Saturday September 22, 2012. I roll over and check the clock. It’s 6:12 am and I’m debating to myself if I have to go to the bathroom that bad. It’s too risky. The sound of me getting up, doing my biz, then returning to bed, is a chance I’m not willing to take. I wait. I try to force myself back to sleep. The covers are pulled tightly to my neck. I squeeze. The stupid neighbor’s dog barks. I begin a cost/benefit analysis. If I go to the bathroom now, I’m up for the day. The boys are going to tear through that door anyway, so why bother. The risk of uromycotysis is too great. But the possibility of 20-30 minutes more sleep is also appealing. It’s so rare that they sleep past 6 am. Did the toilet just flush? I know I heard it. My mind races as I add more pressure by trying not to think of a waterfall. Just go to sleep. I think of Iraq Jason who thought nothing of peeing in a closely stowed bottle. The toilet is mocking me from behind the door. The light invites me. The covers are warm. My heart beats faster as sweat beads form. I throw my covers at Lacey and my jealousy of her joyous slumber enrages me. The toilet again flushes. Lacey surely heard it too. Yet she acts as though she’s asleep. The fact that she knows that I know she’s acting as if she is asleep causes confusion. Why would she act asleep? Is she mocking me as well? Does she think my plight is some joke?
I cry out,”Why do you mock me toilet?” It responds with a calm, antagonistic flush.
I curse under my breath as I check my watch. 6:14. Two minutes? Why did that last glass of milk have to be full? If its bovine goodness hadn’t been so sweet, I’d be enjoying this “late” Saturday morning instead of suffering this torture. Lacey is enjoying her sleep. Again, another flush. Lacey exhales and I’m sure she snickered. Why is this funny to her? Does she not know of uromycotysis? The sprinklers come on. This isn’t the correct time. This certainly is the work of the toilet. Did I not clean you enough? Why do you haunt me toilet? Panic sets in. I cannot continue and the toilet knows it. It reminds me, taunts me.
As I am starting to spin into full Tell-Tale Heart mode, my insanity is stunted by two boys at full sprint infiltrating our room.
Lacey rolls my way and asks,”Give me two hours now and you can get two hours later.” Her voice sounds like a mixture of Darth Vader, Bane, and lead singer of AC/DC after an all night bender. The fact that she’s bargaining means she serious. That fact that I think she’s bargaining, makes me cute to her. I comply, because it really wasn’t a request. My watch is set for 8:32 and I will forcibly enforce if need be.
The next hour or so is a haze. Coffee, cereal, requests for cosmic brownies. The boys remove all of the couch cushions. The octonauts run on loop. I drink my second cup of coffee. Train sets are brought to the living room. The couch cushions create a great landing pad on the floor. Third cup. Carson squeals. Grant laughs in a sinister manner and I remark that his mannerisms are similar to Denzel Washington’s character in Training Day when he speaks of King Kong
Callie is awakened by all the noise and has a surprise waiting in her diaper. The disappointment is quite noticeable when I learn it isn’t a toaster. Shortly after, Lacey emerges from our room well rested and more than ready to carpe diem. Not really. She nods my way as if to say,”Hey dog, thanks for the solid. I’ll let you watch the game in peace yo.” I nod back, accepting her proposal. Mountain Dew at 8:30 is her drug of choice. She settles into the couch and assumes the expression of haze I had two hours prior.
The turd, I mean game, reaches its completion. Lacey and I revisit a promise made earlier in the week. For some strange reason, our boys love the pastime of bowling. I was indifferent on the sport until I saw my boys faces light up with enough energy to power our house. But from a child’s perspective, bowling is the opposite of what parents tell them is acceptable. It’s loud. Heavy orbs are hurled at objects to disrupt order. The more chaos, the better. Congealed cheese product is served as a delicacy when combined with stale corn chips. Pop/soda/coke are okay. It’s a playground of taboo.
The bowling was what I expected. Strike, strike, spare for me. Six pound spheres attempting to bounce their way down the lane for the boys. The stern look from the counter with every impact is burning a hole in the back of my head. I cringe every time my 45 inch kid projects the six pound ball from his shoulder. It lands with a clank that tests the durability of the lane. All in all, a fairly standard Crutchfield bowling experience. Minus the bathroom excursion with Grant.
After our first game, Grant announces that his digestive processes have culminated. This is of no shock to me because the restroom facilities are in the “Perfect Storm” of disease and pestilence. First of all, it’s a bowling alley. We thoughtlessly strap on shoes that just minutes ago were worn by someone who could have been nursing a good case of janeway lesions. Next, we grab a ball that some freakishly awkward 13 year old, with large, impetigo ridden hands, just used to bowl a 92, while flipping his head back to keep his ridiculous Justin Bieber bangs out of his face. His zit-faced girlfriend thinks about how dreamy he is as she slathers ointment on her hands for the tungiasis she is battling. Next we order french fries and nachos…
My point: The bowling alley is gross. Now plop a restroom in the middle of it and you’ll understand why I knew Grant would have to go. The “Perfect Storm”.
Grant and I enter the lair of gross. I tell him repeatedly not to touch anything. I sanitize the seat as best I can. The questioning begins.
“Grant, just poo?”
“Just poo dad.”
“Are you sure?”
I put him on the poorly sanitized throne. A burst of urine strikes my tacky bowling footwear. Grant laughs. I remind him that he just informed me that his intentions were for a number two only. He doesn’t respond. The process continues. I remind him again not to touch anything. We begin the basic game of ninja hands, in which I am slapping his hands as he tries (and has moderate success) to touch everything.
After what seemed like an eternity in the petri dish (<;5 min), Grant completes his biz. I move him to the sink to begin decontamination. I'm not a ridiculous germaphobe, but I thought starting at the shoulder and working my way down to the hands was the best strategy, until I could run him through the car wash. As I'm scrubbing the left inner tricep of my middle child, I catch a glimpse of the image in the mirror. I stop. I stare. The image smiles, then laughs.
In this moment, I want nothing more than a Delorean equipped with a flux capacitor. I want to take the image that just laughed at me in the mirror and show it to my 24 year old self. He wouldn't believe me. He doesn't even know Lacey Howard. And laughing about getting his shoes peed on is out of the question. This isn't how my 24 year old self would envision an awesome Saturday.
And he'd be wrong.