Friday, November 20, 2009

A lavatory story

It's not for the squeamish, I promise you that.

Noah just marched up to me and suggested I follow him to see something in the bathroom. That's never a good sign.

"It's in the toilet," he said.

"Is it gross?" I asked, mentally preparing myself for the worst. (Stupid question. Of course it's gross, it's toilet related. What was I thinking?)

And I walk into the bathroom to see a clogged toilet, a nest of toilet paper still piled high inside.

Now, over the years and through much experience I would go as far as to say I've become quite skilled in my toilet unclogging abilities, if I may boast. (And really, I must not have much to brag about if that's high enough on my list of special talents to even mention, so just give it to me this time, okay?)

If a toilet is clogged around here, it's usually my job to unclog it. (I'm guessing it's due to my unusual upper body strength. Or perhaps the fact that Nate is rarely around.)

In fact, I hadn't met a backed up toilet I couldn't unclog up until a few months back when we combined teenage scouts, a pizza party, and our little bathroom. It was a volatile mix I won't soon repeat.

Apparently one of the scouts wasn't feeling so hot when he arrived and quickly locked himself in the bathroom. He was in there for quite some time and after a while, a few of the other boys needed to use the bathroom and started knocking on the door.

And there was no answer.

More knocking from the other boys, along with a few jibes that only teenage boys can come up with. Still no response.

Then, from behind the still locked door came an odor so powerful it filled the hallway and wafted into the kitchen. After several more minutes and still no answer at the door, Nate and I began to worry a little. Was this kid okay? Was he still alive in there, or he blacked out from the overwhelming stench?

With the pizza almost gone and the party winding down, the boy finally crept out of the bathroom and sheepishly whispered to my husband that the toilet was clogged.

And, oh, was that toilet clogged!!

Apparently trying to spare himself some humiliation, this poor kid had taken it upon himself to unsuccessfully try to unplug the toilet on his own and had failed so miserably and in such a way that I could neither comprehend, nor explain what exactly happened in there. I walked into this bathroom to find several inches of sewage on the floor, muck in the tub and all over the toilet, and a spray of feculence on the wall and cabinet next to the toilet.


Now, being the mother of two boys who potty trained ridiculously late (that's right, kids, I'm publicly calling you out) as well as the owner of an 80 lb. dog, and for other reasons I should probably not go into great detail here, I feel I've dealt with more than what I'd consider my fair share of poop. But this bathroom calamity, despite my years of training, was so far beyond even my capabilities.

Where to even begin? There seemed no point in cleaning up the floor around the toilet until the toilet itself stopped spewing waste like a volcano. And yet, the floor around the toilet was such a vile wasteland of liquid poop, it was nearly impossible to even get to the toilet to unclog it without wading right into the middle of it. I panicked and considered the possibility of hiring a disaster clean up company, although I'm not sure even they could handle something of this magnitude.

But, we didn't call anyone, at first. Nate, who was beyond ticked, and mumbling about how much it was going to cost us to get a plumber out here, and wondering if our pipes were somehow damaged, went in and made his best efforts, but I think he was too scared of getting contaminated by the sludge to really put some muscle into it. Amateur!

I decided to take things into my own hands. Wielding my trusty plunger, I held my breath and went in for the kill. And that toilet, despite all my jostling, coaxing, and cursing, remained clogged.

Nate then decided to call in his trusty friend Jeff to help out. Truthfully, though, I don't think Jeff had any clue what he was getting himself into when he showed up with his own industrial plunger in hand. As soon as we opened the door, and the vile cloud that now filled the entire house was released outside onto the front porch, Jeff's nose wrinkled, and he immediately pulled up his shirt and covered his nose and mouth. Yes, it was that bad.

Jeff assessed the damage, used some colorful language himself, and then went to work. It took him a while, but he did it. Jeff, my hero, unclogged the toilet. And I told him, had he not been splashed with feces, I probably would have kissed him right there. Poor man.

And then the real work began, the scooping, the scrubbing, the bleaching, and sterilizing of that bathroom from the ceiling to the floor. It took hours.

And it still smelled.

For a long, long time.

And despite scrubbing myself raw in the shower that night trying to remove the microbes I could feel crawling all over my body, I still had the heebie jeebies for a few days just thinking about what we'd been through.

That's a delightful little story, isn't it?

Doesn't it make you want to come stay at my house?

So all this potty talk got me thinking about how easy it was back when I just had to change a diaper every couple of hours, and for the most part, all this excrement was fully contained. Why was that such a bad thing again?

Now, I'm constantly reminding my boys to flush and wash their hands and pay attention to where they pee. I spend time scrubbing the toilet and floor only to discover it needs to be redone an hour later, or sometimes before my cleaner even has a chance to dry. And no matter how much bleach or Lysol or Mr. Clean I use, I still can't seem to rid that bathroom of the telltale smell of misfiring little boys. We honestly figure we'll just have to remodel the entire bathroom one of these days to get rid of that smell.

And I have to wonder:

"Why on earth was I in such a hurry years ago to get my kids to use the toilet?!"

(Oh, and yes, we realize now we totally need to get a plumber's snake.)


rachelle said...

Ah man, that is NASTY!! Yeah, and now Jason gets to be the leader of those wonderful boys. AHHHHH!!! Watch out my toilet here they come! That was hilariously disgusting.

Ahlquist Family said...

OK seriously disgusting, but way funny. You crack me up! As I was reading, I could just hear you telling this story. Good luck, dude.

Holly said...

Girl, there will be more jewels in your crown for sure. . . .

Kara Brownell said...

Ya I only have one boy and I am always mumbling about the bath room smelling like pee and everytime the child uses the potty I have to plunge it! Seriously where does all that waste come from in such a tiny boy! grrr...

MamaBug said...

I so totally wouldn't laugh at your pain, if you weren't so funny! (Dare I say "stinking" funny after this post?)