Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Not the Superpower I'd Choose, but it's the Only One I've Got.

On Sunday afternoon I cleaned the bathroom on the main floor. This rare occasion of me getting down on my hands and knees to actually scrub the tub was due to the fact that Yousuf's parents were going to arrive any stinkin' minute, and OF COURSE I had left cleaning the bathroom to the absolute last second because remember it's my most favorite thing to do ever.

I had grumbled and puttered around and put it off until it was obvious that the rest of the house was at Level 4 Cleanliness, and that the bathroom remained as a black hole of disgusting gunge. So about twenty minutes before The Parents were due to arrive, you would have found me with my face two inches from the toilet bowl, scrubbing like my life depended on it.

I finished up and stood back to admire my work. Every surface was so clean that I could see my reflection - a greasy, sweaty, stinky me - everywhere. The toilet bowl in particular was immaculate. You could not only eat off of it, but you could have made out with it and come away feeling even fresher than when you had started. I may hate cleaning the bathroom but once I decide to go ahead and actually do it, I kick it's porcelain hiney.

At that moment, it started to rain - we've been having on and off thunderstorms for the past couple of days, so I thought that this was no big deal. OH HOW WRONG I WAS.

This was no ordinary rain. It wasn't even ordinary heavy rain. This was legendary, biblical, forty days and forty nights type of rain, all in under half an hour. One moment we had sunshine and the next it looked like the middle of the night. The skies blackened and unloaded a torrent of rain, in sheets that were coming at the house sideways. I could barely see out the window but I could hear thunder, never-ending, all around us. The house was shaking with the force of the deluge.

I peeked out the window and could barely see our van pull into the driveway - Yousuf had gone out with Inara to run some last-minute (see? I'm not the only one leaving things to the last minute!) errands, and as he did I noticed that the road was full of water. Not only that, but it had risen so high that it was pooling at the bottom of our driveway...and steadily creeping up towards the house. Ruh-roh.

Yousuf and Inara got soaked to the bone just running into the house, and poor Inara was shivering as she took off her shoes by the back door, so I ran upstairs and snuck past a napping Nissa's room to grab her some dry clothes. When I got back downstairs, Yousuf was in the basement putting away his purchases and Inara stood, huddled in the kitchen.

That is when I heard...it. As I came down the steps I heard a deep rumbling outside (thunder) and then a strange hissing sound coming from somewhere even closer. I walked towards the kitchen where Inara was waiting and I started smelling something really off. This is going to sound so mean, but my first thought was that it was Inara. Like maybe she had stepped in some icky water and had brought the stench of urban sewer back into the house. I know - I'm terrible, even more so because the smell wasn't even coming from her.

I started toweling her off while apologizing to her, which she thought was really weird. But that's when I heard the hissing get louder, and louder...you know when your toilet won't stop running? It was kind of like that, but much more forceful - and it wasn't coming from the bathroom. It was coming from the house itself. And the smell, my god. It was awful. I thought that perhaps the new bathroom cleaner I had used had a really horrible perfume additive that somehow reacted with my bathroom to smell like well, human waste. I made a mental note not to ever buy it again as I helped Inara get changed. Then I walked around the house trying to puzzle out where the smell was coming from -  sniffing, deeply inhaling, and gagging.

Meanwhile the sound of water rushing got louder and louder, the thunder outside got more frenzied, the skies got darker - and everything came to a head as I realized that the smell was coming from inside the bathroom itself.  I creaked open the bathroom door and at that very moment there was a huge BAM! and from deep within the bowels (oh yes, I said bowels) of the basement I heard Yousuf screaming, "HOLY MOTHER! WHAT THE OH MY AHHHHHHH!"

Or something to that effect.

I would have gone down to see what on earth could have caused him to yell, but I had far more pressing matters of my own to deal with. I walked into the bathroom, determined to find the source of that god awful smell and took one step into the bathroom, nostrils flared, wild eyes darting around looking for any clues.

I found nothing.

So I took another step, deeper into the bathroom and checked the sink...


Another step, over to the tub - at this point the stank was unbearable. It smelled like a hundred people had just used my bathroom as a recovery station after having the world's spiciest curry. I took a step over to the tub and my foot came down, right in front of the toilet spluck into a puddle of light brown liquid.

