My arm was up to the bicep in the toilet bowl and down the pipe. It was my kid’s first time in the new, fancy bathroom, and she thought that people who use new, fancy bathrooms also use a lot of toilet paper.
I’ll be damned if I’m shelling out any more cash on this room for defecating and washing up. The plunger was nowhere to be found. I did look, and I even called my husband to find out if he knew where it was. No, everything was rearranged because of the construction.
So, faced with a too-full toilet clogged with the flowing arms of a toilet paper jellyfish around a solid center, I barely thought twice before rolling up my sleeve and sinking my hand deeper and deeper into the coolness of the fancy toilet.
The first try didn’t work. I was too gentle in my manipulation of the obstruction. We all watched (because yes, both kids needed to see how this was done) as the water rose higher and higher after the flush. The little one had her hands to her mouth, fearful and excited, as she waited to see if it would overflow.
I did not put my hands to my mouth. I watched through slitted eyelids, daring the water and its contents to waterfall onto my gorgeous new tiles. Several potty-mouthed phrases ran through my mind, but they receded with the water, lowering slowly into the bowl. Try, try again.
This time, I left no prisoners. My hand dove into the bowl, determined to claim a prize. Found, caught, eliminated. The kids cheered as the second flush downed the bowlful of water in one thirsty gulp. Satisfaction. Relief. Contentment. A job well done.
It was only afterwards that I realized that perhaps that had been the kind of situation that called for the box of powder-free latex gloves we keep in the linen closet.