Have you flushed a frog lately?

Alright everyone, I know it’s been a while since my last post (I blame that on having a toddler), but I learned something this weekend that has BLOWN MY MIND, and I cannot possibly be the only person in the whole world who didn’t know this.

(Or maybe I am, but just humor me anyway.)

Ok, first, a little context:

Every once in a while, my parents have frogs visit their bathrooms. (I’ll never forget the first time this happened – my mothers’ scream made history books. But I digress.) Frogs sometimes show up in their bathrooms, just hanging out around the toilet. I have always assumed these frogs swam up the pipes from wherever it is the pipes go and ended up inside the house. I figured this was a fairly logical assumption.

Well, the frogs have been visiting more and more often lately, and in more than one bathroom in the house. (Jokes about a plague were made, obviously.)

This weekend, my dad told me these frogs come FROM THE ROOF!!! How, you ask? Frogs don’t fly. Toilets don’t flush up. How is this possible???

You know those little white PVC-type pipes you can see on people’s roofs? I’ve spent the first 28 years of my life assuming those pipes were connected to air conditioners or heating units of some kind. BUT NO!!!! THEY GO TO YOUR TOILETS!!!! THAT’S HOW THE FROGS GET IN!!!!!

Yes, your toilets are vented through the roof, of all places. The open pipe allows air to get into the plumbing so that you don’t create a vacuum when you flush. It’s like when you open a small hole in a can and try to pour the liquid out. Sometimes, you can turn that can of juice upside down and still nothing comes out that hole. Why? Because of things like air pressure and vacuum spaces.

Air has to be able to get into the can to replace the liquid that comes out. If the air pressure is trying to get into the can at the same rate that the liquid is trying to get out through the same hole, then nothing moves. This is what would happen if there were no vent in the plumbing lines. (Ewww….)

But, if you cut another hole in the other side of your can (or are drinking from a water bottle that already has an air vent hole), the liquid pours smoothly out the bottom. This is because air is going in the top and replacing the missing liquid, so there is no vacuum. This is why the plumbing lines are vented – you got it – through the roof.

But, I knew that about cans already. That’s not the biggest part that blows my mind. It’s the fact that other things besides air can obviously come down those pipes as well. Like frogs. Or lizards. Or small snakes. Or small squirrels.

Can you imagine walking into your bathroom and finding a wet squirrel on the back of your toilet?

But what about the water, you ask? Wouldn’t things have to swim through the water? Not really. As it turns out, your pipes are empty most of the time (until you flush or turn on the tap). In the case of the toilet, there is only water in the toilet bowl and the U-bend part of the pipe immediately below and behind the toilet bowl. The rest of the plumbing system is empty, so any roof-dwellers that decide to visit only have to be able to swim the last foot or so up into the toilet.

Squirrels can swim short distances. It’s totally possible to find a wet squirrel in your bathroom. Have you ever thought of that? It’s been all I can think about for the past few days. (Not to mention snakes, lizards, cockroaches, insects and all manner of other creepy-crawlies that can also swim 12 inches.)

You can apparently buy weather-resistant covers to put on these pipes if, like my parents, you have a problem with unwanted guests, but those pipes are not screened as part of standard building procedure. So, if you’re like my parents and have an overhanging tree near your roof, you’re much more likely to see a rise in unannounced houseguests that fall out of said tree and find their way into your bathroom.

But most people don’t see things rising out of their toilets on a regular basis, right? That doesn’t mean they aren’t hanging around in the pipes anyway. When was the last time your toilet wouldn’t flush and you couldn’t figure out why?

Maybe it wasn’t yesterday’s monster burrito or the resulting excessive amount of toilet paper. Maybe you flushed a frog.

Take a moment to think about that… (Toilet vent pipe caps are available on Amazon.com.)

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Stop chewing on your sister!

…is something I hope to not have to say to my new daughter.

Her four-legged sisters, on the other hand, hear this at least once a day. I’m constantly amazed by how many times those words come out of my mouth, especially considering that Meera makes her displeasure fully known and Lucy continues to chew on whatever body part she can reach at the time. Some dogs just never learn, I guess.

Meera has actually, physically sat on Lucy in an effort to make her leave her alone… and sometimes that doesn’t even work!

Little sisters. Ya gotta love ’em.

