I was really hoping that The Oracle would take the time to write it down in his own words since he’s the primary victim of this unfortunate experience. He said I could blog about it, but I’d rather he write it and I’d then post it. He has a much better way with words than I do.
He’s been too busy, though, and I couldn’t put it off any longer, especially now that it's been a week since I've posted anything, let alone anything remotely interesting.
Last Friday, The Oracle finally succumbed to his three weeks’ worth of sinus miseries and asked me to call the doc for an appointment. The details are too convoluted to waste your time, but instead of getting an appointment, the doc did something I can’t stand. Based upon the third-hand information (Oracle to me to receptionist), he called in a prescription for the five-day cycle of Zithromax (Z-pack). That’s a whole ‘nother blogging gripe and whine.
On Saturday, The Oracle was still feeling crappy. We made plans to visit my dad weeks before, so the kids and I went and The Oracle stayed home. Later that afternoon, The Oracle was feeling restless and found the ambition to bake a möhn strudel, which is a glorious Austrian pastry consisting of a sweet raised dough rolled with a filling consisting mainly of poppy seeds plus some sugar, honey, raisins, and I forget what else. It was still warm when I got home and we feasted after tucking the already-asleep kids into bed.
By Sunday he was much, much better. I’d mentioned in passing that he ought to load up on the yogurt, because the antibiotics were going to wreak havoc on his stomach. He didn’t have time. He had plans to meet some friends to watch the football game at 4:00, promising as he left to be home by the kids’ bedtime. He took along a couple pieces of the möhn strudel for his friend to try.
The House Fairy calls me at roughly 7:45 p.m. The Oracle, it seems, had a bit of a problem and needed a change of clothes. When he explains that The Oracle needs everything including shoes, it took me a minute to comprehend that he was talking about a stomach problem.
Uh-oh. I hang up the phone, gather what he needs, and the kids and I drive over. When The House Fairy opens the door to me, my sinuses are whacked with the dizzying scent of Clorox. The House Fairy’s roaming the kitchen, spot cleaning the floor and even the carpeting with bleach water. House Fairy grimly reports that The Oracle’s sneakers are a total loss. Oh. My. The kids, oblivious, run into the living room to greet DEB.
Good and devoted wife that I am, I arrive and merely pitch the bag of clean clothes into the bathroom with him, because the smell was already abominable in the hallway and I wasn’t getting any closer than I had to. I knew nothing at that moment of his trials in the bathroom, and I still had no appreciation for the magnitude of The Oracle’s ordeal in general. I knew he needed shoes, but I didn’t do the math. He hadn't showered yet, he said, because he was cleaning the tile. I just figured he was cleaning a little something off the floor before getting in the shower.
Then I start getting pieces of the story.
When enroute home from his friend’s house, The Oracle felt some uncomfortable intestinal rumblings. His route home sort of takes him past his parents’ neighborhood, so he decided a quick detour was in order, what with the antibiotics and all. A few blocks from their house, he senses that this is going to be a close call – wait a minute! – he’s in real trouble here. He knew every second would count, and he didn’t have their house key on his ring. He decides to call in advance so The House Fairy can unlock the door for an uninterrupted mad dash from the car to the bathroom. He rings their house – busy. He calls The House Fairy’s cell and nobody answers. AAAAAGH.
He pulls up to the house, runs to the door (I can just imagine that tight-cheeked gait, can you?) and starts frantically knocking. Nobody answers. The House Fairy is still on the phone with his sister in the back of the house and DEB is as oblivious to his knocking as she was to the ringing cell phone a few minutes before. The Oracle is frantic. He’s desperate. He decides to drop his drawers then and there and let go over the porch railing into the bushes, but his winter coat is in the way and he can’t get it off quickly enough. By the time The House Fairy opens the door, it's too late. The Oracle’s O-ring gave up the fight, exploding and spewing a muddy river down the insides of his jeans over his socks and shoes. He later told me that he had poop squelching between his toes.
It turns out that The Oracle hadn’t showered yet because his bowels weren’t through with him on the porch. He reported to me later that he had no choice but to let the remainder of his innards bomb the bathtub because he would have made an even bigger mess if he’d slimed off his jeans and sat on the toilet. He wasn't just spot cleaning the place; he was in the throes of a full-scale disinfecting of tub, tile, and every other surface in range of detonation. He also had to stop to fix the toilet after his repeated flushings finally snapped the chain.
Anyway, I cluelessly pitch the bag into the bathroom, and scurry away. I walk out to greet DEB, and there’s poop tracked all over the rug. It traces back to the kitchen door. Wait a minute, now. The kitchen floor was clean when we arrived, and I immediately make the kids check their shoes. Precious Daughter’s shoes come up positive. Great, I think, she stepped in dog dirt when we left the house, and as I wonder why I didn’t smell it in the car, I follow the trail out the door. Closer inspection revealed a large dollop of intestinal mishap on the front porch. Somehow, Mighty B. and I walked right past it (the porch light was off), and only Precious Daughter had the luck to step in it.
I cleaned the kitchen floor and the porch, the House Fairy took care of the rug, and I cleaned off Precious Daughter’s shoe. We were there over 30 minutes, and would have been there longer if the kids didn’t have school Monday morning. Looking at the clock, I abandoned a freshly-showered Oracle and took the kids home.
The story would have ended there, but he brought his clothes home (thankfully he discarded his underwear at the scene). He mourned the loss of his favorite jeans. Now the record should show that The Oracle didn’t ask me to clean his jeans. He was quite ready to throw them away rather than deal with them. Truth be told, the last thing I wanted to do was clean them, but I felt guilty over his experience and it seemed to me that losing his favorite jeans would be another insult. I offered to try salvaging them.
I donned bathroom-cleaning gloves and The Oracle started a hot-water wash. The shirt and undershirt weren’t too bad, thank goodness. The socks were 50/50, one merely splattered, one looking like it had been submerged in mud. His jeans were a nightmare, sporting a 1/4 inch thick coating on the inside of one leg. The Oracle passively mentioned that, gee, if you think this is bad, what was on his leg was worse.
I took a not-too-deep breath and approached the job as I did with the kids’ cloth diapers but on a much bigger scale. I still can’t believe they came clean. All of his clothing, except the why-bother sneakers, came out fine.
Some lessons from this story:
Antibiotics and poppy-seed strudel do not mix!!
You may not know this, but poppy seeds do not digest.
Eat at least two servings of yogurt a day when taking antibiotics.
The capacity of the human digestive tract is a lot greater than I ever imagined.
The next time I tell The Oracle he’s full of manure, he can’t deny it.