RAMONA ON CORONA and A Royal Flush

A humor series on navigating this difficult time 

I’m sharing another installment of a humor series from my friend Pam Goldman, centering on a woman named Ramona, who tries to help… in her own way. If you’re new to this series: Here’s the previous installment.


The researchers, scientists, and doctors who unlocked the genetic code of Covid-19 are miracle workers. I would like to say THANK YOU and BRAVO on behalf of the world. Now a big Woo Hoo! to the FDA Advisory Panel for green-lighting the way to a vaccine. Finally, hope is on the horizon. 

Now, to the mundane…

K. has taken a lot of heat in this column. And he’s done it with grace. I will say his lapses in judgement have given me fodder each week; that no doubt will continue as he is unlikely to change his basic character in the coming months. I am indebted to him for a steady stream of lapses in judgement.

In spite of my poking fun at K. as a hoarder, there is no question his compulsion has amassed the largest inventory of underground toilet paper in history. We are up to the basement ceiling in paper products… toilet paper, paper towels (BOUNTY only) and paper napkins. Ditto gallons of Poland Spring Water, Arm and Hammer laundry detergent and Lysol Wipes. We also have enough paper plates, paper cups and plastic silverware to host a celebratory picnic for the country once everyone is vaccinated. 

K. is not the neatest person on the planet, but as far as the basement is concerned, he has found his inner Marie Kondo (the neat freak lady), creating supermarket aisles (Number 7 is paper goods) and showcasing Buy One/Get One Free ‘specials.’ He is now using Zip Recruiter to interview applicants for a cashier position. He said I need not apply as I have ‘connections.’

Did I tell you our upstairs toilet is temperamental? Pre-Covid, a weekend guest flushed it three times and sent water overflowing like Niagra Falls from the bowl straight through the ceiling above our dining room table. It happened again under our watch and before spending money for a new toilet K. suggested buying me a toilet snake to DIY-R (Do It Yourself-Ramona). 

Pete the Plumber had used this tool many times at $60 a pop and K. saw no reason why I couldn’t deploy my plumbing skills given the proper tool. I did not think this was the worst idea K. has ever had but it comes close. 

I Googled ‘How to Snake a Toilet.’ Home Depot informed me that a toilet snake has a less threatening name, a toilet auger. You feed the end of the auger into the toilet, taking care not to scratch the bowl and crank the handle clockwise to push the auger until you can grab the obstruction (grandchild’s toy metal truck) or you can just break up the obstruction so it can be flushed down the toilet (grandchild will need a mild sedative). 

If the toilet is overflowing it is best to remove the lid of the toilet tank, close the toilet flapper (Why do I hate that term?), or turn off the water supply at the shut-off valve. You probably don’t know where it is but now is the time to abandon the flood area to call a plumber and find out. Don’t forget to place not-your-best-towels or the Sunday New York Times on the floor around the toilet to absorb the rising tide.

I read the above instructions and followed none of them. Instead I called Pete the Plumber. He removed the pain in the ass toilet, hauled it downstairs and put it in his truck. Next he hauled a top of the line Kohler Santa Rosa Comfort Height Single Flush Compact Elongated Toilet with AquaPiston Flush in White, seat included, upstairs. I couldn’t wait to see its flapper. 

K. and I were fighting over who would inaugurate the new throne when Pete chimed in “No one is to use this toilet for 4 hours. It must settle into its base.” 

In spite of the $447 cost, we were pumped.

Still buoyed by the morning’s excitement we kept the adrenaline going by taking our usual Sunday afternoon drive even though it was Thursday. It’s been our habit during the last few Sundays to scope out hospitals’ EMERGENCY entrances within a twenty-five mile radius from our home. We do these dry runs so we won’t lose valuable time screaming at each other or at our GPS should we screw up during a real emergency. We keep our eyes and ears open for ambulance sirens so we can caravan behind them to make things easier; if stopped by a policeman, we pretend we’re relatives of the person on the gurney ahead of us. 

You may think this is wacky, but it’s more uplifting than watching the Sunday news shows. 

Speaking of news… I wish the current President would join the real world. Now that would be news worth giving up ambulance chasing.