(Little brothers can be a pain-in-the-backside too – I have one of those – but I digress.)

We’re trying to get the girls used to spending longer amounts of time outside now that there are only two months until Baby Roo’s estimated arrival (two months??! only TWO MONTHS!!??), but it’s not working out exactly as planned.

After we finally got our fence put up a few weeks ago, we started letting them out to potty and then leaving them out for extended periods of time. They didn’t like that. In fact, they stopped asking to go outside at all, started having accidents in the house and, when forced outside, refused to leave the porch and would instead cry and whine and throw themselves at the back door for hours. (And yes, they do have dog houses and water and all the necessities out there for their use.)

So we changed tactics a bit. Now, we’re letting them out when they want to go out and back in when they want to come in in an effort to recreate trust in the yard and boost confidence that it is a good place to be.

It’s working… but only half way. Lucy seems to want to be outside. She sits at the back door and watches out the window. She wanders from the door to you and back again. She goes to the door when you stand up. But when you let her out… she comes right back in. She won’t stay outside by herself, even when that is obviously where she wants to be.

Meera, on the other hand, wants no part of the outside world and is perfectly happy pretending the yard does not exist. When I can get her to go out with Lucy, she sits on the porch sadly while Lucy plays by herself in the yard. (You see, Lucy doesn’t need Meera to go down and play with her. She just wants her to be outside at the same time.)

If I let Meera in, Lucy comes in too. Even when Lucy was obviously enjoying herself.

I don’t understand. Meera’s never been as much of a fan of the yard as Lucy, so that makes sense, but she’s never hated it quite as much as she does now. It’s the same yard, with the same space and same toys and same activities, watching the same neighbors go by, as before. It just has a fence around it now.

I don’t get it. I just don’t get it. I really need them both to have those voice collars like Doug in the Pixar movie “Up!” so I can ask questions and they can answer me in human language and tell me what in the world is going on in their heads.

Maybe when Roo gets here and is keeping them awake with her screaming they’ll want to be outside. I don’t know. But they are going to have to start adjusting one way or the other, because the time is fast approaching when outside will be a normal thing – at least during the day.

Train(s) of Thought

Isn’t it funny how the mind works? Stream of consciousness is an interesting rabbit hole to fall into when you really think about it. (Or should you think about it? Because if you think about thinking then you’re really using your brain to think about your brain and… Whoah… That hurts.)

Anyway. While I was in the shower tonight I was thinking about the episode of Gilmore Girls I just finished watching, which led to thoughts of journalism and how I’m sort of in journalism, which then led to my job and whether I will always like my job, then on to how to spice up my job on boring days, which leads us to office games and word of the day calendars. And then, somewhere in the midst of deciding what topic my word of the day calendar should have, my subconscious mind asked me a question.

How does word of the day toilet paper work?

…and this is where my train of thought finally got stuck, because here I am, half an hour later, still thinking about how word of the day toilet paper must work.

I mean, there are so many potential factors to consider.

What is a “standard amount” of toilet paper per person? What if you use toilet paper more than once a day? What if you’re not feeling well and you have a major bathroom incident and need to use more than the “standard amount” of paper?

Also, is this nice, thick, two-sheets-per-visit toilet paper that rich people buy? Or is this the paper-thin, need-a-whole-roll kind purchased by poor college students (and college employees, and colleges themselves, for that matter)? 

At first I was thinking it would be like a calendar, but that would be disasterous! What if you had an aforementioned bathroom incident and used two days’ worth of paper? Then it might be Sept. 21 in the real world but Sept. 23 on the roll! You could never fix that! Also, if it were like a calendar, you would have to be sure to buy the appropriate roll for the week you are currently in and put the rolls on in consecutive order so as not to get your Christmas-themed December words in the middle of October. 

And what would stores do with all the leftover August toilet paper on Sept. 1? Nobody wants outdated roll words. Such a faux-pas. 

And you’d definitely have to memorize your newfound vocabulary pretty quickly because once it’s been used, you’re not going to want to reference it again.

And you also have to consider the…

Oh, just a minute – I have to go to the bathroom.

The Slime Incident

Have you ever wondered what it would smell like if a tomcat peed on a dead frog, left it to bake in the sun for three days, and then smeared the still-gooey parts all over something you love?

