Sitting down to write a post without a specific topic in mind is a little too reminiscent of English class in middle school. I never felt like I had anything of value to say. No insights worth documenting. And I sure as shit didn’t enjoy re-writing everything about a million times or trying to elaborate on nonsense points. No one actually cared what I thought about The Odyssey. I didn’t even care what I thought. (Maybe because I read the Cliff’s Notes. Maybe because I was a teenager.)
When writing entries for the blog, I’m generally convinced that there are about ten family members who make up the entire list of readers. And that would be enough for me, because mostly I’m doing this for myself (because I’m selfish like that). Recently though, a bunch of you subscribed and that BLEW MY MIND. Some of you even said that you enjoy my writing and I still can’t believe it. So now the pressure is on. How do I keep all of you entertained?
How about a story about toilets?
One upon a time, after purchasing Small World, it made sense to become live-aboards. Paying for rent and moorage didn’t seem like a great way to save money. So during the summer of 2013, we hopped aboard and officially started questioning our sanity. In October of 2015, we moved ashore into a townhouse with some amazing friends. The plan was to live on land for some of the crummy months and it would allow some of the intensive project work to be done without having to live in the mess of it all. It turned into living on land for 9 months and we only moved back on board the day the dock lines we cut to head out. In that time, the toilets on the boat didn’t get used a single time. Apparently, that was a terrible decision.
As a bit of background, we have two heads (bathrooms) on the boat. The one in the aft cabin is for #2. The one in the bow is for #1. When I explain this, it sounds a bit… anal retentive… but we figured that since we installed the holding tank in the forward head, and it had never had any poop in it, why not keep it that way? There are too many stories about plumbing mishaps, and the fewer opportunities for shit storms inside the boat, the better. So now you know.
A couple days into the trip, I was flushing the forward head (#1) and instead of the pee going down as you might expect, it exploded upward in an attempt to outdo Old Faithful. (This is about to get even more personal.) Waaaaaayyyyy more came out of the toilet than I put in. I already don’t want to be covered in urine. But I really, really don’t want to be covered in old, fermented urine (that’s not even all mine) mixed with salt water. In the moment all I could do was gasp (maybe not the best reaction) and stand there in shock. I couldn’t even respond when Craig asked what happened. After snapping out of it, I peeled off the clothes that were now contaminated and threw them outside in the rain. I couldn’t take a shower, because the forward head IS the shower. Saint Craig was cleaning it all up (he’s a nurse – no gag reflex) and I gave myself a bath with hand sanitizer and baby wipes, wondering how I could fuck-up something as simple as flushing the toilet. I can’t believe I’m telling you all of this.
Craig tried to figure out what caused the geyser and I declared the aft head (#2) off limits until we could make sure that the same thing didn’t happen back there. During the troubleshooting process, two additional explosions happened. Every time, Craig thought it had been fixed and the cleaning was already done. He assured me that something was wrong with the system, not the way that I flushed. But that didn’t really make me feel better and it certainly didn’t make the boat smell any better. For the record, the smell was overwhelming and defeating. Living in a small space is hard enough without old trips to the bathroom coming back to haunt you and burn your nostrils.
Just before Brian and Leah arrived for a visit, the godawful smell had finally dissipated. Or I just got used to it… which is just disturbing. Teaching our guests how to use the toilets was a bit nerve wracking. Because nothing ruins an anniversary celebration vacation weekend like plumbing disasters. (Thanks for being good sports, you two!) In the end, I told them that we would flush for them if needed. This is (apparently) boat life. Flushing for your friends and being ready to lay down on the urine grenade.
Some of you are probably shocked that I didn’t stop to take a photo during all of this for the sake of the blog. To be honest, so am I. But the head is still acting a little strange (Craig is currently fighting it as I type), so you might just get your wish.
Did you see that photo? I was ready to document. Just for you.