The Toilet Dilemma

In my last camp at Burning Man, we had a dedicated porto potty for the camp to use.

This was INCREDIBLY convenient.

I loved not having to walk a few blocks to use the communal porto potties.

Those things get nasty SUPER FAST on the playa, while a private porto potty usually remains pretty clean and usable (i.e. women can sit on the seat without fear of contracting a deadly fecal disease).

So now I’m in a new camp and I’m researching porto potties to bring one into camp.

You may not know this – I didn’t – but you need one porto potty per day for every 30 people you have camping with you.

Exciting news, eh?

We have 40 people in our camp, so I’m guessing we can still get away with one porto potty so long as we get regular pump outs.

And by regular, I mean DAILY.

My dilemma is this: even if we do manage to get a porto potty in my new camp, I am wondering if I should still bring my little portable toilet:

It’s the size of a briefcase and fits nicely in my tent.

I simply HATE getting up in the middle of the night and braving the cold playa weather in my nightgown in order to use the loo.

I know, I know.

First world problems.

A porto potty AND a private toilet?

Aren’t I spoiled.

But on the playa, it’s the little luxuries that make the burn.

And a private toilet sure as hell beats even a CLEAN porto potty any day of the week.

Despite the fact that the toilet seals nicely so it can be carried to a porto potty and dumped, I’m worried about the smell.

No way I want my hot tent smelling of piss.

So perhaps I’ll bring the portable toilet, perhaps I won’t.

Maybe I’ll bring another tiny tent and it’ll be my changing room / bathroom.

Now, won’t that be elegant?


Toilets and Love

My sister tagged me in a Facebook post calling me “the eternal love optimist.”

Along with that sentiment came her “two cents” on the topic.

diarrheaLove is the best feeling.

But finding a toilet when you have diarrhea is better.


Perhaps in the moment.

I remember one time my ex-husband had the trots and we were LITERALLY A BLOCK from our house when he made me pull over so he could use the bathroom at McDonalds.


I’m sure at that time I held little value for him where as the toilet was a thing of beauty.

If I remember correctly, I think I was laughing a little bit at his plight.

Or at least trying not to laugh and failing miserably.

Let’s face it, the superiority of love over toilets doesn’t need to be proven.

It’s just a fact.

Toilets can’t love you back.

They can’t keep you warm in bed.

And they can’t hug you when you’re feeling down.

They certainly can’t give you an orgasm.

At best they can make you feel all tingly inside, but that’s just a temporary side effect of poor blood circulation.

The point to my sister’s post (and I think this is key to the difference between us) is that I am an optimist and expect love to fall in my lap at some point in the future whereas my sister is a pessimist and has found other ways to keep herself happy.

I suppose when you’re a mobile nurse driving from home to home in the Nevada mountains, finding a toilet could feel similar to falling in love.

It could.

But it’s not.


What I know as the mother of all boys

IMG_8236I have two boys. My friend has two girls. Yet another friend has two girls and two boys.  I envy mothers of girls from time to time.

For my birthday I got a card from my “sensitive” son that was addressed to “Birth Giver.”

Yeah, I scowled at that one too.

Boys are so different from girls. In many ways I appreciate their simple cause-and-effect mentality, in other ways I can’t help but pull out my hair because they’re always going Going GOING.

Here are some things I’ve learned about having boys over the years:

Grocery bills are sky high. They eat and eat and eat. My 14 year old is 6’3” tall and weighs 140 pounds. I don’t know where it all goes but we go through a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread a day. It’s OUTRAGEOUS!

Rough play is par for the course. You think it’s fighting. And it usually degenerates into fighting. Boys are just very physical. I spent a lot of my boys’ childhoods breaking up fights. It’s like watching wrestling with the ones you love the most in this world.

No shirt? No pants? No problem. Boys just inherently are more apt to go naked. Nudity doesn’t bother them.

Bathroom humor is a regular thing. Oh sure, at first you try to correct it but then you give up and *hope* your boys don’t do it around grandma and grandpa. Or you’re a failure as a parent. Whatever you do, DON’T pull any fingers!!!

