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Wednesday, July 4

What I Did On My Holiday

I had a day off yesterday. This was really quite a busy day, so it wasn't really a day off as much as a day away from the office.

Up at the normal time, having not been able to get to sleep until quite late, owing to a blocked toilet, I had an appointment at the doctor's in the morning. I should qualify why the blocked toilet kept me awake. It kept me awake wondering how I was going to get it unblocked, and wondering whether any of the water in its highly elevated (can something be highly elevated?) level was going to drain. On the occasions I got up to check, the answer was "yes, but slowly".

The doctor's appointment was a health check and, apparently, I'm still alive, so yay.

Then I spent some of the morning talking to my builder, some of it on my computer trying to learn some stuff, and the tail end of it getting some lunch and buying a tool to unblock the toilet. You see, the blocked toilet is a bad thing, especially since it was blocked with my own waste, which devoid of water, didn't smell so good. But the opportunity to buy a new tool, especially when that involves a visit to the local tool emporium, is always a good thing. So, swings AND roundabouts.

The tool in question looks a bit like a pump - the sort of pump you might use to inflate a paddling pool - it has a t-shape handle on it and you operate it much like you might operate the old-fashioned plunger on a bomb. In my head, the operation of this tool would be a bit like blowing up the bridge over the river Kwai (did they blow that up? I haven't seen the movie). Boom! bridge gone. In my mind, it would be 1-2-3 and boom, no more poo blockage.

I had a couple of goes with the plunger and soon discovered that I was turning my unpleasantly blocked toilet into an even more unpleasant home-made smoothie. Not good. Nobody wants that. I'd only just had lunch and I didn't want to add more to my pot of despair. So, I put the lid down and got on with the rest of the day.

I had an appointment to keep in the afternoon, which pretty much took the rest of my day away. Then I had to return home to insulate the ceiling in my kitchen. I wasn't sure I had enough insulation material, but I was prepared to find out.

I worked hard at the insulating, realised that I would be a sheet of insulation short of completing and then realised that it was closing time at B&Q. It would have to wait. I used the rest of my insulation, leaving only a small area to do.

Then it was time to deal with the toilet. A poo smoothie is not something you want to be playing with at any time of the day, least of all last thing at night when most of the liquid has drained out of it, leaving something which looks a lot like, but doesn't smell anything at all like, microwaved weetabix. I had to extract the contents of this pot into a bucket in order to give myself a better go at blasting some water down the u-bend with my poo-plunger. To this end, I fashioned a make-shift scoop out of a 500ml bottle of diet coke. My stanley knife helped me make what would be a suitable implement for getting some pick-and-mix, though in this case, nobody would pay £1.65 per 100g of what I was scooping. Indeed, I considered just leaving the house and never returning, instead of bailing out the loo.

You never realise what's in a toilet until you perform this task. There's all kinds of shit in there. Literally. Fully formed mushrooms and sweetcorn... is this too much detail?

Anyway, after the scooping there was a flush and then some more bailing out. I ended up with a bucket full of misery and a toilet which looked more plungable. Desperation and nausea were creeping up on me in equal and convincing quantity. I did some more plunging and then heard a rushing sound. The blockage was gone. I poured my bucket of effluent down the toilet, it went away. I poured the bucket of disinfectant, which I'd been dipping my tools into between goes, into my shit-bucket to rinse it out. Then I poured more down the toilet. It was blocking a bit. More plunging. Then it was sorted. Relief washed over me... coupled with more nausea.

I then set about more rinsing of buckets and pouring down the pan.

Then I got myself a nice hot bucket of disinfectant and I washed the toilet out. I poured the bucket down the pan after it, and then rinsed the bucket some more and poured it away. The floor was mopped with a boiling hot bucket of disinfectant... then the hand-washing could commence.

I'll be honest. There was a moment where everything smelled of poo and I was washing my hands like I had OCD. It was not good. I followed up the hand-washing with some use of the water-free hand-disinfectant... a couple of times.

Then, no longer feeling like I had a problem, but feeling the weight of experiencing the solution, blocking my brain like poo blocks a waste pipe, I got out of the house and went to get some food. I'd given myself a baby-wipe sponge bath to remove all traces of my ceiling insulation exercise and any residual traces of airborne fecal matter...

I don't think I'll ever be the same again. Unblocking the toilet. That's like a "dad" task. That's the job that turns you from a boy into a man. I've done that job... indeed, had I not done certain other "jobs"...

So, days off, eh? Hmmm. What a way to spend your time.


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