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Birds of a Feather

I had the good fortune to spend a day at Disney World with family over the weekend.  At one point I herded 4 young girls into the ladies room.  Two were mine, two were nieces.

Once safely inside, and while enjoying the echo afforded me by a public tiled restroom, I used my best announcer voice, “LADIES, PLEASE KEEP MOVING ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE END OF THE ROW SINGLE FILE.  KEEP YOUR HANDS BY YOUR SIDES AND DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING.  AND BY “ANYTHING”, I MEAN NOTHING AT ALL.  THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR ATTENTION.”

I could sense much eye rolling and heavy sighing that is linked with embarrassment.  These are moments that I live for.

When we arrived at our destination, I gave an impromptu speech and demonstration as to the art of properly administering the handy seat cover to the toilet.

The “feathering of the nest” as it were.

More eye rolling, sighing, and self conscious giggling.

I smiled to myself.  My mother would be so proud.

When I was growing up, long before the invention of the disposable seat cover, my mother was militant about arranging the toilet paper over the public toilet so that not one centimeter of flesh should ever come in contact with the seat.  It was an art form, really.  As it took two layers to properly ensure a sanitary seal.

Three layers if the toilet paper was extra cheap in nature.

Whenever we had the misfortune of visiting the public lavatory, my mother would holler into my stall, “DID YOU FEATHER YOUR NEST?”

Utilizing her best southern accent.

She did this every. single. time.  And every single time, I died a slow death of mortification.  She continued this ritual until I was well into my adulthood.

And I have to admit, that as soon as I was out of my parent’s house, I threw caution to the wind and NEVER feathered my nest again.

Until I became a parent, that is.

That little rebellious spirit is one reason that I still, to this day, spend a good deal of my long distance telephone conversations apologizing to my dad for everything I put my parents through.

At one point during my demonstration, Emme entered a stall and asked, “Mom, what if I DON’T feather my nest?”

“Well.  Then I’ll have to disinfect your hinny right here at Disney World.”

The thought of this amused the other 3 girls.  And then I heard the distinct removal of the disposable seat cover and sensed it was put in place after all.

As all 4 girls were washing their hands as if preparing for surgery, Emme noted to her cousin, “My mom is embarrassing.”

You ain’t seen nothing yet, sister.  My fun is only just beginning.

And so the tradition continues.

And truth be told,  I would give nearly anything to hear my mom’s voice once more echoing over the stall.

“Did you feather your nest?”


16 Responses to Birds of a Feather

  • I am obsessive, compulsive about the potty seats!! And the not touching anything. My poor little 3yo the other day, after my having issued the “Don’t touch ANYTHING!” warning suddenly freaked out. “Mommy, my back touched the wall.” It’s OK, honey. You can’t lick your back. And I’m sure there will still be plenty of therapists available when you grow up.

  • Um, definitely not expecting to tear up at that post.

    You’re such a good writer.

  • I have never heard of feathering your nest. Well, I mean, I know about covering the seat but I have never heard it called that before. THAT is hilarious!

  • Thank goodness I have boys! But that is so hilarious, and yes I even feather my nest or even better I squat!

  • I always put paper down. I am passing along the tradition, although I had never heard of this phrase for it. Leave it to a Southern woman to make something to do with a public potty sound elegant and refined.

    And you MUST flush with your foot!

  • Ugh, more potty posts! Yuck! My 11 year old is in Florida with my parents. Her first airplane ride and trip to Florida! She’s staying at the Disney Resort, maybe you saw her there? tee, hee. Called my mom yesterday to say “Be happy you’re there, we are getting 4-6 inches of snow!” in Wisconsin…have a nice week and think of me as I am shoveling…

  • My mother taught me to do the same thing! In fact, it was so ingrained in me that I even did it when I lived in the sorority house at college. It didn’t matter that we had a maid who cleaned the bathrooms every single day. No ma’am. I faithfully put that toilet paper barrier down. Feathered nests are important!

  • I am more of a hovering kind of bird. Definitely not in for all the work of nesting.

  • Oh, dear. I am incredibly lax. But so far no one has gotten a terrible illness…maybe my luck will hold….

    Mary, mom to many

  • I have never heard of your cute little phrase for covering the toilet seat. I’m going to have to poll all my Southern friends now!

  • Love the phrase. May I borrow it? I’ve noticed that one of my daughters starting asking me to flush for her, just so she can see me flush with my foot.

  • so funny! 🙂 Love the phrase. Also, maybe now that I have a daughter I will start being a little more worried about germs once she actually sits on the toilet (she’s only 6 months right now) because normally? i dont even hover.

  • This is a great post! You had me laughing out loud (made me wake the baby, darn it) and then the emotion at the end had me tearing up. But you still left me in a happy mood. Thanks for the smiles.

  • loved, loved, LOVED this one! I am a freak about ‘feathering nests’ as well. and since we were just at disneyworld not too long ago, i can remember that all too well. i wonder, now that my oldest daughter is 11, if she really does put something down. yes, i do remind her across the stall too! but now, i can tell her in a not so embarassing way?!! we’ll see!

  • That is so funny! You have been given such a blessing for writing. 🙂 Now, I see where Grandma Whiting gets that from. She used to tell us to hover, but I always thought I would fall in instead. Oh well, she’s still a little like that now. 🙂 Really funny, I can hear her saying that. Thanks for making my day!

  • That is so cute! The things we take from our moms!