I think this should begin with one fact, my girlfriend and I are not shy when it comes to our bodily functions. Although I know of couples who have never once passed gas in front of each other, our relationship was solidified in cross country road trips where extended stomach pain was unacceptable. Plus, everybody poops. That was why I had no hesitation in asking whether or not she was the cause of the unattractive smell coming from the basement.
“Nope, not me,” she replied.
“It smells like a sewer down here, worse than a porta-john, I know it was you” I added.
This may have been an exaggeration due to the fact that any smell similar to that of a porta-potty, especially those found in outdoor concert venues, should merit more action than simply passing blame. I know better than that. I went back upstairs and let the situation pass, playfully ignoring her pleas of innocence.
My mother, after running downstairs to grab her suitcase for an upcoming trip, came back upstairs from the basement with an ashen look on her face.”The subpump blew again,” she said solemnly. Recent ghost viewer, best describes her appearance and tone.
For those of you unfamiliar with a subpump, allow me to explain. Our home has a septic tank to handle our waste instead of city sewage. This works perfectly fine for the first and second floor of our home because the water flows from the toilets and down to the septic tank which is positioned in the back yard. The basement bathroom, however, is below our septic tank and therefore the water needs to be pumped up from the bathroom; the water runs from the toilet, shower, and sink into a cement hole, and then is pumped up to the main tank. When working properly, it is a marvel of modern plumbing allowing us to have a full bathroom in the basement of our home and a perfect spot for a covert bowel movement.
In our home, however, this system has been known to fail. In The Great Subpump Disaster of 2013 Pt. 1, my girlfriend was coming home to meet my parents for the first time. Being the young, smart, beautiful woman that she is, she was determined to keep her bathroom visits a mystery to my family; she therefore decided, in order to maintain her privacy and the secrecy of her bathroom habits, to use the basement john. On day two of her visit when I was looking for my old gameboy (for no particular reason at all) in the back-room of our basement, I saw water, and a lot of it. The subpump had failed allowing sewage to seep from the ditch and spread across the cement floor of our basement. It was no mystery to whom this excrement belonged, it was my girlfriends. We spent the day cleaning and after only a few tears and her ability to laugh about the predicament later I knew she was a keeper; She was going to stick around when the shit hit the fan, figuratively speaking of course.
Now back to our current predicament.
My mother’s shocked look, her defeated body language, and her yellow gloved hands led us to one disappointing conclusion, The Great Subpump Disaster of 2013 Pt. 2 had just begun.
With goggles covering our eyes, bandanas shielding our faces, and rain boots protecting our feet, we walked into the basement looking more like meth lab technicians than disaster clean up specialists. We armed ourselves with cleaning supplies and once again stepped into the filth. Part two’s victims were more welcomed than the previous ones; the incidences of my mother letting out a sigh of “such a shame” as she tossed some soiled heirloom into the garbage were far more seldom than the previous clean-up. Party cups were thrown away instead of paintings, thanksgiving turkey shaped serving bowls instead of middle school diplomas, and an old miniature felt horse was sacrificed rather than our luggage. The entire clean up only lasted a few hours and we celebrated (after cleaning ourselves up) with ham and cheese paninis, an odd tradition carried over from the first disaster.
When we were finished I looked to my girlfriend standing in the kitchen and said jokingly, “I know that was your poo-poo.” She gave me a quick jab in the arm and scrunched her face up while letting out a cute growl. We have never been shy when it comes to our bodily functions.