Trigger Warnings: First, there are some swear words in this entry. You may have gathered that from the title. Second, yes, I do see it – I often write about body things. We all have them. Third, shrug. Finally, it’s been a bit of a rocky week here within our house and, therefore, I didn’t have the emotional energy to post what was actually being prepped this week. Instead…a book update/excerpt. Yes, the book is still plugging along and I decided months ago that between the ‘serious’ chapters, I’d throw in, what I call, Moments of Hilarity directly from our home. I think I’ve got about eight written at the moment – only three are about poop. Did I say only? It does seem like a lot. This is one of those three.
Things that come out of people are not my favorite thing.
Top of the list is a tie between bowel items and vomit.
I get it, everybody does it, I just don’t want to be a part of other peoples’ orifice situations and I really don’t care for other people to be interested in mine. I’m the girl who waited all day at school to use my home bathroom. I’m the girl who cannot perform beyond a number one if there is someone else in a public bathroom – and sometimes, I cannot perform a number one either. Actually, if I’m having any kind of emotional anything, I can’t pee. I get so annoyed when arguing with my husband on a full bladder as I know that, until he realizes I’m right, I will have to think about puppies and kittens in order to release the pressure. I spent the first half year of our relationship clenching my cheeks together, praying that he would go do his own business so that I could skedaddle to another bathroom to do my own business leaving him none the wiser of what I’d done. I can’t really explain how shocking it was to learn that he knew I pooped all along. I spent our first sleepover together urging myself to stay away lest I farted in my sleep and he heard me. Again, mortified when I told him that story – hoping for an oh, you’re adorable – instead he winked while saying oh, but you did fall asleep.
When I arrived at motherhood, I learned quickly that children often mismanage their I have to poo runway. That was when I implemented a strict Handling Skid Marks policy which included only one directive: throw that shit in the trash. Later clarified with a second directive: Not the inside trash – the outside trash. March those stained under roos right out the door and dispose of them. No, sweet husband, I will not be trying to remove the soils or allowing them to tread in the same washer water that my perfect clothes are in. It is the same policy for sharts – though my new family was much more on board with that one. Apparently, skid marks were just a wiping mistake and not a big deal while sharts were not something one could return from.
I believe it was three years into our marriage when my mother in law came to live with us while in between apartments. This was a brave move on our part as she was still not quite on board with her son being married again nor her grandchildren having a stepmom. We set some pretty clear boundaries, which she graciously followed, and off we went. What could go wrong?
One evening while she was with us, we had a horrible storm which knocked out our power just before we all went to bed. It remained out for nearly twenty-four hours, which doesn’t sound like a big deal until you are a grown up and develop that pit-in-the-stomach feeling of I have a fridge full of food going bad. We were new enough to our house not to be acclimated to just how long power typically stayed out here, which ended up being forever…we live in the sticks. We were also new enough to living on well water to have no real gauge as to how many flushes we had before the toilet tanks would run dry. Our unwritten, quickly thrown together rule was don’t flush for yellow but do flush for brown. This was also a very unmonitored rule as we were five people – two of whom were children. As we neared the end of a full, powerless day, it was evident that yes, everybody would likely have to flush at least once.
My mother-in-law was staying in our guest room which had its own bathroom. She typically kept the door closed to her bedroom for both privacy and to keep our arks of animals out. The morning after the power went down, she left early in the morning, before anyone was up (including the power), pulling her door closed behind her, as always. During her stay, I really did my best never to open that door – wanting to keep a firm separation of our worlds until a day arrived when we felt more comfortable together. Which is how our twelve year old daughter ended up in said guest room grabbing something for me. As she was a child, she did not close the door upon exiting. Because, you know, kids. As I was an adult, I just assumed she had.
I’m not sure how long it was until the following events took place.
I was sitting on the couch trying to come up with something entertaining to do while I told myself that I really didn’t need coffee to survive. Our newest addition, still a puppy, jumped up on the couch to greet me and I reached out for an intake of sweet puppy smell. I retracted my offer for snuggles SO FAST when I was hit with a horrific stench. Awful. Not a sweet puppy smell. Worse than you are imagining. I jumped up, covered my nose with my shirt collar and went on a fearful tear trying to pinpoint the odor. Had an elephant dropped a deuce in the foyer? Were cows migrating through our yard? What was happening? Which is about when I realized, no, it was much worse. My little innocent sweet ball of puppy had eaten shit. That was the only explanation. But how? And where? Did I mention worse? It was the remnants on her puppy smile that gave it away. How?
She’d come into the living room from the direction of the guest room. What? I saw that the door was opened. But what? Had this animal gone bobbing for shit nuggets? That had to be it, right? An unflushed toilet mishap? I followed the dog into the source of her glory (why are dogs so excited to show you their grossest finds?) and whipped into the bathroom only to find…nothing. The toilet bowl was definitely empty, yet, why were my nostrils telling me things were getting even worse? I heard the unmistakable sound of a Target bag ruffling, flipped on the big bathroom light and, well, was still super confused – just with the addition of a churning stomach.
And then I saw it.
At my feet, in a torn up plastic bag that my sweet puppy was still nosing, was well-used toilet paper and a pile of poop. Confusion quickly turned into confusion plus horror. Why was there a bag of shit in the bathroom?!?!? The dog had eaten the bag of shit?!?!?! There was shit smeared across the floor?!?!? Who was going to clean up this shit?!?! And then, the worst of it all.
The shit belonged to my mother in law.
This is where my hindsight always kicks in.
I should have just retreated.
I should have just left a note.
I should have stayed single forever.
Instead, I went into high speed, clean up the crime scene mode. I wanted to elimnate the entire room before my brain could really process what I was doing. Dry heaves? Yes. And also wet heaves. I called out to the guilty child for help and so that she could join me in this place that no person should ever be. There was no way I wouldn’t have someone to share this story with. Our minds must have immediately begun the process of sheltering us from the memory as we came to minutes (hours?) later while both running our hands under scalding hot water and debating the possibility of below the elbow amputations. The dog continued to bounce around the house smelling like she’d had a sewer slurpee. I praised the lawd that both dogs were due at doggy day care that very day and packed them in the car for an early arrival. I made record speed to drop off, handing over a dog who very clearly had poop in her beard with a quick hey, if you have time, she needs a bath...
Hours later, when I had calmed down, I rang my husband. He was three hours away at a meeting and my first words to him were you have no idea just how big the owe is right this second. As I was explaining the course of events, he went into man mode, trying so very hard to come up with some kind of logic behind the surprise bag of doodies.
I did not want man mode.
I wanted the Level of Owe to be acknowledged and feared and for flowers to arrive immediately.
I also kind of wanted to burn the house down. Or at least the guest wing.
Later: In the end, we concluded that his mom, who is a VERY neat person, couldn’t stand the idea of leaving poop in the toilet. With an early rise time, she likely forgot that it would’ve been her first flush (or maybe not, we’ll never know) and, therefore, permissible. We don’t know if she pooped directly into the bag or fished in lieu of flushing. Our assumption is that she meant to take the bag with her but then it slipped her mind. Our other assumption is that she is still wondering what happened to her missing bag of shit.
Extra Later: We discovered our well is a community, shared well that has a shared back-up generator. We can flush basically forever.