (Yes, the robot. He thanked her.) LOL. Fast forward to my husband, who switched his to the male robot, because the woman’s voice is “grating”. Huh.

28 Queenie { 07.25.11 at 2:28 am }

Can I just tell you how much I love that you’ve gotten 27 comments to a post about toilet paper?

Since you asked, we can’t leave it on the toilet paper holder, because Miss M sees that as an invitation to tp the bathroom. Back when we could, I mostly just preferred that there was toilet paper!

29 MrsH { 07.25.11 at 2:35 am }

Under as well. It is scientifically proven that you use less TP if you put the roll under than over.

30 C { 07.25.11 at 5:40 am }

I’m way too obsessive compulsive to have the toilet paper roll any way but from the top. It’s the same throughout every bathroom in our house.

As for the coffee, I couldn’t agree more. It could be freezing out and I’d still order iced. Particularly in Europe, the baristas look at me like I’m nuts. Last time my husband was in the States, he brought back a package of VIA for me. It’s good, though a bit too sweet, IMO.

31 Mina { 07.25.11 at 7:14 am }

Over the top too. It just feels proper.

I am driving anyone crazy when I give directions. I am useless, and I admit it. So I am grateful for things such as gps. But when the maps are outdated and the lady insists I turn left on a highway, I think I behave like your kids. Only with more profanity – age and experience give me an edge.

32 loribeth { 07.25.11 at 2:40 pm }

OK, I’m not obsessive on the subject, but when I think about it, I always go under — I guess I’m in the minority here. ; ) Wasn’t this the subject of one of Ann Landers’s most hotly debated columns??

33 Tara (TIMO) { 07.25.11 at 2:40 pm }

I do the GPS thing too. Our GPS is always wrong. We really need to not use her or get a new one. Yes, it’s a girl GPS named Mary. We have conversations with Mary usually “no, Mary, we don’t exit yet” or “no, Mary, we need to go 3 more miles”. When we don’t use Mary I’m the navigator so I do imitations of her. Nav can’t get from point A to point B without directions. Yes, the government pays him to navigate airplanes in the Air Force but he can’t get to the store by himself. We even do the recalculating bit as well. Luckily he enjoys my imitations.

Over definitely. And VIA packets are really good, even for my non-coffee loving self.

34 Billy { 07.25.11 at 3:28 pm }

Oh I just put whatever way it goes, doesn’t matter to me.. (but nowadays I have to push the toilet roll holder [and the tp] up as it is so fun for those little fingers to pull while mummy is doing what’s she doing in the toilet..

And the GPS thing you do.. how do we say in Hebrew?

35 Jackie { 07.26.11 at 6:35 am }

I don’t even have to check – I know I prefer the tp to be over the top. I’m not going to complain if someone puts the roll on the other way – they’re replacing it, and I’m happy with that. Though I usually just set the roll on the back of the toilet because I’m lazy.
Now that I’ve told you way too much about my bathroom preferences…
Kudos for finding one of the most irritating things to do to your kids 🙂 Gotta take your fun where you can find it. lol. I hate the actual gps voices though – I get laughed at all the time because every time the thing speaks, I startle and stare at it like it just dropped off a spaceship.

36 Bea { 07.26.11 at 8:25 am }

I don’t think I used to care about toilet paper but now it has to be over the top, or else. I think it is a Symptom of something but I’m not sure what. Maybe I should timeline my care.

PB does that GPS thing to me. How come you got to be the annoying one in your parent/child relationships? He GPS’d me walking through the car park from our car to the supermarket this morning. On foot. All the way inside.


37 Denver Laura { 07.26.11 at 12:17 pm }

Over the top. My ex preferred it under, so it was always a fight as to which way it would be. Basically whomever changed the roll got their way.

My current husband also prefers over the top. Probably why we’re such a good match.

EXCEPT – the dog eats tp. So I have 2 rolls on a clothes hanger hanging on the towel rack so it’s just out of reach from the dog, but handy for the person sitting on the pot. One side is over, the other is under. I could have put them both on one side but I figured I’d mix it up a bit. So even though I have a clear preference for over the top, I offer both.

38 Mali { 07.26.11 at 11:01 pm }

Over the top.

LOL at the “recalculating.” In Spain, our GPS was constantly saying “recalculating” after it had tried to send us down the narrowest streets possible and my husband refused to turn into them.

The thought of Starbucks instant coffee has me running away and screaming. Sorry.

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