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Comedian Mary Walsh tackles raised toilet seats, laundry in house training app

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A screen shot of the "The House Trainer" app is shown in this undated handout photo. Are raised toilet seats, overflowing garbage bins and dirty dishes getting you down? Actress and comedian Mary Walsh stars in a new app for that, "The House Trainer," launched Tuesday in St. John's, N.L. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ HO, Geriatric Technology of St. John‚��s, N.L.

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - Are raised toilet seats, overflowing garbage bins and dirty dishes getting you down?

Actress and comedian Mary Walsh stars in a new app for that, "The House Trainer," launched Tuesday in St. John's, N.L.

Walsh said her satirical character, Rose O'Brien — who sports a head band and running shoes paired with a lady's power suit — offers helpful tips in 16 instructional videos.

Her "exercises" in the bedroom and bathroom include tossing laundry in a hamper and, yes, lowering the toilet seat.

"It has two settings: up and down!" she bellows into the camera after repeatedly lifting and replacing the seat while doing a kind of sit-up.

"Potty presses may be your only hope," she tells men who have not responded to years of cajoling, begging or nagging on this point.

Walsh is well-known for her theatre, film and television work on such shows as "This Hour Has 22 Minutes" and "CODCO." She said Rose O'Brien is a blend of herself and her character Marg Delahunty, famed for her ambush interviews with politicians of all stripes.

"Rose sees unfairness and she wants to speak out against it and make change," Walsh said in an interview Tuesday.

"I've always been in a bit of a red rage about how unfair things are."

Walsh in particular referred to how little the division of household labour has really changed.

"A surprising number of women are bringing home most of the bacon but they are still charged with bringing up the children, doing the laundry and whatever other chores need to be done."

Walsh agrees there are exceptions, including in her own St. John's home.

"I have to say my husband is really carrying too much of the burden of the household tasks at this point in terms of getting the food, cooking the food and cleaning up after," she said. "I've just been sick so he has been really, really good."

Ane Christensen, CEO of Geriatric Technology which designed the app, said it's meant to be a funny way of discussing the ingrained habits that drive women nuts.

"They thought it was hilarious," she said of the men in her life who previewed segments. "And they understood: we're not picking on them. It's just a comic way to bring attention to the little things that could be better in our lives."

Christensen said phase two of the project includes plans for an app that will help men rid women of their most grating traits.

Her business partner at the St. John's-based company, Joe Coffey, said "The House Trainer" strikes a balance between entertainment and truth. It also allows users to build custom programs for sharing with those who need them most.

"I have definitely left the toilet seat up," Coffey said. "I think every man would self-assess and agree that they could be doing better."

Four videos in each of the bedroom and bathroom categories can be downloaded for free while two other categories for kitchen and general etiquette are 99 cents each from the Apple App Store for iPhone or iPad.

Follow @suebailey on Twitter.

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