When I used to wistfully daydream about what motherhood would be like, I imagined playing tag in the yard, decorating Christmas cookies, and snuggling with my children as I read them our favorite books. I did not imagine plunging the toilet. Several times a day.
Now, before you start sending off comments about how I need to add more fiber to my children’s diet, I already know that we have a fiber problem. But not that kind. No. We have a wood fiber problem. As in, wood fiber that makes paper. Toilet paper to be precise. Too much toilet paper.
My boys, apparently, have a deep-seated (okay, its a pun if you want it to be) fear of getting any icky on their hands. To prevent this from happening, they roll out great piles of toilet paper. Enough to create a large protective puff that will keep their hands a safe distance from the icky. While I certainly appreciate the fact that they don’t do the wiping bared-handed (anymore), I do wish they wouldn’t use quite so many (8 or more) puffs. It is these puffs that result in a toilet that is plunged more often than it is cleaned.
Unfortunately, the Great Wall of Toilet Paper has become so great that my feeble muscles don’t have enough power to clear the clog. Fortunately, my husband has been able to handle this problem for me.
The other night, though, my husband was teaching a late class. The toilet water was perilously high, yearning to slip over the sides of the bowl. There were showers to be had. There were children to prepare for bed. There was no time to wait. I decided to try plunging the toilet myself. I was ready to take on the Great Wall of Toilet Paper. I would break through the pulpy barrier.
So, I plunged. And, I plunged. And, I plunged. I cursed the toilet, the toilet paper and the plunger. I gave thanks for having a home with more than one bathroom. I did not clear the clog. Then I did what any reasonable person in the modern world would do when they had a problem. I consulted the Internet.
There it was. The solution to my problem. A video showing how to unclog a toilet without using a plunger. It was simple. Pour some dish detergent into the bowl. Pour some hot water into the bowl. Wait few moments and flush. Just to be sure it would work, I watched every video showing the technique. This would be a cinch.
I went back to the bathroom, dish detergent in hand. As I poured in my lemon scented Joy, I started to understand that there might be a reason that everyone in the videos used green dish detergent. You see, the Joy is yellow. When it diluted in the water, I couldn’t tell how much I added. I did the only rational thing I could think to do. I added more, you know, just in case.
The kettle whistled from the kitchen. As I walked downstairs to get my boiling water, I heard the boys talking in the other room.
“Is Mom making hot cocoa?”
“No, she’s trying to unclog the toilet.”
“With hot cocoa? Or would that be hot caca?”
The uproarious laughter faded behind me as I entered the bathroom. I poured in the hot water and returned downstairs to wait.
“Mom, did you unclog the toilet yet?”
“I’m working on it.”
“But you’re washing dishes.”
“Don’t worry. I have it under control.”
“Oh, I get it you called a plumber.”
Not deterred by my son’s lack of faith, I went upstairs to flush, yes, I said flush, the toilet.
When I did, bubbles started exploding everywhere and the water began to rise. In a panic I did the only thing that made sense. I started to plunge. Did you know that if you add air to water and soap you get bubbles? The more I plunged, the more bubbles I made.
“Nice, Mom, you’re giving the plunger a bubble bath.”
Indeed, I was. As I cleaned up the extra mess I made, my children giggled about my efforts. I realized in the future, I should probably leave the plunging to my husband (especially since he was able to clear on the first try when he got home). I also realized it was the first and last time I would be plunging the toilet full of joy.