Tag Archives: Toilet

The Ultimate Throw Up Story

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If the title wasn’t enough of a spoiler alert for you, I caution those with weak stomaches to… not become a mother.  This is a true story.  None of the names have been changed to protect the guilty.  Nothing has been exaggerated, though time has been slowed down so that we can fully appreciate the gory details in word form.  I repeat:  this is a true story.

This last weekend I played a role that I am not very good at playing… I was a nurse for my sick husband.  I admit that I am generally very unsympathetic to his complaints because I hold the ultimate trump card- Child Birth.  Once you’ve given birth to a baby, no complaint of pain can actually compare.  And I’ve given birth 3 times.  So I sort of feel like slapping anyone who whimpers or whines about a tummy ache.  I’m not a good nurse.

But apparently he really was sick because he did not make it to the toilet the first time he projectile vomited from the bathroom door in the direction of the commode.  I had already warned him that as soon as he was finished defiling the toilet that he would be required to scrub it out too.  But that threat had yet to come to fruition.  I was very self-serving in my motivation to actually clean the bathroom myself.  I needed to go potty and I didn’t want to do my business in a vat of puke.  So I relented and began washing down the walls of the bathroom.

As I contorted and twisted to reach behind the toilet… yes it was necessary… I tried to remember the last time I had cleaned back there.  Then I remembered.  Oh and I wish I could forget the night of the great “Barf-O-Rama”.

I heard the wretching all the way from my bedroom.  I had been in a dead sleep, but suddenly I was electrified with adrenaline, on my feet and running into my children’s bedroom hollering “NOOOOOOO!”  But I was too late.  The little one had just coughed and barfed on her own pillow and mattress.  Ugh.  I hate stripping the beds in the middle of the night.  Figuring that she was probably empty, I moved Lucy into her sister’s bed so I could clean her bed.

I had just returned from the laundry room downstairs when I heard it again, that juicy, choking cough that had produced the first bed shellacking.  “OH NO!  Not on your sister!”  I mentally gasped as I sprinted up the last few steps.  I entered the room in time to see Lucy sit up and turn toward the far side of the bed and once again yak… in her sister’s bed, down the wall and onto the floor.  I couldn’t believe it!  Two beds ruined in one night!

At this point, the odor in the house was putrid.  As I considered how many candles I could safely light, I moved Emma onto the couch in my room.  And because I didn’t know what else to do with Lucy, I stupidly put her into my own bed just while I stripped the second bed.  We now officially had no extra blankets clean.

As I was scrubbing the mattresses in the girls’ room, I heard it again… that horrible hacking cough.  This time, I thought, I’m going to get her into the bathroom or at least onto the tile floor before she throws up.  I ran at full speed into my bedroom, catapulting over the pile of dirty bedding in the hallway.  As I slid stocking foot up to my side of the bed, Lucy sat up and reached for me… still gagging.  I actually shouted, “NOOOOOOOOO!”  in the very same moment that I received a face full of projectile vomit… and it went right into my O shaped mouth!

I spun around on my heel and ran to the bathroom, but I didn’t make it.  I threw up on myself as I crossed the threshold of the shower.  Since I was now covered with two forms of puke, I decided to just turn the shower on and start cleaning myself while fully clothed.  I just couldn’t bring myself to pull a dirty t-shirt over my head.  I stood in the shower crying while Lucy sat in her puddle of vomit on my bed also crying.  My husband woke up at this point… yeah, just now… and surveyed the shock-and-awe with horror in his eyes.  “What do you want me to do?” he meekly asked.  I didn’t even know where to begin.

So this was the last time that I had to actually stick my hand behind the toilet to clean back there.  I am thankful that those moments don’t come around very often.  If they did, I would definitely consider going on strike and demanding more money for this job.  Motherhood is not for the weak stomached nor for the heavy sleepers… that job is called Fatherhood.

The best 50 bucks I ever spent

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We have “stinky sewer days” here in Latin America.  Somedays the wind is blowing just right (or wrong) and we get toxic fumes wafting into the house.  On those days, we have to close all the drains and bathroom doors and windows.  The stink just seems to come from everywhere!

But recently we developed a worse problem at our house.  One day I was doing the dishes when it seemed like someone threw a stink bomb right in the middle of our house!  It was the worst stink I’ve ever experienced.  Describing it as a combination of vomit and poop would seem too organically generous.  This was the incarnate of putrescence.  The odor was evil itself!  We shut all the drains, windows and doors… then we were trapped inside with the hellish aroma.  Where was it coming from??  I wondered.

After a while the fumes cleared, and then rose up again, and cleared and returned… I couldn’t find the source of the stink.  Of course my husband has been gone all week long, so I couldn’t confer with him about the plausible sources of the odor nor the potential solutions to our problem.  So instead I bought a few new air fresheners to tide us over until Monday when we could call a plumber.

Just on the off chance that someone had some experience with wicked stenches, we asked one of our friends for advice.  Being very experienced with the mundane requirements of living in Latin America, our friend asked us if we had cleaned out the grease traps lately.  The what??  The grease traps.  Apparently there is a cement box out in the yard a few feet from the house that contains a trap.  We knew where the box was since we sort of ignored it every time we worked in the yard.  So this trap is supposed to keep RATS from coming up the sewer into your house.  Supposedly it also helps cut down on the stinky sewer days… I’m not sure how.  This is why you can not flush the toilet paper in Latin America.  I gunks up the traps.

Our friend told us that every 6 months you are supposed to open the box and scoop out the poop and food and toilet paper stuck in there!  I screamed, “NOOOOOOOOOO!” when he told us that.  We have lived in this house for over 2 years and we’ve never cleaned the poop out of the grease traps.  No wonder the sewer was smelling badly!  I thought, “Oh dear Lord, please say this is a job that we can PAY someone to do.”  Otherwise it would be the worst Barf-O-Rama we’ve ever experienced.

