The Hallow of Hell
For 16 years we were a one bathroom house. For 16 years, I was the sole woman trying to pee amongst three men with the bathroom couth of a drunken gorilla. In order to well…do my business in a lady like fashion I would perform a necessary ritual before sitting um…on the throne so to speak.
I’d first take out a box of Lysol wipes. Standing with my feet shoulder width apart, I’d straddle the front of the bowl and bend over at the waist. Lysol wipe in hand, I’d clean the floor in the front and the side of the bowl searching for stray drippy-drop marks since inexplicably it seemed that boys…or perhaps just the boys in my house…don’t use toilet paper after going number one—as the kiddies all like to say.
As soon as the floor was safely germ free, I’d grab another Lysol Wipe and swipe along the back of the toilet where the cover stood erect. Evidence of a poorly aimed stream would be erased away with a few swishes here and few swishes there.
Despite the lemon-scented antibacterial wipe-down, I would still instinctively plug my nose while I—well–did what one does in the bathroom in order to spare myself from the overwhelming and seemingly inerasable gas station restroom smell that always seemed to originate somewhere to my right, probably coming from the shower curtain that nearly touches the toilet due to the miniscule bathroom that with which the builders of our home blessed us.
When I became pregnant with my daughter Ila it was infinitely clear that we needed more room in our teeny tiny Goldilocks house. So as mentioned in previous posts, we refinished the basement into a sort of teen apartment/palace for Aidan, changed the kitchen around so that it was more accessible and made a-brand-spankin-new-extra-bathroom out of a closet that was off of the mud room.
To say that I was giddy when THAT room was completed was an understatement. I had visions of pink perfumes and make up brushes littering the sink and filling the drawers of the original bathroom. I even got up the nerve to call the once shared room “The Ladies Room.” That’s right, after years of the gross wet feeling on the back of my thighs due to a momentary lapse in my “checking” radar…and falling into the toilet in the middle of the night because the seat was left up…I decided to make a claim that I would for once in my life as mom have a space of my own.
Alas, two years later…heck two WEEKS later, my husband had moved back into “our” bathroom and the “Ladies Room” was no more. Why you ask? Well it turns out that even my husband has standards. It also turns out that without my methodical daily bathroom cleaning, a place where three males do their manly thing can become a certifiable health hazard in a NY minute! That bathroom…is the meaning of disgusting. I mean it. Look up that word in Webster’s and I guarantee that you’ll see a picture of our little closet bathroom. And I tried to keep up…really I did. But what is that saying??? Oh yeah…out of sight-out of mind. And I am telling you, if I waited more than three days the state of that commode and the floor around it was untouchable—vomit worthy. Absolutely retching. The heart condition and my constant fatigue has made it so I gave up the job and instead leave it to Aidan the main resident of the bathroom to clean it once a week, sometimes even every two weeks…and well…I am sure you know how well THAT goes. Clean is never a word I’d label that bathroom since the job became his.
I have debated if it is even appropriate to describe the room. It would probably send you reeling away from this website and so…I truly struggled. But then the toilet broke in there this weekend and well it was just too unbelievable NOT to put in a column about raising boys.
It started innocently enough. Cleaning up the mud room, I heard a shooshing sound. I pulled my sleeve over my hand (in order to not contract some mysterious disease that comes from well…bodily stuff) and opened the door to hell. The toilet, plugged with paper and poop and putridity was running as if it had just been flushed although that was impossible as both boys were miles away from the wretched room. I pulled two grocery bags over my hands, put on my oldest pair of beat up sneakers and tentatively walked in to lift the top off the tank in the back in order to investigate. The smell in the closed space (no windows mind you) was enough to knock me over and I fled like a scared little girl. I decided that this was a job for my husband (even though I am usually Mrs. Fix-it due in part that my hubby is no “Mr. Fix-it.” Heck…he’s not even “Mr.-I-Know-Where-the-Hammer-Is.” Bad things typically happen when he attempts a fix or two…but I made an exception in this case. I shouldn’t have.
Within two minutes of him entering the hell-hollow, I heard a crack, a cuss word and the distinct sound of a shower running. He turned on the shower? Why would he….wait….I sprinted to the abominate antechamber only to see water shooting from the tank straight up into the air as well as the toilet waterfalling over the seat quickly creating a fecal-filled-flooded-floor that hubby was standing in ankle high. Luckily…”Mr.-What’s-A-Wrench-for?” knew where the shut off valve was, and actually understood the nature of the problem. While he removed the part and traveled to the local hardware store to get the advice of a professional, I soothed myself by wrapping my arms around my mid-section and rocking back and forth at the edge of my bed at the other end of the house. I listened from there, hearing an occasionally heavy sigh and some clunks here and there, and finally feet coming down the hall.
“It’s all done.” Husband exclaimed proudly. “But I left the clean up for you. I am taking a shower. I feel disgusting.” Dressed in a hazmat suit, I prepared myself for what I was about to face in the bathroom at the end of our house. Mopping up not only the bathroom floor, but the house in its entirety due to the fact that the “handy man” forgot to take off the shoes he wore while playing the role of plumber before going to the original bathroom to shower, I began to dream of the “good ol’ days” when our house had just one bathroom. One-clean-bathroom.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Logan has lived in Glens Falls, NY all her life. By day, she is an educator with 20 years experience, a mom to Aidan and Gannan, her two teenage boys, a new mommy to a beautiful daughter, Ila, and wife to the love of her life, Jeffrey. By night, weekends and any spare time she can find, Logan writes. She loves memoir and also adores writing essays about the challenges of parenthood. This year she started a parenting blog called A Muddled Mother, an honest place where mothers aren’t afraid to speak of the complications and difficulties that we all inevitably experience. Logan has been published in various children’s and parenting magazines including Today’s Motherhood, Eye on Education, Faces, and Appleseed.
[Photo credit: (ccl) slworking2]