I had not. But yesterday, I found out anyway.

The lunch hour started off as any other – I left work with one hour to take care of the dog and grab something to eat at the house. I got home, released the hound into the yard and let her do her business.

That’s when things started to go south.

The first time she rolled, I thought, “Ok, it’s hot, maybe whatever it is is dry enough that it won’t smell much.”

The second time she rolled, I yelled at her. (Can’t chase her, I’m in heels and dress clothes.) The third and fourth times I just held my breath and hoped there was some way this could end with me making my 2:00 meeting.

When she raced past me back toward the apartment door… I caught it. Just a whiff. Just a slight bit of scent that suggested something had died long ago and the spirit world had rejected its remains and sent them back to the land of the living.

She was waiting at the top of the stairwell when I reached her. And reached for her. And touched it.

Something – I hesitate to try to guess what – was sticky, and thick, and all over her shoulder, neck, collar, ear and face.

We went immediately to the bathroom.

I stripped out of my high heels and fancy office clothes and threw the bathroom rugs out into the hallway. I turned on the water and grabbed the first large container I could find. The dog had fled. I had 35 minutes left in my lunch break.

She wasn’t hard to find. Even if I hadn’t known she was hiding in her kennel, I would have smelled her a mile away. That box reeked to high heaven and I’m just glad she came out on her own rather than having to go in after her.

After three attempts, I trapped her in the bathroom. Now to get her into the tub. You have to remember, we’re not talking about a chihuahua here; we’re talking about a 70ish-pound dog who is two-thirds my body weight and very stubborn. I did, with some luck, manage to haul her into the tub without getting the goo of death all over me. I rinsed and rinsed and scrubbed her with green apple shampoo. She tried to escape. I shoved her back into the tub and rinsed some more. She was not happy. Twenty-five minutes left.

I ended up having to scrub her down twice because once was just not enough. She shook smelly water all over the bathroom in protest. Fifteen minutes left. I dried her off and put the towel straight into the washing machine. I dried myself and inspected my clothes to make sure I didn’t have any of the goo on me somewhere. I got re-dressed and bolted down two slices of leftover pizza before racing back to work.

I walked into my office as the meeting was starting. I am woman. Hear me roar.

How old am I?

Last week I was trying to figure out the age of an old friend and was using the ages of other old friends as benchmarks. The conversation with the Mister went something like this:

“So his brother was a sophomore when I was a junior, and he is a year older than my brother, and my brother is going to be … [math in my head] … 22… 22? That can’t be right, because I’m only… wait… how old am I?”

Yes. I actually and honestly did not know. The Mister said, “Well my birthday is on Sunday and I’m going to be 25, so that makes you….?” He waited for me to answer.

I didn’t.

“24,” he said. “That makes you 24.”

Oh. Really??

When did I reach a point in my life where I not only don’t really care how old I am, but I didn’t even KNOW when prompted?

I can’t figure out if that’s normal or just depressing.

I guess I don’t really need it anymore though. It’s been more than a decade (wow, can I really say decade?) since someone crouched down in front of me and asked, “And how old are you, sweetie?” I mean, sometimes people at doctor’s offices need to know for whatever reason, and I suppose I give them the right answer, but if I hadn’t been born in a year ending in 0 – thus making my age match the last digit of whatever year we are in – I probably wouldn’t even be able to do that.

I’m me. I’m a young adult. So does it really matter? I’m inclined to say no, because the next time I need to know, I’m just going to ask my husband because Mr. Smarty-Pants seems to keep up with that sort of thing.

[And no, I probably won’t know off the top of my head how old my children are either. They’ll just be “babies” or “toddlers” or “in middle school” or whatever other obvious stage they’re in at the time and that’s what I’ll have written on their birthday cakes too. It just makes everything easier.]

Happy Wednesday, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

Didgeri-don’t

My husband helped somebody move last week, and when he picked me up from work that afternoon he had a strange object in the back seat.

“If you can guess what it is, I will be impressed,” he said.

I picked up the object and felt it through its long fabric sleeve. At 3-4 feet long, it was not completely straight and was open at both ends.

“I don’t know. Some sort of instrument?”

“Wow. You’ll never guess what kind.”

I took the first wild guess that came to mind. “A didgeridoo?”

