It took a week for this story to become untraumatic enough to share.  A week and at least ten hot, scalding showers.

Finally, at five and a half, I am starting to do “rest time” instead of nap time with Ali.  Sometimes, mind you.

After the first day, she told me she’d rather have nap time.  Or, perhaps, a hybrid.  Could she please have a half rest time, half nap time?

Crazy kid.

But really, I don’t blame her.  I love me some sleep as well.

But back to day one of rest time.

I explained the concept (which she found quite bizarre):

You must be somewhat quiet (no squealing), play in your room (with normal rules – no painting of the furniture or anything), go to the bathroom if needed, and not yell for me – I can hear you on your monitor if you talk QUIETLY. 

And above all else, remember that your brother is still napping.

She did quite well, playing nearly silently in her room, with the only noises heard on her monitor being the clank, thud of dollhouse furniture being rearranged.

About halfway through her quiet time, she informed me quietly that she needed to go to the bathroom.

I pushed the talk button and told her “no problem – enjoy.”

I didn’t hear anything else for a while.

Then, quietly, I heard again, “If I flush, will it wake Noah up?”

I was proud of her sensitivity.

“No, honey – go ahead and flush – it won’t wake him.”


Then nothing.

Until a minute later.

“Hey Mommy…I think I might have stopped up the potty.”

(sigh) “Okay, honey – I’ll come up and check.”

This happens fairly often, as Ali often gets over-zealous with her paperwork.  Sometimes I don’t even think she’s wiping – she just starts roll-roll-rolling, and then zones out a bit, until she realizes that she quite accidentally rolled the whole roll into the toilet.

But she’d yet to ever cause a clog I couldn’t fix, so it hadn’t been an urgent issue to be addressed.

I quietly tread up the stairs, went into my bathroom to get the plunger, realized *duh* it was in Ali’s bathroom, since she makes all of the clogs, and I headed in.

I looked in the toilet and groaned.

IMG_2588Isn’t she angelically innocent looking? Just don’t give her a roll of toilet paper and permission to flush.

*** And now it’s time for a bit of confessional.  Chris doesn’t know this part, so please don’t tell him. ***

Despite her previous flush, the toilet had a pyramid of toilet paper nearly sticking out of the rim.

…along with other less-attractive and more-odorous particles.

There was so much TP in the bowl that quite a bit of it was completely dry.

I considered, for a moment, raking it all out before flushing again.

But the smell and the unsavory sight of the other less-than-favorable toilet dwellers convinced me to try flushing it.

Just to see what would happen.

After all…she’d never made a clog I couldn’t fix.

And so I did.

Of course, it didn’t flush.  But the water within swelled up with pride, causing the unsavory morsels to float to the top.

*** End shameful admission.  PLEASE don’t tell Chris.  He’ll be horrified at my lack of toilet discretion. ***

I stuck the plunger in and began plunging, expecting the clog to turn loose fairly immediately.

Nothing happened.

I plunged some more.

Still nothing.

I shut off the water and plunged some more.

Zero water or anything else left the premises.

So I told Siri to remind me to address it later,

Unclog Toilet

and I shut the lid and instructed Ali to enjoy the rest of her quiet time toilet-free, preferably.

Chris got home that night and I expected him to go up, plunge it a couple of times, and come back down with that manly smugness that he has when he unscrews an especially tight jar of jelly.

But no.

He went upstairs as soon as he got home, which as all of you Mothers know, sends children into frenzied tailspins.

Noah was wailing at the bottom of the stairs, and Ali was acting as if she’d eaten four bags of Jumbo Marshmallows.

(Daddy coming home and being immediately occupied equals Mommy Purgatory.)

But I remembered, with guilt and shame, that I was the one that tried to flush that pyramid instead of clean it out, so I couldn’t complain.

He came down and got a bucket…then headed back up.

Noah squealing, Ali yelping, running, and leaping.

He removed the former Toilet Paper Pyramid, which now resembled chocolate caramel melted on the sidewalk on an Alabama Summer Day.

The entire house reeked of Cow Patties.

He came back down and got a big metal snake-thing.

He poured hot water in the toilet.

He plunged.

He snaked.

He poured a bottle of dishwashing soap in.

He was up there until the kid’s bedtimes.

As I sat, in Mommy Purgatory, dying a little each minute, at the bottom of the stairs.

He finally gave up, and told me he’d get some new tools and try again the next night.

(I began to brace myself for Double Mommy Purgatory.)

The next day, I decided that I was going to get the toilet unclogged no matter what it took.  I couldn’t take another night of a Daddy/Toilet Date.

