Last Thursday was the last day of school before summer vacation. Emotions were high, as were expectations of a completely epic summer. And then Friday rolled around. The kids had their first day home alone. All day. Just the three of them, plus a kindergartener – er, now first grader – friend of my youngest son. By 8:36am, I had received multiple phone calls. The last was from my 13-year-old daughter who was in charge of watching the three younger ones. The call started with, “Mom. I can’t take this anymore!” said in the spirit of a mother who has been up all night with a newborn while her preschooler fills her shoes with vomit. Of course, that’s not the situation she was in. She had, however, dealt with a swearing match among the boys and a biting incident. What she didn’t tell me – or, hopefully, she didn’t know – was that something gross was happening in the bathroom. Something very, very disgusting.
By Friday evening, I could smell it. But what exactly “it” was, was open for debate. We all knew it smelled strongly of pee. As a mother of three kids under the age of 13, I can tell you with certainty, I know what pee smells like. Besides the fact that, you know, we all do it. Side note: I’m a little concerned for you if you don’t know what pee smells like. You may need to go see a doctor. Unless you’re just really well hydrated. In that case, good for you! I digress.
The smell was even stronger Saturday. We washed the floor. We scrubbed the toilet. We scrubbed around the toilet. The smell went away a little – or was at least masked by the chemical concoction now layered on our bathroom floor. By Sunday, the smell was much worse. We washed it all again. By Monday, I reached out to my Mom Land Facebook group. There were a lot of theories and practical suggestions including the idea to wash the shower curtain. I mean, they’re boys who are not exactly masters of their domain, if you know what I mean. So, last night, I took a deep breath and tried to hold it as I unhooked the shower curtain. Once I grabbed hold of the curtain, it became very evident that was where the smell was originating from. But, I wasn’t exactly right. Something caught my eye – and my breath. I looked down and saw it: a stagnant pool of urine in the bath tub. Someone had used it as a spare latrine – and had the courteous thought to plug the toilet so we could all enjoy the nauseating stench for days on end. I drained the tub. Thank you, Lord, I did NOT have to touch it. I added many a chemical – just shy of creating the toxic cloud they warned us about as kids. I washed the shower curtain. The smell is beginning to dissipate.
But this experience has left me with a lot of disgusting questions:
- How did I not notice it was coming from the tub?
- How did I not check the tub?
- Are my children just not showering???
To say I am grossed out by this experience would be an understatement. And yet, it always seems to be the horrid tales of bodily fluids that get my creative juices flowing and make me want to write. What does that say about me? Maybe don’t answer that.