It was an ordinary day of cleaning in my attempt to get to house under control. Things were going as expected: I was working hard, the children, not so much. But there was a sense of accomplishment in the air. Dirt and germs were under attack and I was winning the war, baby.
Until I started cleaning the toilet.
I have cleaned this toilet many, many times and never had a problem. Until now. It started as a normal, toilet-cleaning experience. Blue clingy stuff was squirted and sliding down the inside of the bowl. The toilet brush was in hand, ready for action. I attacked. Scrub, scrub, scrub. Swish, swish, swish. But there was some stubborn staining on the very bottom, right where the water flushes out. Toilet-cleaning had been passed on to the kids lately and this area apparently hadn’t received as much attention as it should have. This, I thought, needed some extra toughness and scrubbing.
I launched at the aforementioned trouble spot with a vengeance. This toilet was going get clean. Maybe I was putting a bit too much elbow grease into it. Maybe it was the awkward angle of scrubbing. Maybe it was the poor quality of the toilet brush construction. Whatever the cause, whatever the reason, the bristle head of the toilet bowl brush lodged in the hole and the handle broke off.
My mood was already a bit grumpy due to lack of enthusiasm from the kids about participating in this cleaning day. Now, to see part of the toilet brush stuck in the toilet really pissed me off (excuse the pun).
Even though I had mostly cleaned the toilet and flushed it a time or two, there was still the ick-factor at the thought of sticking my hand in the toilet. I shoved those thoughts aside and plunged my hand into the clear water to retrieve the head of the toilet bowl brush. Or, should I say, to ATTEMPT to retrieve the head of the toilet bowl brush. That sucker was stuck in there and not budging. Still holding the empty handle in my other hand, I decided to use it to pry the stuck object . I only succeeded in pushing it further into the drain. In fact, I pushed it so far down that I could no long see the blue and white bristles.
CRAP! (Yes, pun intended again.) Now I started to panic. How was I going to get this thing out? Would I have to hire a plumber to fix this?
Closing the bathroom door behind me, I sternly announce to the children to NOT, under any circumstances use the toilet. Being a one-bathroom household, I feared someone going in there, doing his/her business, and not being able to flush the contents down, making this task even less pleasant (to say the least).
I went to the kitchen then returned to bathroom with something I hoped would help me extract the stuck toilet bowl brush from the toilet: grill tongs. Frankly, I couldn’t remember the last time we actually used them so I didn’t mind so much sticking them in the toilet. Surely, I thought, this would do the trick. The long handle, the pinching action of the tongs… I was already congratulating myself for this brilliant idea before I even walked through the bathroom door. The premature celebration turned sour as soon as the tongs touched the toilet water. The handle was too long and I couldn’t maneuver the tongs through the turn at the bottom of the toilet bowl.
OK, time for a new plan. Again, I left the bathroom and sternly announced to the children to NOT use the toilet. They could tell by looking at me that I was serious. My face was sweaty and flushed (yep, I had to put in another pun) and my eyes were wild with frustration and anger. The tone I my voice told them I meant business.
After a trip to the garage to fetch some pliers from my husband’s toolbox, I went back to the toilet with a new resolve. Surely, this HAD to work. And it did! Not as easily as I expected, as it took several tries to dislodge the stuck toilet bowl brush. Oh, what a triumphant moment when I pulled those dripping wet bristles from the water! Once again, I congratulated myself, this time it was well-earned. The best part about the ordeal? The toilet bowl got really clean, even in those hard to reach places!
Several hours later, I was relaxing, telling my husband about my toilet war. I was proud of myself for not giving up when the problem arose. I kept working at it, solved the problem, and now had a nice, clean, toilet. The sense of satisfaction I felt for seeing the job through to completion was broken when the Princess came in to see me.
“Mom…” she said timidly with legs crossed. “Can I use the bathroom now?” Oops. I guess I forgot to tell the kids the bathroom was back in business.