So after breakfast, I put Noah in his crib and told Ali that I was going to work on her toilet again.

IMG_2293Unfortunately, her superpowers do not include unclogging toilets.

I plunged.

I poured more dishwashing liquid in.

And finally, I decided I should try that snake thing that Chris had out.

(Warning, women: If you don’t even know what something is called, you probably shouldn’t try to operate it.)

I found it under the sink, double bagged in garbage bags.

(Warning, women: if your husband d0uble bags something in garbage bags, you probably shouldn’t open it.)

(Especially if it’s been exposed to your kid’s crap.)

I peeled off the first bag.

I opened the second bag and reached in.

As I was reaching in, the smell hit my nose.


And before I could recoil in horror, the springy snake end sprang loose and shot out straight, spraying me with putrid nightmares.

My face.

My neck.

My shirt.

And a nice, large, brown gooey chunk on my arm.

I stood there, frozen and silent.

Time passed, as I tried to comprehend what had just happened, and what I was to do now.

Finally, I (carefully) opened my mouth.

“Ali, go keep Noah entertained.  I’m going to take another shower.”

And I did.

A hot, soapy, sanitizing shower.

Now clean but still obsessed with not letting this putrid throne beat me, I read the internet and asked Facebook: what to do about really nasty toilet clogs?

Dishwashing soap…hot water…plunging…snaking.

Finally, I found a new idea: baking powder and vinegar.  Apparently they’re supposed to have a “strong chemical reaction” that will help bubble crap out of your pipes.


I dug around and found the ingredients, and headed upstairs.

Ali came to observe my laboratorical experiments.

I poured them in, half expecting a “strong chemical reaction” with the already present dishwashing liquid, resulting in a toilet explosion in my face.

(Which would be nothing new at that point.)

But no.

Nothing happened.

Including anything good.

By now it was lunchtime, and I reported my failed efforts to Chris.

(And BEGGED him to let me call a plumber.)

“Let me try again tonight.  I’ll buy some new stuff at lunch.  If I can’t get it tonight, you can call a plumber tomorrow.

During Hour 28 of The Clog From Hell, Chris arrived home.  Saw the children for a minute.  Headed upstairs with a Toilet Arsenal that could only be expected on a ranch in Waco.

Noah started squealing.  Ali started bouncing off the walls.  I started to curl up in a ball in the corner, humming It’s the End of the World as We Know It.

But then I heard a flush.

And Chris coming down the stairs.

“It’s done – I just used the new plunger twice.  Didn’t even open all of these other things!”

Relief coursed through my veins.

Then, indignance.

I should have gotten the satisfaction of using that new plunger!!

I needed to see that job through and down!

But then I remembered my attempts to flush The Great White Pyramid…and I knew what I really deserved.  And I had gotten it – on my face, neck, and arms.

47 thoughts on “The Great Flush.

  1. I have been waiting for this story, and it didn’t disappoint! I hate that you got sprayed with toxic waste, but I did LOL at your expense!!! :)

  2. OMG, I feel your pain. And I can’t believe I am asking this…. can you tell me the type of plunger you have? The other night during a party our toilet backed up and we realized that since we moved her over a year and half ago, we have had no plunger! I have no idea why it didn’t get moved but it didn’t. So it is on my to-do list to buy. Luckily, the toilet just needed a time out after being over used and was able to recover plunger free. But I know we will not be so lucky next time. So if I am going to buy a plunger, I want to buy the best! LOL So um, can you tell me what kind cleared that mess up? Thanks!

    1. Only ever use the basic orange one. That nasty black one that sucks up and holds things inside is terrible. My hubby has been a maintenance engineer (trained in plumbing, electrical, HVAC, boilers, welding, stoves, ice machines, basically anything that needs repairing inside Las Vegas hotels) and we only use that. He says it is the best.

      1. Thanks! Yeah we had that black one. I think that is why it got left behind. We couldn’t stand the thought of the movers putting into a box with anything else!

    2. We had one of the new black ones that holds waste in, and it really did work for a while. But the top of it had come loose, so it had no suction. He went back to the old fashioned rubber kind, and it worked. Granted, all of that dishwashing soap, vinegar, and baking soda SURELY did some good.

  3. Ugh. Now I need a shower, just from the reading. We’ve always blamed our toilet trouble on the low flow toilets we have, but I don’t think anything could have conquered that mess. I really am so sorry anyone every had to experience what you did. Seriously. I’m shuttering.

    1. I don’t even think we have low-flow. She’s just that talented. Clearly, we have some strenuous toileting rules in place now. Rules that we remind her of every time she gets near a bathroom.

