In the interest of full disclosure, for today’s post I am going to amend my last one with a comment from Derrick. I feel that as the bearer-of-the-brunt of the Great Flood, he at least deserves to have his story told straight.
(That, and we’re packing and organizing and getting ready to move and I really don’t have time to be on the computer and I’m using today’s format as a total cop-out.)
Tomorrow, I will deliver another story.
Possibly including strippers.
Depends on how serious I am about getting ready for Sunday.
In the meantime: enjoy!
In my last two posts, I’ve told you about the second building we managed, which was in the glittering (not) Gateway District of East Portland. Today I will share with you a fond memory that took place in the first building we managed, which was in the (truly) beautiful neighborhood of downtown Lake Oswego.
This building was actually quite pretty, and we had some good times managing it. One of the best, though, was the night the basement flooded. With water, did you assume? No, no, my friends. With poop.
You see, just below our “Managers” quarters sat a peculiar little basement apartment-of-sorts. It was basically one large, square room with a linoleum floor, freestanding shower in the center (no wall. no curtain.) and a large rough white basin for a sink with a broken mirror over it. I think Rocky Balboa may have trained there once. It was that kind of place. The room usually remained empty, as we did not rent it out. It was some kind of secret hunker that existed for what purpose we knew not. Much like Wonka’s factory, nobody ever went in, and nobody ever went out.
One day, however, our boss Mike showed up on our step and informed us that he would be moving into the basement apartment for an undetermined period of time. He did not tell us why, but we gathered from context clues that it had something to do with a wife and a fight. Mike was Jack’s contemporary in profession (a liason between us and the owner), but Jack’s exact opposite in background, wealth, and personal grooming. He was a nice enough guy, though, and we didn’t mind having him underfoot.
A few nights after he arrived we were getting ready for bed when the phone rang, followed by Mike’s frustrated pleas for some help with “a problem” downstairs. Derrick quickly dressed and rushed down to see what was wrong. (Have I mentioned lately how glad I am not to be a man?)
I sat in bed reading for awhile when Derrick came back, bursting through the door. I asked him what was going on.
“Oh my gosh, it’s so gross, it’s so gross, it’ssoooogrooosss!! Ewww, it’s disgusting!!”
“What? What is disgusting? Tell me!”
“Jen, the whole sewer backed up and it’s all floating on Mike’s floor! It’s creeping up the walls!”
“What do you mean, the ‘sewer?’”
“I mean, the sewer! The toilet! Right now there’s six inches of urine, toilet paper and turds floating around Mike’s bed and suitcases. He had thrown some clothes and stuff on the floor, and it’s all covered in feces. Oh my gosh, it’ssogross, it’ssogross, it’ssoooogrooosss!!” At this point my husband was starting to sound like a girl, but I didn’t blame him. Shaking his head with clamped lips, Derrick put on some boots and went back downstairs to begin the lengthy process of stopping the flooding and cleaning it up. (I, of course, had to stay upstairs with the baby.) (see pp. #5, sentence #3. So glad.)
Two hours later Derrick returned and said that Mike would be needing to sleep on our floor for the night. I said that was fine, even thought our apartment was 700 square feet with only a paper-thin screen door separating our bedroom from the living room. But I felt sorry for Mike, so Derrick went to get the air mattress so Mike would sleep more comfortably on our hardwood floor.
The problem? We had only one way to blow up said mattress, which was with the same wet vac that had just been used in reverse suction to inhale the turd-floats. We looked at the hard floor and the limp mattress. We looked at each other. What could we do?
We dumped the slop out of the vacuum, swished a little water through it, and pumped up that mattress. I found some blankets and started making up the bed, which now smelled like an outhouse.
“Is Mike okay?” I asked him. “This must be so embarrassing for him.” Derrick gave me a puzzled look.
“You know, he actually seems fine. He’s just upset that he’s missing Dave Letterman.”
“What do you mean?”
“Yeah, he just keeps saying over and over, ‘I’m missing Letterman. I gotta get this done so I can watch Letterman. I can’t go to sleep without watching Letterman’ It’s weird.”
“That is weird.” Weird…ya think??
Nonetheless, Mike knocked on our door a few minutes later–changed but not showered (have mercy!)–and gruffly thanked us for use of our floor as he swept past and made himself at home on the air mattress. He looked around for the remote and in an instant Tonight’s Top Ten list was blaring against our walls. At first I thought he barely spoke to us because he was humiliated; a fifty-year old man wading in someone else’s waste, what could be worse? But watching him laugh cheerfully along with the late-night comic, I realized that I was judging someone else by my own value system. He couldn’t have cared less about the poo. He really did just want to watch Letterman.
I’m glad we were able to help him out with that. The next morning, we burned the air mattress.
Jen has uncharacteristically forgotten a couple of details:
The sewer main in front of our complex was actually crushed by roots from a very large oak tree. So … Mike’s apartment wasn’t only the lowest point in our apartment complex. No. His, was the lowest point for 6–7 city blocks. That meant, when ever old lady Harris flushed her toilet (2–3 blocks away) it ended up in Mikes apartment.
Also, we aren’t talk ing about an over flowing toilet like the one caused by a flushed tennis ball. No. I’m talk ing about an eruption that leaves human feces plastered all over the ceiling (no kidding). It was really … errr … spectacular (if that’s the right word?). — sorry about the gross visual.
Also, lest some of you refuse to ever shake my hand again. I didn’t actually end up cleaning up the place. We called a professional HAZMAT crew. Again, no kidding.
Now … I wish Jen would move past the gross stories about human waste and placentas. I fear some might think I had my family living in less than desireable locations. Instead, I think she should move on to stories about the apartment complex that housed most of the ‘cast’ from the Boom Boom Room (the local strip club).