The mister’s mouth fell open.

We own a didgeridoo. An actual, real life didgeridoo.

For those of you who don’t know (because why in the world would you?), a didgeridoo is basically a long smooth tube made of some sort of wood that aborigines play in Australia. [Picture courtesy of Google.] NO IDEA why the people Matt helped had one, but they were going to throw it out. So now we have it. Still not sure why….. but we at least found a good use for it the other night.

It drives our dog NUTS! (And probably all the other dogs in a five mile radius, although that hasn’t been confirmed.)

First off, I think the noise unnerves her. As it would most creatures, I think, since it sounds like a very long expulsion of gas from the body. (Colloquially known as a barking spider, squashed frog, bubble or fart.)

Secondly, she seems particularly disturbed by the fact that the noise does not seem to be coming from daddy himself. Instead, it’s coming from a hole several feet away from daddy, but that may or may not be attacking daddy via a long tube that’s eating his face. I think that would bother me too, if I were a dog. Actually, it sort of bothers me now.

The video below is for your personal viewing pleasure. Treat yourself to the musical inclinations of the mister and the mutt as they perform an inspired duet entitled, “Daddy, I will protect you from the evil noise-making thing as long as it doesn’t get too close to me.”

The didgeridoo creates a very deep noise, so you may not be able to hear it well on the video, but Meera’s reaction to it is definitely audible. Enjoy.

If a Tree Grows in the House, can it be Trusted?

We’re moved in! Yay! We have internet! Yay! We have our Christmas tree up! Yay!

Meera, however, is not so pleased.

We moved the furniture up last Thursday and left Meera with the in-laws until the weekend, when she returned with us on Sunday afternoon. She whined in the backseat of the car for an hour until finally either deciding it wasn’t so bad or simply resigning herself to whatever fate awaited her. She wasn’t too sure about the apartment at first either, but I think she has decided it’s not so bad either. There is a big comfy chair to sit in (which she has apparently decided belongs to her) and a long driveway to drag Mommy down when we check the mail, so that seems to make it better.

I feel really bad that we weren’t able to find anything where she would have a fenced yard, and I know she has to be bored out of her mind in this tiny space, but she was an apartment dog before and she’ll learn to be one again. Eventually. But until then she’ll drive me nuts trying to trip me every time I turn around.

She’s also very confused by the Christmas decorations. She isn’t exactly afraid of the Christmas tree…. but she isn’t thrilled by its presence either. She refuses to linger in that corner and sometimes stops and looks at it with distrust. A tree in the house? That’s just not normal.

Although she does like wrapping paper. A little too much, actually. I was trying to wrap a few presents earlier and spent the first five minutes wrestling the roll away from her. She thinks it’s a giant, wonderful chew toy that she must chase around the floor as I try to move it. I’m not sure if she was trying to help or just trying to prevent me from being festive, but either way it made for a pretty good video.

Her biggest issue, however, is with the linoleum at the top of the apartment stairs. We have carpet in our apartment itself, but the inner hallway that leads from the parking area to our front door has linoleum at the top… and it petrifies her. She spent the first year and a half of her life living in houses with completely tiled floors, so you wouldn’t think this would be an issue… but now that she’s experienced carpet she hates to walk on anything else. At the in-laws’, she refused to cross the hardwood kitchen floor without bribery. Here, she sneaks to the front door and stops, tentatively lowers one paw to the tile, and then, without warning, sprints across the upper landing to the stairs so she has to spend as little time on the linoleum as possible. Unfortunately, I am attached to her when she does this, which results in much skidding of paws and yelling for her to slow down. I’m sure my neighbors love this.

We haven’t met any of the neighbors yet except in brief passing, but I know there are at least five other dogs in the complex and two children. And a cat… but the cat was lying in a dog house when I saw it, so I’m not completely sure it belongs here.

I start work tomorrow and the Mister has a good chance of starting work at a vaccine/research company in the next town over, so fingers crossed that will work out. We only have one car at the moment, so figuring out who has to drop who off and who has to leave work early to pick who up and take them where at what time will be incredibly complicated until we can get that issue resolved.

Prayers always appreciated. Holiday wishes and wet doggy kisses from the Nut House!

/the missus

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Compromises must sometimes be made…