  4. I get it. I totally, totally get it. With three pottying little boys, I have experienced this issue. Horrifying. We found out that there is a new style of plunger that works great in the newer-style toilets. It made ALL the difference. I threw our old one out and haven’t looked back.

  5. That is hilarious! But only because I can see the exact same thing happening in our house. We, too, have an over zealous TP user.

  6. Yeah, over the years with Jameson, I’ve learned….as gross and nasty as it is….that it is usually better to just reach in (with gloved hands) and just pull the nasty offender(s) out instead of trying to flush it down. **shiver**

  7. Double barf! You are so brave! I won’t even plunge the toilet when it’s my own fault…my husband has to do it (and one time my friend, who will go down in history as the best friend ever, plunged it for me), so I can only imagine the horror (although I’ve been assured that will change once I have kids…however I’m still skeptical).

    You go!

  8. The perfect mixture of laughing & throwing up in my mouth.

    Kudos for attempting it yourself. I’d simply redirect the kids to the other toilet or outside w/ a leaf or two. :)

    1. C’mon – do you not know of this Mommy Purgatory I talk of? Which is worse – dealing with a toilet, or not having Daddy when he’s home?

  9. That’s one of my nightmares. That a toilet gets clogged after that sort of trip to the bathroom. I would have probably taken 10 showers that day. And a couple of soaks in the bath.

  10. Oh yuck. I hate hate hate dealing w/toliet issues of any kind. I won’t even retrieve something that has fallen in a clean toliet. We also have an over zealous to user but thankfully she rarely clogs the toliet and when she has T was able to fix it easily. How many times does it take for them to understand not too use so much?? Apparently more than we think it should. Yuck yuck yuck!

  11. Ew-wwwwww. Double E-E-E-E-E-W-W-W-W-W-W-W-W-W-W-W! (and I’m a nurse….I usually don’t get grossed out easily. Nurses sit around as they eat lunch and regularly tell fecal stories. I have,in fact, a whole repertoire of poop stories. Pretty good ones too! ) But E-W-W-W-W-W! I think it was the ‘leaving it all right there for a whole day ‘part that got to me. ew.

    1. Does poop go bad? I mean, it’s already pretty putrid. I don’t think an extra day makes it too much worse. Unless it can mold…

      1. aah… never thought of time effect on poop. thats an interesting thought.
        Maybe you should get the indan style of toilets… less clogging trouble.. and kids are more afraid of falling in, more than fallen things coming up.. so they naturally behave much better :-D

  12. Clearly you deserve a double Mommy Scout badge for this. Hmmm…funny…I can hear one of our toilets being plunged as we speak. There is hope – my kids are now mostly old enough to try plunging first before they call me. They still use too much TP, however, even though Grandma told them to keep it to 2 squares. (I overrode that suggestion – 2 squares – really?)

    1. 2 squares IS a bit difficult. With 2 squares, there’s going to have to be more soap used for cleanup, and I think that costs more than toilet paper. However, possibly not more than having a plumber come out…

  13. Well I usually have to eat a bowl of Cheerios before bed. After simultaneously laughing and vomiting a little while reading this post I can safely say I’m not going to eat cereal….. Or anything else in the near future! Btw, my 2 and 4 year old girls do the TP zone out when they go potty. I didn’t realize other kids do that too.

    1. I did not.

      However, being able to blog about it DOES help. At least I can take comfort that even if I can’t laugh, someone else can.

  14. Can you imagine the horror you are going to face when Noah is five! So entertaining-you should write a book! I love your blog.

  15. I gotta learn not to read your blog very late at night. I laughed out loud and my husband poked his “not so happy” head out and said, “Do you mind?!”

    Every mother feels your pain! Thanks for sharing. I still think your kids are adorable. Waiting to hear child number 3 is in the works… ; )

  16. ohhhhhh nooooooooooooooo. toilet issues totally give me the heebie jeebies.
    way to go on even having a second attempt! You deserve a bright gold trophy. A bright golden toilet trophy (with maybe a little toilet paper brimming out the top!)
    Thanks for the laugh!

    1. I was thinking a night away to help “flush” my memory, rather than a trophy to remind me of it, but I’ll take any kind of honorable mention I can get.

  17. Oh my gosh, I laughed so hard I cried. We had a similar issue where my daughter would use practically a whole roll at once, so for a while we forbade her using toilet paper and bought her the wet wipes instead, instructing her feverishly that she was only allowed up to two at a time. It worked.

  18. laughed till I cried. I too have major toilet fears and have been known to ask if I can use disinfecting wipes on the kids when they have fallen in! (we had one of those trainer seats, and tried to transition away from it too early!)

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