2018-05-10 / Around Town

When the Po*p Hits the Fan

SLICE OF LIFE: Mother's Day
By Amy Martin

I have been the recipient of many heartwarming Mother’s Day gestures: breakfast in bed, homemade gifts, brunches, and more. However, my most memorable Mother’s Day gift, the one that bonded my children and me forever, was at the complete expense of my husband.

Allow me to provide some background. My husband traveled for work…a lot. He missed out on several family milestones that made me sad for him. But on the flip side, he also missed out on numerous poop-hitting-the-fan moments through the years.

This particular Mother’s Day started out with breakfast in bed, complete with a homemade chocolate paprika drink infused with basil and rosemary, concocted by my peeps as an original recipe to commemorate the occasion. After receiving my adorable notes (I have always saved every single one of them) and choking down the celebratory drink, I meandered into the basement to collect my keepsake bin.

The rancid, eye-stinging smell hit me like the sharp corner of a coffee table. Once the tears cleared slightly, I noticed the river of “water” on the floor. Reflexively. I began my investigative process, when it dawned on me that it was Mother’s Day and my husband was home!

I calmly walked up the steps, keepsake bin tucked under my arm, and casually mentioned that there was a funny odor in the basement. A short while later my husband headed into the basement clad in his “I mean business” pants (army green cargos circa Clinton, maybe Bush 41). These pants only come out when there is a serious house matter that needs to be handled. (I don’t have a uniform for serious tasks, but thinking about it now, maybe I should have my own “frock of intimidation.” Let’s not go there in my family-oriented column, though. Who knows WHAT images that could inspire.)

The background noise of a toilet flushing upstairs was followed by a sound in the walls that I can only describe as a very enraged jackhammer that was hell-bent on demolishing the structural integrity of our home.

My fight or flight response kicked in, and I shamefully admit that the benchwarmer of human responses won: complete physical paralysis. Did I grab my children and protectively usher them out of the house seeking safety? Nope. I stood there staring blankly at them, hoping they were better equipped for taking action than I was. The roar of some spraying-type of explosion followed, whose sound was somehow drowned out by a harrowing wail from my husband.

The cargo-attired love of my life emerged from the basement covered and dripping from head-to-toe in a wet brown paste of muck and slime. My brain rapidly recounted the previous moments like a montage of video clips: the flush, the reverberating jackhammer behind the wall, the explosion, the shriek of horror, then the image before me. Oh my God. The sewage pipe had detonated a massive #!@$ bomb all over my husband.

At this realization, I was dangerously balancing on the precipice of restraint and hysteria when, with lips pursed together so tightly they could have been Gorilla Glued, my husband began speaking like a ventriloquist with uncanny enunciation. “I can’t open my mouth. Help.”

What followed was not my finest moment, trying to aid a person in such obvious need, while laughing so hard that I was forced to take, not one, but two toilet breaks (without flushing, of course).

Once Cargo Man was decontaminated from all infectious diseases and radioactive matter, he spoke. The communication was this, and I am paraphrasing here. “Go. Save yourselves.”

My knight in !#!& armor sent us off to our lovely brunch, absolutely insisting I go and not stay to help (I swear I offered). So, I did as any wife of 16 years with three children, who had handled her fair share of house and family catastrophes by herself would do. I left my husband with a bottle of bleach and a pair of rubber gloves to deal with the aftermath of the crap volcano in the basement, while I sipped on a Mother’s Day mimosa with our children.

That meal was one of the best bonding experiences I have ever had with my kids, and the best Mother’s Day gift. We dissected the incident play-by-play and constantly had to massage our cheeks from laughing so hard. This is when I realized that no matter the stage of our mother/child journey, we were always going to have this moment, this priceless experience of inconceivable comedy to bring us back to common ground.

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