the great toilet disaster of 2013

It all started Saturday night.

One of us – I won’t mention any names – clogged our toilet. Because this has never happened before, we didn’t own a plunger. So, since it was close to midnight at the time, we decided to go out the following day and make the purchase.

Yes, this is going to be a yucky bathroom story. It gets funnier, I promise! But if you’re bothered by this sort of thing, just skip the rest. You’ll never know what you missed.

Our apartment only has one toilet, so Sunday morning saw the use of said clogged toilet a few times. It’s not like we could stop our bodies from the need to…go. Gradually, the water stopped draining, even slowly, until finally, we had brown water up to a quarter-inch below the rim, and it wasn’t going anywhere. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), we then left to fulfill our various social obligations for the afternoon and evening.

On our way home, around 9:00pm, we stopped at Target and got ourselves a plunger.

Joshua insisted that this was a man’s task (I like the sound of that!), so he strode into the bathroom, armed with our new, pristine plunger, while I flopped on the bed and watched eagerly.

The reassuring sounds of plunging gurgled away, but the water level didn’t move. For upwards of 30 minutes, with differing tactics and angles, my husband plunged away. I even gave it a go. He reclaimed the plunger and got into a little rhythmic plunge dance, doing kneebends to the inward plunges.


By this point, we were grossed out completely by the color of the water and the stench permeating our bathroom and leaking out into the rest of our place. We decided to give maintenance a call the following morning and give up. Let it be understood that the walls were ringing with our laughter during the entire experience – somehow, the funny side of things really showed up to us. Joshua also kept letting out an exclamation, which I kept thinking I was mishearing, “Oh, the humanity!” Turns out I heard it just fine, and it’s a quote from the Hindenburg disaster (which, ironically, took place on my husband’s birthday, well before his birth…) of 1937. Herbert Morrison, covering the landing of the great blimp, watched it crash and uttered this heartrending cry of dismay. Since then, it has become a more general phrase to indicate that something catastrophic is taking place, Joshua informs me. Although I have to admit I rather doubt that, as I’ve never heard anyone use it ever before this. I think no one know anything about it except Joshua.

The next morning, the water level being pretty much unchanged, we got up and got out of The Roost as quickly as possible. Joshua was concerned about the toxicity oozing out of the facilities, and I have to admit, my stomach was feeling a bit queasy.

We camped out at Starbucks at 6:00am, where Joshua got himself a coffee and bagel. I went to the bathroom and threw up. Yes, you read that correctly. I barfed into the Starbucks toilet with blissful abandon (I won’t tell you which one it was, because I did this very sanitarily, and they cleaned it in between my uses). I was thanking G-d that we got to the Starbucks before my stomach let go. We stayed for an hour and a half, during which time that Starbucks toilet got quite a bit of…use.

Joshua parked me at my parents’ house for the day, mostly because he didn’t want me spending time in our stinky house, but also because they have working bathrooms! Imagine having a stomach issue with no toilet around?!

My family cheerfully greeted me with jokes about morning sickness, of course. Since morning sickness doesn’t set in until about 4 weeks into pregnancy, I can pretty much assure you it wasn’t morning sickness. As a matter of fact, as I now sit here munching on fresh grapefruit, I am almost 100% certain that it was a simple, 24-hour stomach virus, which I am now over. But what a time to come down with that!

Joshua drove me home after work, and popped nimbly up the four flights of apartment stairs to check if the toilet was clear. If it wasn’t, we were heading to a hotel. It was. I gratefully crawled into bed, Joshua read me to sleep, and we drifted off to the delightful smell of scented-candle-that-has-been-blown-out.


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