so much for the holiday inn

I woke up in Florida this morning after tossing and turning all night long on the most uncomfortable bed I have ever slept on in all my life.  It was like sleeping on the sidewalk in a sleeping bag.  And I will have to do it again tonight. 

Despite my impassioned pleas, we did not stay in a hotel near the beach; we stayed at my husband’s grandmother’s house.  And because she was in the hospital, we slept in her bed.  If I had to sleep in this bed many more nights, I too would be in the hospital.  I am sore from head to foot. 

It’s always a little awkward and uncomfortable to stay in someone else’s house, especially when you don’t know them very well—family or not.  Add a large dose of OCD and you have yourself a recipe for disaster.

Just like every morning, the first thing I did after silencing the alarm (that I forgot to turn off again) was to take a trip to the bathroom.  I’m sure that’s a first stop for more people than just me.  After doing what one does in the bathroom, I pressed down the handle to flush.  The water started to swirl a little then stopped. 

I flushed again. 

The water swirled around a little before settling again.  This was not what was supposed to happen. 

I flushed a third time, holding the lever down for a solid minute while the water swirled in the bowl.  This time it actually looked like it was going to complete the task, but nothing happened.  I started to panic.  How can the toilet not flush?  That is its primary function!  I couldn’t just leave the toilet like that!  We weren’t the only ones staying in the house.  I lowered the lid and carefully slipped out of the little room, closing the door behind me, and found my husband in the kitchen making coffee.

I grabbed him by the hem of his shirt and tugged him toward the back of the house.  “Help!” I mouthed. 

It flushed for him with no trouble.  He obviously had experience with that particular toilet and knew the trick to get it to work.  I had no intention of figuring it out.  I would use the other bathroom next time. 

The other bathroom was worse.  It didn’t have a flushing problem, but it had armrests—the same kind of armrests that you would find on a wheelchair—I’m not used to having armrests on the toilet.  It was very distracting.  I decided to use the temperamental toilet instead. 

For the record, the toilets weren’t the only awkward plumbing fixtures in the house.  Mike’s grandparents had bought the house sixty years ago and it had not been remodeled in more than thirty years, so the plumbing was a little outdated.  The sink in the main bathroom was original to the house, and only the hot water spigot worked.  Have you ever brushed your teeth with hot water?  And the funny thing is, that was the only hot water there was…the water I used to brush my teeth with.  There wasn’t enough hot water after that to take a shower, and there were six of us showing. 

I finally managed to get ready despite the challenges I faced, and the girls and I snuck out to run to the store for supplies (preferably chocolate, possibly with peanut butter or almonds.)

Everything was closed.

It was Easter Sunday; none of the shops in the neighborhood were open, so instead of getting supplies, we hit the local Wendy’s for an early lunch.  We weren’t supposed to be eating fast food, so we carefully disposed of all the evidence before heading back to Grandma’s house. 

The rest of the day was a blur—probably because I hadn’t slept the night before.  I’m going to try really hard to get some sleep tonight.  Wish me luck!

Until the next time…I’ll be sleeping on a concrete slab!

Copyright © 2000-2018, Erica Lucke Dean. All rights reserved. Any retranscription or reproduction is prohibited and illegal.
Posted on April 5, 2010 .