The other night, I ventured upstairs to brush my teeth and use the toilet before crawling into bed. I’m sure you’ll relate well to my surprise and disgust when I popped the lid of the toilet and found it full of poo. I’m sorry to say, but this has been an ongoing issue in my house for years. The Phantom Pooper had struck again!
He/She strikes when one least suspects it, late at night, early in the morning, when we’ve had a house full of company. There’s no toilet preference- any of them seem to do. You name it- boom, unflushed toilet full of poop.
We’ve had a suspect in mind for some time, but just haven’t been able to catch them in the act. His/Her inconsistency has made their discovery difficult to obtain. However, almost everyone in my house is now over the age of ten. Therefore, we’re no longer taking this lightly (if ever we did before). We’re not dealing with little kid poop- which is gross in its own right. We’re now talking about adult-like fecal matter floating in the toilet with, and often without, toilet paper!
Now, I’m sure you must be thinking, aghast, “What the heck is going on in that house? Have these parents not shown their children proper bathroom protocol and technique?”
Well, the answer to that is, of course we have! My husband and I have enforced strong bathroom hygienics and habits since the beginning of potty training. We’ve even gone so far as to hold a special “Toilet Flushing Class” so we could monitor and critique each child’s flushing faux pas and technique. Unfortunately, our efforts have been to no avail. Furthermore, we have been paramount about handwashing, for all genders, whether or not it’s a one or two.
So you can imagine that this latest discovery immediately sent me into a full crazy-mom spiral. I bellowed, like Fred Flintstone, for my children to join me at the crime scene.
They came flying, skittering and sliding in socked feet on the hardwood floor, sensing the tone. Once they were all assembled, I immediately began an inquisition into who-dunnit.
“Look at this!” I fumed, pointing to the hideous brown pile floating above water level in the porcelain throne. I made each potential suspect observe the offence before launching an Agatha Christie-like investigation, hard-eyeing each possible offender.
They gagged and gasped, covered their noses and eyes, choked and sputtered, full of appropriate revulsion. Not surprisingly, they all portrayed an accurate depiction of horror. This specific incident was particularly gruesome as the substance had sat for an extended period of time, allowing things to, um… shall we say, marry.
However, I was not fooled! I know my children to be great aficionados of theater.
“Yes! It’s disgusting, isn’t it?” I exclaimed. “Now you know how I feel every time I find a toilet in this state!”
They all stared at me, shuffling their feet and wringing their hands. Each of the three had guilt written on their face.
“Who did this? And WHY? Why does this keep happening?”
My question, simple enough, was followed by a serious of “Ummm.” “Ahhhh” “Hmm” and “Not me!” “I didn’t.” “I don’t even use that bathroom.” “Maybe it was, Braeden?”
NOTE: I could exclude the fourth child, who was fortunate enough to not be present at this particular time, however, he was still considered a possible suspect for previous infractions.
“Really? We’ll it had to have been one of you, because I most certainly didn’t do it and your father didn’t do it (I hoped), so that just leaves the three of you,” I deduced.
They glanced back and forth nervously from one to the other as I turned the magnitude of my glare full force, like an interrogation lamp at full wattage.
Sweat beaded on their brow. I was seconds away from breaking the culprit.
Finally, the guilty party- whom I suspected all along- step forward, head hung in shame, “It was me. I forgot to flush it; I think.”
“You THNIK?” I pointed to the offense and said, “Flush it, now!”
The Phantom Pooper, finally unmasked, grimaced and held the handle for a full ten seconds as the others looked doubtingly at me. We were all praying it would go down and not clog and overflow.
Our breath held and I said a silent prayer to the toilet gods, asking them to take yet another punch on behalf of my family.
Finally, the horribleness was over, the septic system gurgling under the strain. We all took a deep breath as I sprayed some Poo-Pourri. The group slowly dispersed, but not before I gave them another stern lecture on preventing situations like this from ever happening again!
I reminded them of our bathroom protocol and explained that I wasn’t fooled into thinking there was only one Phantom Pooper, I believe that they’ve all played a part in this dastardly deed a time or two before.
As they walked away, head down, shamed and adequately grossed out, I could only hope that the experience itself was enough to prevent another recurrence. Otherwise, the next measure may result in an outhouse operation for those under the age of twenty.
Additionally, I truly have a newfound appreciation for those who deal in this sort of sewage business on a regular basis. They, my friends, are the real unsung heroes.