Sunday, June 20, 2010


Okay, so you are probably thinking that we should have called in an expert after yesterday's unfortunate discovery of fecal matter on the lawn. No, we did not. "Maybe it's a weird aberration!" we thought. Surly Miguel, the guy who cuts lawns in the neighborhood, had come by to give his assessment.

"Plug up that hole!" said Surly Miguel. Maybe a well-placed flowerpot atop the site of the extrusion would serve to prettify the area and prevent further blowouts! Anyway, we mixed a drink and ignored it, in the manner of the ostrich. Maybe the problem would just go away and prevent us from spending multibajillions of dollars to fix it.

So this morning I returned from the gym, where I was attempting to cut off further panic attacks at their source. I was feeling better, quite better! "I might turn the corner on this thing," I thought. Then I came up the driveway and saw It. The hole had belched forth a wide swath of effluvium, vastly trumping yesterday's horrors. The turds were not cute, nor were they small. I began to hyperventilate.

Several neighborhood boys were playing soccer on our lawn, as is the accepted way on our street where no private property is sacred. They seemed innocent and playful.

"Dudes!" I yelled. "Did you not see the big pile of poop?"

One of the boys said: "Yeah, we saw that. Pretty gross. I think the soccer ball went through it."

"Maybe, just maybe," I said, while trying to suck down some air, "you should take your game elsewhere."

"Yah, disgusting!" yelled the boys.

"I'm going to have a panic attack," I said to the boys, who are all about 12 years old. "Help! Help! What should I do with this?"

One of the boys thought most carefully, and then said: "I would get a shovel and scoop it all up and put it in a bag."

"Thank you," I said, most gratefully. Donning rubber gloves, I followed his instructions to the letter. Before I did so, however, I went next door to the neighbor to see if he knew a respectable type of Roto-Rooter fellow.

"I don't know who to call!" he said, clearly horrified. "But maybe you could call the police?"

I found the yellow pages, which I have never used for any reason. Right on the back was a big ad for the Drain Doctor, which advertised 24/7 emergency service. "I have raw sewage on my lawn," I told the Drain Doctor. "I think this qualifies as an emergency?"

While waiting for the Drain Doctor, my middle son ran to me in a fright. "Mommy, there's a big dead bird under the swing!"

I meant to give the bird a decent burial, but he got tossed into the Poo-Sack with everything else.

And then one of the neighborhood boys came back. "Hey, I forgot to tell you that there's a poop in the middle of the lawn, too." It had been stepped on by the soccer players and smeared through the grass.

"How did that get there?!"

"Must of gotten tossed through the air through that pipe. I'll bet it flew like a bird!"

I went and found the poop, which was clearly of animal origin. This poop was the kicker, for it was so foul that I started dry-heaving and stumbling over the grass. I came within a hairsbreadth of vomiting. Father's day was not going well! I had meant to give my husband a Father's day gift, but since he was off playing sport, his absence during this event was indeed the best gift I could have given him.

Various other neighbors came by. One of them poked a stick down into the hole, while tromping through the muck and doody and stompling at it with his shoes. My two-year-old ran up with a trowel, hoping to help, and then saw the puddle of doom which had been produced when we "tested" the toilet by flushing it. "Puddle!" he yelled, and jumped into it with both feet.

Then the Drain Doctor guy came. He saved our lives and charged us a good price. The day ended better than it had begun. Except for the dead bird--it's still dead.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Up From the Ground Come A-Bubbling...Turds?

I've had a pretty rough week that included panic attacks so severe that I had to put down the phone during a conference call, lie down on the bathroom floor, and breathe into a paper bag. So yesterday, when my husband came to me and said he had "something to show me," I became strangely and erroneously excited. Perhaps what he intended to show me was something nice, like a bunny rabbit in the garden wearing a circlet of daisies around its head, or a bag of diamonds.

It was not something nice.

Since we have moved into our 1890 Victorian house, we have discovered all manner of interesting goodies left behind by the former owners. Our idealistic sensibilities have been damaged by a serious dearth of cash and gold doubloons, treasures which we assumed would simply drop out of the ceiling tiles at surprising moments, or cascade into our arms when we peeled back the hideous wallpaper. My pal in Mahopac is always finding cool stuff on his property, like Native American artifacts and gravestones. We find things like human faeces.

Since that 2008 post, we have unearthed the following:
1. A tarnished spoon
2. Two very old bottles buried in the garden (pretty cool, actually, but yet another painful reminder of all the historic stuff that the former owners destroyed and mangled)
3. A few tattered paperdolls in a crawlspace under the stairs
4. 6 undamaged--and empty--cardboard toothpaste boxes from the 1970s (I sure forgot what the old Crest branding used to look like, and boy was I glad to see it again)
5. A can of "genuine Florida sunshine" in the rafters of the basement (It fell out on my head while I was doing laundry and almost gave me a melanoma)
6. Two perfectly pristine turds, and their accompanying toilet paper, resting near a small pipehole in the front yard

Ah, this last find was the most startling, I must say! For months, we had wondered just why this pipe existed. It lies flush with the ground in the grass next to our walkway, and the cap on it has a small hole in the center about two inches in diameter. Sometimes the boys poke sticks into it, and we can see water glimmering below. I had a theory at one point that it once housed a flagpole. Until yesterday, it was an interesting little mystery.

While walking past it, our nanny heard an ominous gurgling and bubbling sound, concurrent with shower, dishwasher, and toilet usage within the house. Later, she discovered that "something" had been tossed up with some force from the pipe's aperture. My husband was beckoned, and bent over to view just what it was. "Those are...turds," he said, with some evident lack of pleasure. A few shiny flies buzzed up and confirmed the diagnosis. Then he glanced down at his sandals. The sidewalk next to the pipe, where he was standing, was puddled with what appeared to be "water" but clearly wasn't just "water."

My middle child was fingered as the former owner of the offending objects, given away by his size and for the fact that it was he who sat upon the pot before the earth began gurgling and released its foul offering. He denied it, of course: "My little brother has the smallest poops in the house because HE is the smallest! So those are his turds." His argument had a fatal flaw, as the youngest and the potty have not yet become acquainted.

We noted with some relief that the aperture in the pipe, being the small size that it is, would prevent some of the potential "larger items" from escape. But then my husband shook his head with a sad and portentous expression. "Whatever force shot those turds up outta that hole, it's pretty powerful. I think almost anything might get pushed right through. Boom!"

It could become our own Old Faithful, finally making us rich through tourism dollars. I hope that the wee, sweet bunny rabbit is not in the area when she blows again.