“Stacy…what did you do to the toilet?” My mother asked.
“Huh?” I said from the living room, knowing perfectly well I was in for it. Maybe if I acted innocent the toilet would fix itself.
“Come in here. RIGHT NOW!” Yep, I was finished. Unless I knew a plumber and could get him to my house and somehow magically stop time, my mom was going to kick my ass.
My day had started off innocently enough. It was Spring Break. I was 11 years old. My mother had gone to work, and I had the house ALL. TO. MYSELF. I watched some TV, ate some cereal, but then the boredom snuck in. Humm…what to do? What to do? Then I saw it out of the corner of my eye. My mother’s sewing machine. I’ve always wanted to learn to sew, I thought. Today would be a great day for that. My mother’s sewing machine wasn’t just any old sewing machine – this baby was top of the line. My mother took her sewing very seriously and I was about to embark on a journey. A journey into the world of fashion. If she could sew wonderfully beautiful clothes then surely I could as well, right? So I opened that bad boy up.
It was a freestanding sewing machine made to look like a table. You opened the top from front to back, just like you were opening a book. Then there was another piece of polished oak that swung out to the left. The sewing machine itself was inside. Pull the machine up, click it into place, and you’re good to go. I had seen my mom do it so many times, I could’ve set that puppy up in my sleep. I quickly ran to her room where she kept all her fabric. Surely she wouldn’t mind me borrowing some. I was going to make a masterpiece!
I came back, sat down at the machine, and put the fabric under the needle. I pressed the foot press and that sucker took off like a bat out of hell! I thought my hand was going to become one with the machine. Now the fabric starting getting bunched up and was getting eaten by the underside of the machine. Oh, the foot press! The foot press! That’s right I can just take my foot off the foot press and everything will be all right. I took my foot off and everything was not all right. The needle was stuck down inside the machine and the material had jammed the whole thing up. I had just broken my mother’s baby. I might as well have killed her dog. She was going to be livid!
I was in a whole lot of trouble. But that trouble wasn’t coming home for at least 6 hours, and guilt can only keep a pre-adolescent entertained for so long. In the meantime, I was bored. What to do now? Experiments! Did you know that if you pour really cheap perfume in a bowl, put your hand in the bowl and then light your hand on fire, your hand will burn for approximately 5-7 seconds before you will feel anything? I do! However, I recommend doing this in the kitchen so that you are close to a sink. Safety first, people.
But pyromania is only so fun, and I eventually ran out of perfume. So I found my mom’s Donna Summer tapes and lip synched in front of the mirror for a while until I had to pee. That’s when I encountered the $150.00 spider. The reason I call it that, was because that’s how much it cost my mom to replace the toilet. But I’m getting ahead of myself. My mom made it home from work eventually, which led to the following exchange:
“Stacy…what did you do to the toilet?” My mother asked.
I came around the corner and there she was, standing on a pile of towels, flushing the toilet and watching water shoot out the side.
“Huh?” I asked again, hoping feigned ignorance would save me.
“What… did you do… to the toilet?” she asked again. This time there was more rage than question in her voice.
“I killed a spider.” I told her very matter of factly.
She just sighed and talked slower, “Yes, but what did that have to do with the toilet?”
“Well,” I started to explain, “The spider was on the floor and I sprayed him with Raid. He just wouldn’t die! So I kept spraying him.”
She nodded her head slowly, obviously having no idea where I was going with this.
“…And spraying him, and spraying him…”
“I get the point,” she snapped. “Then what happened?”
“Well, he FINALLY died,” I said, with the drama only an 11-year-old girl can produce.
“I tried to clean him up with toilet paper but there was too much Raid.” I said.
Now she was just mesmerized. She never could have known that a story about a broken toilet could be this detailed. The look on her face was part rage, part disbelief, and part curiosity. But she sat there, patiently waiting, and let me continue.
“So the toilet paper wasn’t working, and that’s when I got the paper towels.”
She just sighed and stared up into heaven as if somehow God was going to come down and fix her toilet.
“I tried to flush the paper towels…”
“How many paper towels did you have?” she asked.
“I don’t know…6. Maybe 7. ANYWAY that’s when the toilet started to overflow, and started to run onto the floor.”
My mother looked like she wanted to say something but had decided against it. It was probably something like “I’m pretty sure you’re not mine, and I think the nurses switched you at the hospital.” Good thing she kept that to herself.
“So,” I continued, “I took the top off the back of the toilet and it slipped out of my hand, hit the side of the bowl, and broke the bowl. That’s why water shoots out of it every time you flush it.”
I finished my revelation with a big smile on my face like I had just solved a murder mystery. Needless to say, she wasn’t as impressed with my detective work as I was. Life as I knew it…was over. I spent the rest of Spring Break grounded, in the house, but never bored. Trust me.
Do you know how many working parts there are in a lawn mower? I do!
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