It was Christmas morning and I was a new bride merely in the first few days of our honeymoon. We had arrived to Georgia a couple of days before to celebrate the holidays with Matt’s extended family. We were all sitting at the restaurant that Matt’s grandparents owned, enjoying a sumptuous breakfast of sausage, eggs, grits, and biscuits when I felt it.
At first, it was just mere whispers but soon it had turned to loud thundering and carrying on. My stomach was working overtime after a week of eating meals on the road and the last two days of being served good ol’ southern food by the buckets.
You see, when I travel my stomach does not fare well but usually I struggle with the inability to make use of the restroom (I know, this is way more than you wanted to know about me, but I have a point, so bear with me, please) and we had been traveling for several days now.
Matt and I got married the week before Christmas and, poor as we were, we decided not to take a fancy honeymoon but instead travel leisurely from Missouri to Georgia, to spend Christmas with Matt’s family. It was a wonderful week. We stopped in Saint Louis and watched a snow storm from our hotel suite. We paid our respects to King Elvis in Graceland. We visited New Orleans and ate many dinners to the sound of live jazz. We froze while touching the beaches of Panama City, Florida. All before we made it Georgia to Mamaw and Grant’s house where the rest of the family was waiting for us.
So by Christmas morning I was overdue for a time spent on "the throne."
I made my way quietly to the main house, just a few feet away from the restaurant, to find some place where I could be alone with my rumbling tummy. I got to the only bathroom in the house, settled comfortably, had a good talk with my porcelain friend and then, when I tried to flush, well, that’s when all hell broke loose.
You must remember there were about twenty people who had been using that bathroom for the last couple of days. So that day I drew the lucky number. To spare you the details I will only say I had the need for a simple, basic tool with a wooden handle and a rubber head. None was found in that bathroom.
I began to hyperventilate at the thought of asking Matt for help.
Why such drama?, you might ask. Well, to understand the depth of my despair you need to know that I am phobic about using public restrooms to do..ahem…number two. When I went to college the greatest problem I faced as a Freshman was timing when all the girls in the 26 double rooms that shared two bathrooms each with four stalls would be asleep or away so I could use the facilities undisturbed. I spent a whole year setting my alarm at 3 am so I could go in peace. I do not to this day, do public bathrooms when I can avoid it.
And while Matt and I had a courtship of a year and a half, it was the first time we ever spent in such close and intimate proximity, if you catch my drift.
Mortified but in desperate need of a plunger I snuck into the restaurant and hid behind the counter trying to get Matt’s attention without the whole family noticing. He was sitting all the way across the room when he spotted me and, of course, did not come quietly and discreetly as I had hoped. Everyone now was wondering if everything was all right.
He did not know where to find a plunger either, so Mamaw now became involved in helping me. I went back to the house to search for the plunger and successfully located it. But was otherwise unsuccessful in my task of freeing the toilet for further use. So…back to the restaurant I went.
I managed to beckon to Matt before I went running back to the house, into the bathroom and locked the door behind me. He came and knocked on the door to ask what I needed.
“-Can you tell me how to use a plunger, please?”
“-Let me come in and help you, baby.”
“-No! No, please, just tell me how to use a plunger.”
“-Ok, put it into the toilet and push on it. Then let go.”
I tried, and tried and tried. Nothing was happening and I was panicking. Was I going to have to let my new husband in? He had not even seen me use the bathroom yet at that point and now I was going to have to ask him to come and unstop a toilet that was several days overdue?
By now I was sobbing ridiculously and uncontrollably.
“-It’s not woooorking. Oh, Matt, I don’t want you to come iiiiiiiinnnnnn.”
“-Baby, please let me come in and help you.”
Tears streaming down my blushing bride eyes I opened the door and let my sweet husband in. I thought I would never be able to look into his face again when the first thing he did was open the window of the bathroom. It took him a good while to unstop the toilet while I hid behind the closet door in agony.
When we returned to the restaurant the story had spread quickly and the whole family was waiting to express their sympathy and let the jabs begin that I still have to hear every Thanksgiving when we return to Mamaw’s house. The new owners, Matt’s cousin and his wife, have since remodeled the house, although the infamous toilet remains so most years, there is at least one moment when they see me head to the house after a meal and the story is retold.
Why am I telling this embarrassing story with way too much personal information about my digestive habits? Well, I have spent the last few months unstopping my toilet since my five-year-old began to take care of her needs all alone. She does not know what TWO squares are and, since she prefers my toilet over the other three we have (four if you count the broken one in the basement…) I am left to battle with the toilet on a weekly basis. I have become master of the plunger, a five-star general in the unstopping toilets battle. I just wanted to remember my humble beginnings when I let a plunger turn me into a weeping, trembling mess.