Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Adventures in Apartment Cleaning - the toilet story (updated)

I wouldn't say I'm quite out of the writers funk yet, but I do believe in the "fake it until you make it" theory, so I'm going to share one of todays adventures with you.

Rich and his brother moved their mother into a nursing home a few weeks ago. I wrote about it here for the Philly Moms Blog. So go, read, comment! No really, comment!

She is actually adjusting well to the move, which is a huge weight off of us. She is enjoying having people around her now, instead of being stuck in her apartment by herself. I was very concerned that she would hate it, but I was wrong! I am so happy I was wrong!

I've spent a couple afternoons over at her old apartment trying to get things sorted, cleaned, and boxed up. Her apartment always looked so neat, but ho'boy did she have shit stashed everywhere! I think she saved every take out container she ever took home. Two full cupboards of them, plus 100's of those little dip sauce cups laying around.

In one way it has been interesting doing this, as I've had a chance to learn a little more about her, just from what I'm finding in drawers, etc. Pictures of her and Rich's dad from well before I ever met them. Pictures of extended family that I've never heard of.

It's also been interesting because I've had to take the boys with me. We capped out our baby sitting budget for the month already with our nephews wedding Sunday (which is another story I should tell) so I've been taking the boys with me to "help."

Today Noah helped by having one of his elephant size poops in her toilet, then didn't tell me it didn't all flesh down. Then he encouraged Kiel to go in there and flush the toilet over and over.

I realized I was hearing running water after I heard Noah tell Kiel to run. That got me suspicious, so I ran to the bathroom to find water flowing from the base of the tank. There was probably a good inch on the bathroom floor by then.

I first tried to turn off the water to the toilet, but the valve wouldn't move at all. So then I messed with the innards of the tank, with no luck. At that point I just shoved my hand into the toilet up to my elbow and grabbed the wad of paper and elephant turd until it was unplugged. My right arm stills feels dirty.

So then I was trying to find something to clean up the water and I couldn't find any of her towels. I don't know if my brother in law packed them away for Salvation Army or took them himself, but they were no where to be found. So I grabbed a pile of bed sheets from her closet and started throwing them on the puddle of water. Soak the sheet, toss it in the tub, then soak up the next one.

I was moving as fast as I could because I was concerned the water would leak down into the apartment below hers. As soon as I had the majority of the water up I was going to run down and knock on the door and let them know what happened. Well, they beat me to it with a phone call. That Kiel answered. The first time he has answered the phone as far as I know - and yes, adorable! But oh so not the time.

Bea lived in an apartment building full of old women. Who ever the woman was that called screeched into my ear as soon as I said hello and asked "what is going on up there, there is water pouring down from my ceiling" in a not so nice tone of voice I might ad. So I told her the toilet overflowed and she responded with "what? the toilet?". I wasn't sure if I needed to explain what a toilet was or that she just didn't believe me.

I told her I was doing everything I could to clean it up but the more time I talked to her the longer it was going to take. To that I heard the "hmmmphh/well" noise. And then she hung up.

I was afraid for my safety for a few minutes there. I thought she was going to come up and kick my ass!

I was pretty pissed at the boys. Mad, very mad. I do believe I muttered "those miserable, miserable children" a few times. Noah was smart enough to stay quiet and out of my way. Kiel on the other hand thought it was all a big game.

Fun stuff, I tell you. I just really hope I didn't screw her out of any of her security deposit because of our little stunt. Oy...

Update: Rich's brother emailed him this morning to tell him he had to go over to the apartment right away and deal with things because the woman below her was complaining. (His emails are always so pleasant, almost as nice as his voice mails.)

I assured them both that there was no water when I left yesterday so the woman had to be complaining about the actual overflow incident, not something new. Well, then the maintenance office called Rich at work to say that there was still water coming down, but they didn't have a key to get in her apartment to check it out.

I still had her keys, so I raced out of work and met Rich at the apartment. The entire ride thinking how could I have possibly missed that water was still leaking from the toilet, and feeling like absolute shit that I was responsible for some major incident. And knowing that Rich's brother was not going to handle any of this very well.

So Rich and I get there and we nervously open the door to her apartment, expecting to find a total mess.

Open the door...and everything is fine. We slowly walk towards the bathroom, testing out the carpet expecting it be wet. And nothing.

Enter the bathroom and check out the floor. Nothing.

Get down on my hands and knees and feel around the toilet and still nothing. Not even condensation. Dry as an f'ing bone.

I have no idea what is going on, but maintenance is supposed to go over later to check it out. I suppose Noah's elephant poop could have exploded a pipe further down. They are pretty big.

And the entire time I was there today? I had to pee so bad I actually considered peeing in one of the damn Chinese soup containers that was filling her cupboards. There was no way I was going to use that damn toilet!



  1. Okay..... I know as moms we do some nasty ass shit to fix the problems of our little cuties but woman! You stuck your hand inside a toilet to push shit (literally) outta the way. That deserves an award. I've pulled some nasty turds from the bathtub but straight from the toilet? Bra-fucking-o!

    I hope my colorful comment doesn't offend anyone, I don't think it could have been put any lighter!

  2. I know this was traumatic when you went through it, but 20 years from now, you are so going to enjoy laughing about it! And you can use it as blackmail, too... (just teasing!!!)

    I admire that you handled this with ONLY the "miserable" word escaping!!!