Tuesday – the one day of the week that the kids and I are almost always guaranteed to be at home all day, usually in our pyjamas, with no obligations and no place we need to be. We cherish our Tuesdays.
This particular Tuesday morning, we awoke in our usual fashion – warm and snuggly in our family bed with lots of cuddles and yawns and stretches. After a time, we made our way downstairs for some breakfast. The kids used the toilet, and a moment after the flush I heard a shriek. Lynden hollered, “The toilet is plugged, Mama!”
My heart sank. There are a few things I have never managed to accomplish successfully. Plunging the toilet is one of them. I am incompetent with a plunger, and the thought of plunging a toilet makes me want to vomit. Holding the plunger in my hand gets my gag reflex going. To put it mildly, I have a hard time with plugged toilets. In the past, I’ve left the toilet alone until Jae gets home to save the day, but that just doesn’t cut it when the entire day stretches out ahead and Jae isn’t home until the weekend.
So, I called my dad. Surely he would come and rescue me from the plugged toilet! But alas, my dear father was busy all day and couldn’t make it over. “Suck it up, kiddo,” he said. “Grab that plunger and get to it.”
I walked slowly into the bathroom. I looked at the toilet from the corner of my eye. I approached the plunger while the kids cheered me on from the doorway. I stuck the plunger in the toilet and gave it all I had, forcing myself not to throw up. And then I flushed. And the toilet nearly overflowed. Plunger fail.
There was nothing to be done but to try again. And so I did. I was in mid-plunge when the toilet gave a little belch and the water suddenly started to disappear. “Flush it, Mama, flush it!” Lynden said, clapping his hands. I reached out and flushed the toilet, and wonder of wonders! – down went the water with a healthy flushing sound. Success! Lynden and Raina erupted in a fit of cheering and clapping, and we danced around the bathroom together.
“You are so brave, Mama,” said Lynden as he hugged my legs. In that moment I felt very brave indeed.
Back in the kitchen, I was about ready to serve breakfast. The milking pail was in the sink from the day before. I had left some soapy water sitting in the bottom of the pail overnight with the intention of washing it in the morning. I grabbed the pail, then screamed and dropped it back into the sink. There, floating in the soapy water, was a drowned mouse.
Remember that gag reflex I mentioned in reference to the plugged toilet? Well the same gag reflex tends to be triggered by dead things as well. I don’t deal well with bodies, large or small. I am quite squeamish when it comes to having to dispose of dead creatures.
Of course, the children were fascinated by the drowned mouse and started fighting over who got to look at it the longest. Wringing my hands, I left the kitchen to call my dad again. Surely he could come over just long enough to dispose of the mouse? But no, busy day for dad, I’d have to deal with it myself.
I left the mouse in the pail while I finished making our breakfast, trying to summon the courage and resolve to tackle the removal of the body head on. As much as I wanted to vomit at the thought of even looking at the pail, I could not leave a dead mouse floating there all day long. I would need to use the pail again before too long, anyway.
I took a deep breath and moved toward the sink. With my eyes shut tight, I reached out for the pail and held it as far away from myself and I could. I peeked through one eye, relieved to discover that I could not see the mouse with the pail at arm’s length. I slipped my boots on and ran out into the field with Lynden close behind me, and stood there in my pyjamas trying to get up the nerve to dump the soapy mouse body. Lynden said, “I’ll count to three for you, ok?” and by the time he got to three I was ready. I tossed the water and the mouse out of the bucket, then squealed and ran back to the house as fast as I could.
Oh, bless my children! They thought the whole situation was hilariously funny, and laughed long and hard at my running, squealing, hand-wringing self.
“Wow, Mama,” Lynden remarked. “You’ve been brave twice today and we didn’t even have breakfast yet!”