Speaking of toilet paper and paper towels, Hot Pants:
So I’m out at Fort Funston, shoveling the sand back into Theo’s massive holes and trenches, when the blues riff that identifies a call from my husband wails.
“We have an emergency,” the Lord & Master announces in his deepest tones.
I don’t react. I’ve heard these seemingly urgent words too many times for too many minor reasons to take the L&M seriously.
“What’s up?” I am lighthearted in tone on the off chance I can derail his ever-ready urge to freak out.
“My toilet’s backed up.”
“Did you use the plunger?”
Does he think I’m going to run home to plunge the toilet for him? This is not an emergency. I sigh inside. He is the Husband Who Cries Wolf.
“I can’t. The water’s too high.”
“The water will go down. Then do it. And put some paper towels down.”
“Oh, there’s too much water on the floor for towels. This is bad.”
“Okay. Get the mop.”
“Where’s that? I’ll never find it. I have to get ready for work. Where am I gonna shower?”
“How about upstairs, in the other shower.”
“Oh.” Followed by a long pause. My husband hates to climb the stairs into the sunlight of the main floor. He prefers his downstairs cave of semi-darkness, and who am I to deny him that which he desires? On this occasion he will, in fact, shower in his own bathroom amid the swamp of crap.
Neither of us mentions the probable cause of this gurgling disaster. That is, while emptying one of his plastic urinal buckets that he loves so much, the plastic cap fell in and whooshed away to a new life lodged in the underground pipes. Essentially, we’ve been waiting for this backup.
I know I’m returning to a stinky mess. Toilet backups are my spouse’s semi-professional hobby. I haul the sopping bathmat into the backyard to dry and air out. I gather up the soggy paper towels. I successfully plunge the toilet in about five seconds. I open all the available windows to let in some fresh air. I call the plumber.
Not an emergency. Just life in its smelly messiness.