The bathroom always smells. It’s just a fact. And usually there is pee on the seat. I’ve tried my hardest to get my boys to lift the seat, wipe the seat, and flush but they stubbornly refuse. I’m reminded of every single toilet I ever encountered at frat parties in Isla Vista at UCSB my freshman year in college.

EVERYTHING can be a weapon. A butter knife. A towel. Even a Lego toy when aimed properly. I’ve told my boys to “put that down!” and “stop beating your brother with the remote control!”

So there you have it. My life in a nutshell with nothing but boys to keep me company. But you know what? Those remote control wielding, superhero play acting boys will melt your heart with their hugs, kisses, and snuggles making you so thankful to be the mother of boys.

Ash is MOOP

So I got this delightful tip from a Halcyon burner friend regarding using the toilets at Burning Man.

This sweet Indian woman recommended that you bring:

  • Clorox wipes to wipe the seat clean before using it
  • A ziploc bag to hold your Clorox wipe (nothing but pee, poo, and 1-ply toilet paper in the loo)
  • 1-ply toilet paper

And then she added a few extras:

  • A lighter
  • A stick of incense, to make it all more bearable

And it just stuck with me that yeah, I’d really like to burn a touch of incense in the toilet to cover up the stench of human feces sitting in a container in 100 degree heat for days on end.

Fast forward a few days and I’m showing Tejas my backpack.

He’s pulling out things, asking me what they’re for, and giving me feedback when he comes across the incense.

“What’s this for?” he asked.

I proudly told him the story about how I found out about using incense in the toilet.

“Looks like MOOP to me,” he says and I just about died.

The ash. It’s MOOP. It can’t go in the toilet. It can’t be left behind on the toilet. There’s nothing to do but collect that miniscule amount of ash and cart it home with me to throw it away.


If I ever wanted to roll my eyes at Burning Man, this would be the moment.

All this is to say that today I bought a tin pencil case. To collect my miniscule pile of ash so that I can fucking burn a piece of incense while I’m relieving myself sitting over a pile of steaming shit and piss in 100 degree weather.

Thank you Burning Man.

This tin’s for you.

Toilette etiquette

What is there to be said about the toilets at Burning Man except that they seem to be important enough to mention in all the Burning Man guides I’ve read?

Of course, using a port-o-potty in the Nevada desert for the week or so you’re there can be a big focus of your day. Especially when they start to get S-T-I-N-K-Y.

According to one burner, women should have a purse that they pack with the following items so that they can grab it and go when the need calls:

  1. Toilet paper – 1 ply RV TP, thank you very much
  2. Chlorox wipes – to clean the toilet seat BEFORE you sit down
  3. Ziploc baggie – to store the dirty chlorox wipe AFTER you use it because it can’t go in the port-o-potty
  4. Incense sticks – for when you’re going to be in there a while, or if the smell is REALLY nasty
  5. Lighter – to light the incense
  6. Hand sanitizer – obviously

I like her tip to bring incense and a lighter. It just may be the kindest thing you can do for yourself and the people who use the loo after you.

Of course I haven’t experienced playa port-o-potties and maybe there’s no saving you from them.

But there is this INGENIOUS device called Go Girl which, when used properly, allows a woman to pee standing up.

Clever. Clever.

I can see I’m going to have to practice my aim.

FYI, I’m bringing my own toilet to the playa with me to live inside my tent trailer and keep me company at night.

I’m not one to hoof it outside my tent at night when it’s cold to use a port-o-potty.

But I have bought a Go Girl and am looking forward to peeing standing up.

It’s on my list of what I’d do if I was a man for a day.


OMG Trish!  Thanks for sharing the Shenis with me.  It’s quite the impressive member and way less dainty than the Go Girl.  I can only imagine how inappropriate this would be on the playa to the delight of many.  For those of you who don’t know what a Shenis is, check out  [Warning:  Not necessarily work appropriate]