Oh. My. God.

I didn't even want to know where it was coming from. I just looked back at the tub. And then I screamed. Inara came running. I screamed again - this time to tell her to GET AWAY FROM THE BATHROOM GO FIND DADDY NOW.

To which she replied, "but I can't Mama! He's stuck in the basement and he's standing in a puddle of POOP!"


Apparently (and according to my friend Liz - I had no idea that a lawyer knew so much about city infrastructure!) the storm had come in so hard that it not only flooded the road right outside our driveway, but it also backed up the main sewer line...right into our house.

Not only that, but the loud bang that I heard was sewage, gushing out into our basement with such force that it also went up the pipes all the way to the toilet on the main level, spewing out from underneath the CLOSED LID of the toilet and splattering allllllll over the entire bathroom.

Right where I was standing.

And right where I had JUST spent the better half of an hour cleaning everything to a brilliant shine.

And remember, my in-laws were supposed to arrive AT ANY MINUTE.

If this sounds at all familiar, it's because not even three months ago, I blew up the septic tank at my brother's house after I had some rather erm, unfortunate side effects to my mom's ice cream birthday cake. It seems as if sewer lines and me...well, we just don't really get along. I could not believe this was happening AGAIN.

As Yousuf poured buckets of water and bleach on the sludge in the basement (it wasn't a huge amount, thank goodness) to send the yuck down the drain, I had to decide how to clean the mess in the bathroom. I didn't want to use any of my regular cleaning towels, in fact I didn't want to do anything - I just wanted it to magically disappear and have my bathroom back to it's shimmering self pronto. I ended up grabbing two rolls of paper towel, the bathroom cleaner (again), and just for good measure I sent Inara down into the basement to wrench the bleach out of Yousuf's hands ("But Mama needs it MORE than you, Daddy." Atta girl.)

Of course, right in the middle of me cleaning the bathroom from top to bottom for THE SECOND TIME (a pox on you, nature!) was when Nissa woke up from her nap - screaming because the thunder outside had frightened her. I was wet from the knees down and had no good way to get to her, so I threw a few choice curses at nature for screwing up every single good thing in my life. Like napping babies and clean bathrooms. I did the best I could to disinfect myself before I ran up to get to her - but luckily Yousuf got there first (he wasn't nearly as disgusting as I was).

I made it to her room just as Yousuf lifted her out of the crib, and she was spitting mad, sharing my anger at nature for ruining her precious sleep. As she cried out she took a great big gulp of air and stopped mid-wail, gasping. She wrenched her head around in the dark, looking for me and when she found me she narrowed her eyes in  my general direction and yelled angrily, "AHHHHH! MAMA YOU SMELLIN' LIKE  A STINKY POOPIE!!"

Why yes, dear. Yes I am. How kind of you to notice.

Later on, after all the disgustingness was cleaned up, and I had taken the longest shower of my life, scrubbing every pore on my body to get out the lingering traces of Eau De Toilet, my sister in-law called to find out if we had survived. I told her everything that had happened and wouldn't you know it, but the little stinker - she LAUGHED AT ME.

"That SO figures!", she said over the phone, snickering.

"What? WHAT figures?"

"It just figures that if there was an explosion involving sewage, that YOU were involved in it somehow." Guffaw guffaw guffaw.
"Yeah well, I think it might be my new superpower, Becky. I have the power to make toilets explode with the sheer force OF MY MIND. Oh, you're laughing now, but just wait until I come and visit you. I suggest you keep a cleanup crew on speed dial. Now stop laughing."

That's when Yousuf picked up the phone to commiserate with his sister, and they both decided that somehow I was responsible for the whole event. As if I somehow communed with nature to make our sewer line back up. Yousuf even said, "I wonder if this whole thing was caused by SOMEONE going the bathroom first." Guffaw guffaw guffaw.

As if my turds have super explosionaray powers.

I vehemently denied it, of course. That's just impossible, not to mentioned far-fetched and if it were true then the army should totally harness the powers of my ass. It's a deadly weapon.

I let them laugh it up, at my expense - because we all knew it wasn't true.

(But what I didn't tell them was that I peed in that bathroom about two seconds before it exploded.)

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