So yesterday at 10am, a very unfortunate plumber was made $50 richer and I am an incredibly happy girl with clean grease traps.  Good bye $50, I have never been so happy part with you before.  And good bye stinky sewer smell.

No Water

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Every few months we have a weekend with no water.  The city shuts down the water to do repairs on the water pipes and we are all left high and dry.  In our house, we don’t have a reserve water tank on the roof like some houses do.  (We had one in Mexico, but we don’t have one here in Costa Rica.)  So we have to plan ahead.  We always keep about 3 or 4 water jugs on hand for drinking water.

But before the water goes dry, we fill up as many buckets and receptacles as we can find.  We fill up a few Action Packers for sponge baths for the kids, then that water is used to fill up the toilets for flushing.  I keep a bucket of water down on the floor by the kitchen sink for the kids to use for hand washing during our dry spell.  And I usually keep a bowl of water in the sink for washing a few dishes- but this is a good excuse to use disposable plates for a few meals.

During our water outages, I try to think creatively and not waste any water.  I think about the next few steps to recycle the “grey water”.  So this last weekend when the water was out and I was trying to conserve it, I was washing a few dishes in a large bowl of soapy water.  When I was done washing, I pondered my options for using the dirty, soapy water.  My first idea was to use it to fill up a toilet.  But then I imagined soap suds pouring out of my toilet bowl like some deranged I Love Lucy episode.  In the end I decided if that happened at least I wouldn’t have to scrub the toilet this week.  Into the toilet it went.

You never realize how much you use water until it’s not available.  I’m a chronic hand washer, and when the water is out I can easily go through a package of wet wipes in a weekend!  The most challenging things are cooking and brushing teeth.  It’s like camping in your own house.  It makes me thankful that we  DO have it most of the time.  It makes me think about the places in the world where the people go to communal wells or water holes to collect their water for the day.  (It makes me thirsty just thinking about it!)  I’m thankful that I’m only inconvenienced for a short while and that normally I have access to water.  So thankful!

Lucy was here, better call FEMA

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Lucy, my 5 year old, is a living tornado.  If you want it broken, for insurance purposes, just put it into her hands and you’ll have a perfectly good claim in under 3 minutes.  She is easily the most destructive child I’ve ever known.  I’ve known puppies that cause less destruction than this mischevious child.  For example, I’m on my second lap top since she poured a cup of water on my first one.  So I should know better than to leave her alone for any period of time.  But today I had a lapse in parenting.  I got side tracked doing something upstairs and left her alone in the living room watching a video.  I should have known better.  She can not be trusted.

An hour later when I came downstairs, our tile floor was a swimming pool.  There was standing water on the coffee table, a wet spot on the couch, a soaking wet towel covering the foot stool, and a puddle that spanned from the living room to the dinning room and into the kitchen.  I followed a set of dirty foot prints into the half bath just off the living room and I think I found the source of all the water.  This weekend our water was shut off for pipe repairs.  So I had strategically placed buckets of water next to the toilets for flushing purposes.

Our water had come back on yesterday afternoon, but I had forgotten to empty the bucket in the half bath.  Now I’m no forensics expert, but I have played Clue, so here’s how I think the crime scene could be reconstructed.  Lucy is watching a video and absent-mindedly colors on the couch with the capless, brown marker in her hand.  Knowing this will make Mommy very angry, she goes into the kitchen and takes the towel from it’s place by the sink.  She’s too short to reach the sink, but she knows where there is a bucket of water placed at her height… in the half bath.  She proceeds to dip the towel into the water and carry it dripping, no soaking wet, to the couch.  She sponges the marker spot on the couch.  She still has enough water on the towel so she decides to clean the whole coffee table, after all, it’s sticky too.

She takes the still dripping towel back into the kitchen where she gets side tracked.  Her 5 year old attention span zeros in on the refrigerator.  She knows there is a bag of chocolate chips in the freezer and she thinks it’s about time for a snack after all that hard work.  The clip is off of the bag because she’s already been into it today, so she carries the bag upside down to the coffee table, spilling crumbs of chocolate chips all over the floor.  The crumbs look suspiciously like mouse poop, but there’s just too much of it to be anything but a mushy mess in the puddle which now covers 2/3 of the floor.  She goes to get the broom and dust pan from the laundry room.  She quickly gives up on that plan and abandons them in the kitchen.

Looking around, she spots some purple tissue paper on the dinning room table.  Maybe that could work like paper towels!  She carries the tissue paper to the wet spot on the couch and proceeds to rip it in two.  Well, that was fun!  She decides to rip another piece.  She continues ripping the purple tissue paper into soggy shreds that bleed onto the couch and the white tile floor.  And at this point I take notice of the dangerous silence in the house and come downstairs.  I gasp!  I shout!  I spank!  I don’t know where to begin cleaning this disaster.  I should call FEMA.

Feeling the full weight of shock and awe, I try to reconstruct the crime- Lucy with the towel in the half bath.   I think about the time when she was a toddler, she dipped a wash cloth in the toilet and sucked the water off of it.  I am thankful that this PROBABLY isn’t toilet water… at least I think it’s not.  I pray it’s not.  I check the level of the water in the toilet bowl and mentally measure the amount of water on the floor.  Nope, not toilet water.

During the next half hour of cleaning the mess my emotions swing wildly between being angry that I have to clean my floors again after I literally just did them twice yesterday AND being thankful that tile floors are waaaaay easier to clean than carpet.  So is the glass half full or half empty?  I don’t know, but I think that half of it has spilled on my floor.

My child in motion… constantly.