Don’t you hate it when you don’t know what you’re making for dinner?
I guess it all started when the toilet got clogged just before it was time to pick up Colum from the school bus. I didn’t have time to plunge it right away so I just left it. Sometimes you need to let it sit for a while anyway, y’know? And then it will flush.
So I got the girls bundled up and we picked up Colum and made our way back home through some frigid pre-spring arctic wind. Irene broke her own personal record by screaming and crying the entire way home, while I pulled her along by the arm and called out, “Come on, Colum! Come on, Colum! Come on, Colum!” every 30 seconds. Mary was strapped to my chest in a carrier and had wiggled free of her mittens, her little baby popsicle fists completely out of my sight.
We finally made it home, I threw some snacks at the kids and snuck back downstairs to my
dungeon disaster of a home office to follow up with a couple emails. When I came back upstairs, I sent Colum to his room to do his homework, told Irene to do find something other than TV to do and went into the kitchen to figure out dinner.
Mary followed me, dragging an unopened box of diapers up to the kitchen island to serve as step stool. I peered into the fridge, the freezer and the pantry, trying to figure out what I could turn into a meal. We were flipping through a cookbook looking for inspiration, darling Mary atop her makeshift stool, when she yelped. She held her hands out toward me and we both looked up.
Water was dripping from the ceiling onto the island. By the time I scooped Mary up, it was streaming down. I bolted upstairs, toddler in arm, to see what was going on. Oh no. The toilet.
“Colum, did you just flush the toilet?”
“Did you notice if it was overflowing?”
“No, I didn’t see.”
The toilet was running when I got there and the entire floor flooded. I dropped Mary into her crib and ran in to stop the toilet, plunge it and start throwing towels down to sop up the water. Now, I’m a lousy housekeeper, I know that, but there are two things I am fastidious about. One is raw chicken and the other is fecal matter.
It’s fair to say I was freaking the hell out. I kept stopping to wash my hands because, what? Were ten shit-free seconds going to somehow make me less up to my elbows in crap-filled toilet water? I was also incredibly upset about my socks and jeans getting wet, the ones I had just pulled out of the dryer a couple hours before. (My take home lesson this month, apparently, is never do any laundry, ever, because fate is out to get you.) Don’t even get me started about having to use bath towels to take up the water. Oh god.
And then, my dear friends, I went down to the kitchen.
Water was still dripping from the ceiling onto the island and the loaf of bread, bowl of nuts, cookbook, assorted dishes and toys sitting on it. It was dripping into the sink and onto the clean dishes in the dish rack. It was dripping all over Mary’s highchair and onto the floor and collecting in large brown pools. It was a derisive dripping, mocking my feeble attempt to catch it all in a single bucket. I was going to need more towels.
I ran around collecting towels and yelling at the kids to please just go and entertain your baby sister, don’t you hear her screaming, what’s wrong with you?! I started to come up with a plan. Burning down the house, upon more careful consideration, seemed a bit extreme. I would dry up all the water first with bath towels; it was nothing an extra-scalding hot, super-ultra wash cycle couldn’t take care of. This is why god invented bleach. That’s right, hippies, I said bleach.
I then moved all the dishes from the island to the sink because everything that could fit was going to have to go through the dishwasher on a sanitize cycle. I threw out the bread and nuts and any paper product that had been exposed. If I could just get the two floors washed, the kitchen and the bathroom, then I could properly clean the island and the counter and the sink and every other item that had been sitting out after bedtime. It was around then I thought to send Ed a frenzied message about poo water gushing into the kitchen. Because the only thing worse than seeing it happen might be imagining it.
I was on my hands and knees with a bucket of scalding soap and bleach water scrubbing the hell out of my floor while Mary screamed her poor little heart out in her crib because the other two had found their way down to the playroom. How did this even happen?? I’m no house-building expert, but I couldn’t help but think that a bathroom floor should be able to contain some amount of water without it instantly seeping into the room below. Irene had left a tap running a few months earlier and there was a bit of dripping from the spill over, but this was ridiculous. The bathroom’s probably a gut job, new subfloor and everything. And the kitchen ceiling too maybe.
The good news is that we’ve been wanting to redo that bathroom but haven’t had the time or money to do it yet. So … at least we don’t have to tear up new tile, right? Yay? The bad news is OUR MAIN BATHROOM IS A GUT JOB and we don’t have the money to do anything about it. Yes, this is the interior monologue you want to have while you are scrubbing human fecal matter off your kitchen floor while your baby wails inconsolably upstairs. Shit, what would Gwyneth do?
Silver lining! At least all the surfaces in my kitchen can be cleaned! At least the bathroom flood wasn’t into the living room, spewing literal crap loads all over my upholstered furniture, carpet, drapery and basket of stuffed animals. Really, I was lucky.
I finally finished the kitchen floor and went up to disinfect the bathroom which is at least in, “There, there,” range of Mary’s crib. Once all the floors were cleaned and all possible contaminants contained in their special quarters I was able to finally pick up my baby and calm her down. We’d go out for fast food for dinner, I’d get to the rest later, everything would be all right.
That’s when a giant ball of poo rolled out of Mary’s pant leg and onto the carpet. Right, I was about to open that box of diapers she was standing on to look at cookbooks, wasn’t I?