Thursday, June 12, 2014

Flushing Money Down the Drain

So...yesterday was not a good day.

Late morning, I suddenly heard a shout from one of the kids, who'd just flushed the toilet and, well, it didn't all go down.  My kids have a nasty habit of forgetting to flush the toilet and as a result, toilet paper sometimes accumulates from one kid to the next.  This time, it got jammed up...really jammed up.

On route to the bathroom to help, I heard said child flush the toilet again, despite my yell not to touch it until I got there.

Too late.


Of large, dirty proportions.  I plunged and that made it worse.  Explosion of water out the top.

More flooding.

It was. totally. disgusting.

Overflowing the toilet, spreading out all over the floor.

Brown.  Filthy. Smelly.  Horrible.

More onto the floor.  Gushing over the top.  All over!

I ran for towels, yelled for a phone to call Geoff (he's the handy one, not me), turned off the water, and stood there in the middle of the flood, crying.

Then I heard shouting from the main floor, where I'd banished the kids.

"Mom, water's coming into the kitchen.  Brown water."

Shit.  Shit.  Shit.  Shit.

I ran downstairs with more towels and grabbed pails to catch the flood spraying through a light fixture in a kitchen bulkhead.

It was running onto the family room carpet now, too.

I cried more.  Kids upset that I'm crying.

In my state, not my finest moment I'll readily admit, I yelled at the kids that they would be punished, possibly by spanking, if they ever forgot to flush the toilet again or let toilet paper build up.

Wrong move.  I have children of trauma in my household.

Seth started to panic and said that I'd said we don't do spankings in our home.

Matthew hit Seth in alarm, because he saw that I was alarmed and was trying to stop Seth from making things harder for me in the moment.

Lizzie started to cry and said she need to give me a hug because I was so frustrated.

Seth yelled at Matthew to not slug him, then yelled at me that I was just frustrated and that I didn't mean the thing about the possible spanking.

I was still crying.

And tried to pull myself together.  Because I have kids who needed me more the house did.

There, in the middle of the poop, I somehow remembered that I have children of trauma who will take time to recover even from the possibility of looming punishment and that I have a son who will retreat into his defences for a time just because of my harsh reaction while standing in poop.

And so, standing in that poop, I apologized to my children while looking Seth in the eye for speaking rashly and out of frustration and said that they'd surely heard my frustrated voice and that for a moment that voice was louder than my kind and loving voice but that I would not ever spank them and that even though it is very important to learn to flush the toilet, they would not be punished if they forgot again and even if I ended up standing in poop again.  I said that we were all going to be ok and that I loved them more than I hated any poopy mess.

I said to Matthew (who is anxious at the best of times but so much more so at the worst of times and out of control with anxiety if his mother is in poor form) that everything was going to be ok and that I was in control of the situation and that he didn't need to try to help by stopping Seth from talking and that I could manage it all and that we'd be ok.

And I said to Lizzie that I would dearly love a hug from her and that surely would help me feel better but that I had poop on me and that wouldn't be safe for her and that I would have to delay my hug for just a little while but that I loved her for knowing that I needed a hug.

Then I said that it was time for them to watch tv for a time.

And then I could cry in private...well, while I had Geoff on the phone and while I was telling him that I didn't know what to do and could he please help.

Geoff came home as quickly as one can when one is working over an hour away; he spent the afternoon unclogging things and taking away our old toilet, which hadn't helped the whole situation in the first place.

I called the insurance company and played host to the claims guy when he came in the afternoon to assess the damage.

Floor of the bathroom, the subfloor, kickplate, and the baseboards will be ripped out.  On the mainfloor, the kitchen bulkhead will be ripped out, light fixtures removed, and possibly some wall and ceiling will be ripped out as well.  Everything treated with microbial antibacterial stuff.  Carpets cleaned.  New drywall, new flooring, mudding, paint. etc etc.

Minimum $3,500-4,000 claim.  $500 deductible.

Oh, and did I mention that the van was in for servicing yesterday and desperately needs new front tires and an alignment and a few other things that just sound like blah blah blah and will cost about $600?



  1. Ugh, awful!
    But I have to say that I think it is awesome that in the midst of it all, Seth was telling you that you were just frustrated and didn't mean what you said in the heat of the moment - how fantastic that even at a very stressful time, he could understand and verbalize that!
    Good luck with all the repairs.

  2. Oh crap. We went through this, minus the poop, when our water line to the fridge plugged. Basement walls, hardwood floors in the kitchen above, yada yada. $16K later. I love me some home insurance. (Water is now turned off to the fridge permanently, much to my dismay. Bye bye ice maker). It was quite a saga.

    You'll find some new flooring you like - and if they send you to wait it out @ a hotel, maybe it'll have a pool for the kids - an adventure. You'll get through it Ruth - it's never any fun & when it comes in multiples, it's overwhelming! Just knowing that you don't have to pay the whole shot out of pocket will give you some relief when you have time to stop & think it all out. Plus the insurance guys should have a project manager to handle it all. Hopefully all you have to do is get open the door & out of the way! Give the kids cameras & let them document the process since they started it! ;)


  3. Thanks for the empathy ladies! It totally sucks, but I did regain my sense of humour about it later in the afternoon. Thankfully this wasn't a situation where anyone was hurt, and sometimes you just gotta laugh. So we're all good not.

    ANd Sonja, you know, last night I thought the same thing about Seth, once I had a chance to think it through. Now (not in the moment!) I find it incredible that he has come sooo far that he could recognize that it was just my frustration and anxiety speaking harshly; he knew me well enough to know that I didn't meant what I was saying in the moment. Really, I couldn't ask for more...I think that's fantastic development from him!!

    Hugs to you both, and with thanks,


  4. All I can say is, Oh My!

    Hugs sent from here.


  5. Sounds like quite the frustrating situation. Glad the worst is over.