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I’m Afraid of the Toilet

It’s true! I’m afraid to step foot in my bathroom, much less use the toilet for fear it may drown me.

Can you say hello bushes?

Hello bushes.

And can you say hi to the nice man at the 24-hour gas station down the street?

Hello nice gas station man at the 24-hour gas station down the street.

Everything was peachy all summer long until this happened…Click on the arrow…

That’s when the downstairs toilet took on a life of its own, complete with gurgling sound effects! It’s as if a monster moved into the sewer pipe.

Now what? How could I possibly get a plumber to kill it on such short notice? The answer is, you don’t. Next coupla days, maybe even tomorrow, sure, but not today, Lady.

Great. Now what? Time to channel my inner Girl Scout, that’s what.

La, la, la.

Don’t look now while I pee on the daisies.

At least the kids are gone, otherwise I never would’ve gotten away with it.

“That’s disgusting Mom,” they’d say.

“What do you expect me to do? Drive all the way to the gas station every time I have to pee? I have work to do.  I don’t have time for this except when it’s important, if you know what I mean!”

But they wouldn’t be home for another day, meaning I could get away with it until the plumber came.

Back in the house, I smelled something like rotten eggs but didn’t think a lot of it. I looked at the dogs accusingly. They looked back at me wide-eyed.

“Ok, which one of you did it?” I asked, surveying the floor for a little surprise package. Only there was none.


I opened cabinets.

Nothing gross in there.

I looked through the fridge for dead food.




A few hours later, the smell had become unbearable. Only now I knew exactly where it was coming from –the basement.

That’s when I opened the door and was greeted by this. (WARNING: This photo is completely disgusting!)


You name it, whatever my neighbors flushed down their toilets ended up on my basement floor, including… are you ready for this? T-shirts, diapers, a paint brush, two metal hangars, tin foil, tampons, even a fishing bobber… Wait, is that a baby stroller? (Just kidding!)

It took the plumber less than 10 minutes to reach my door this time. I guess having four inches of raw sewage on the floor constitutes a true emergency, grumbling toilet aside. Soon, two village officials and the police were there too. The police? Really? The plumber called the police?

Yes, really. The plumber called the police. You see, when he lifted the manhole cover on the street in front of my house, it was backed up almost to the rim. We’re talking eight feet of raw sewage water! If it blew, there would be no stopping it. I could be looking at a tsunami of human hazard going you know where–directly into my basement.

The plumber looked scared. The officials looked scared. Even the police officer looked scared.

It was like waiting for an ambulance to come with everyone nervously counting the seconds like hours.

I actually hugged the guy from the catch drain and drain cleaning company.

It only took about 10 minutes for him to do his thing — pump the excess water into the tank on the truck and clear the pipe.

drain truck

It was now only a small emergency, not a giant one.


First things, first. The insurance company hired a professional cleaning crew to attack the basement. A lot of stuff got damaged and thrown away but these are only things, I decided.  I was just so happy to have four inches instead of eight feet of “stuff” that nothing else mattered.

Next was figuring out what to do with the culprit– this giant tree in the side yard.


Its roots had grown into the sewage pipe which was apparently my responsibility to fix. Ah, the joys of homeownership.

A mere $2,700 later, not including the $2,500 insurance deductible, we were back in business.

Cover photo credit: Toplessrobot.com


  1. Ginger says:

    Holy shit. This was funny!!! Laura, you are the best.

  2. Mel Goldstein says:

    Laura, sorry for your sewer troubles. From now on it should be clear sailing (or flushing).