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2:42 p.m. - 2013-02-06
Temps and Bodily Functions

Last night I shut down my office and went in the house to get ready for bed. As I made my way from the bathroom through the downstairs and up to my room I realized our place is bizarrely akin to a biodome, almost every climate is represented. When the ex and I put in the new heating and cooling we gave nearly every room its own thermostat. Might seem excessive to have five heat zones in a six room house, but it's actually very handy. You wouldn't think such a small place could have such variety but it does.

The new thermal curtains are helping but my office tends to be on the chilly side, it's just an enclosed porch with flimsy 1 inch thick walls, deck flooring and single pane windows meant to keep the rain out, not the heat or cold in. Besides, I like it cool, I function best that way.

The bathroom is steamy and tropical; the thermostat in there is cranked to 75 degrees. Slightly better insulated than my office but the pipes freeze if the outside temp drops below the teens so in the winter we keep the heat high and the cabinet door where the pipes live open. Anyway, we all like the cozy john. Sitting on an icy toilet seat or getting out of the shower into freezing air is painful.

The rest of the main floor- kitchen, dining, living room and front hall with the stairwell are usually a Baby Bear's chair of 'just right'. Warm enough for shirtsleeves, but not too hot for Mrs Freeze here. Though the kick heater installed beneath the cabinets because there was no room for baseboards in the kitchen is sometimes a pain to me. It's right below my work station and that sucker blows so hot there's times it feels like my ankles have been desiccated into jerky.

Mick's den thanks to the addition of a space heater is like a bread oven. I spend more than 10 minutes in there and my eyeballs turn to dust and I'm shvitzing. He likes it that way and it's all good, it's his personal space after all. If he wants to sit around in his gym shorts pretending to be in Casablanca in the dead of winter that's his biz.

One step across the hall and there's The Meat Locker. My bedroom. The thermostat is dialed all the way down and the heat is off. I kid you not. It's all of 50 degrees in there. Sometimes after a long cold snap it gets cold enough to see my breath. And I love it. I am the hottest sleeper in the world. I swear the heat produced by my bod while I'm asleep is partly responsible for melting the polar ice cap. The obvious solution would be to sleep on top of the covers in my birthday suit, I know. But thanks to the horrors visited on me by my mother's second husband and his nocturnal violations I have to have covers. Heavy-ish ones. Tucked tightly around me with only my head sticking out. It's a safety thing and truly the only way I can sleep. Thus the frigid bedroom. The colder it gets the better I sleep. Poor Mick, between the snoring (his and mine), the TV which stays on all night, and my need to sleep in a refrigerator it drove him across the hall and he has his own bed in his sub-Saharan den. A good night's sleep for both means a much happier marriage during our waking hours. Trust me.

And what of Wolf's room? Wolf stays nice and warm from the heat rising from the compost covering his bedroom floor. My child lives in a slum. Perhaps his loft bed had something to do with it or he's just a big slob, but I haven't seen his rug or the wood floor in there in over 4 years. A crunchy, sometimes slippery layer of detritus goes from door to outside walls. It's his room. House rules say that each in entitled to keep his or her personal space at the temperature and state of tidiness or decay as the owner sees fit. I just didn't expect to have what's essentially a forest floor inside my house. Oh well, someday that will be the guest room and if needs be I'll have the place fumigated and the floor refinished. For the time being I'm in no hurry for my boy to get grown and leave. This is his house and that's his room for as long as he wants it.

OMG! I had a few moments of genuine horror yesterday. I took Wolf to counseling as usual. Though it's an outside agency provided through the state the practice has space in his old school building, so once a week I pick Wolf up at the high school and after a stop for snacks I take him to his appointment on his former campus. The timing has worked out nicely. He's dismissed at 2:07 and his appointment is at 3:00. This leaves us with just enough time for pizza or a trip to the Burger King. We both prefer pizza, btw, and the place we go is that cool one entirely decorated in 1970s memorabilia and has the Seventies Sirius radio station on all the time. Not only thanks to the decor and music do Wolf and I have a lively discussion of the past and what it was like during his old mom's growing up years, our weekly date is much like the one I kept with Alex from ages 8-12. Right in the same strip mall too.

Alex had tae-kwon-do lessons on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The dojo was at the far end of the plaza from where the pizza place is now. Anyhoodle, Thursday was Date Day. After lesson we'd go across the parking lot to the diner and we'd have dinner. Just me and my boy. The only rule was that Alex try something new from the menu instead of ordering a cheeseburger. (I had this idea it was good for him to expand his palate.) Back in those days I was working 60 hours a week and truly needed and appreciated the one-on-one time with my son. Alex would catch me up on what was doing with him at school. I'd share funny stories about my clients. And we'd talk about everything else under the sun too. Politics, history, science, memories, cooking, Monty Python, you name it we talked about it. The Tuesday pizza/burger date I keep with Wolf these days is much the same except I'm not such a hardass about making Wolf expand his menu choices.

Anyway. We finished our pizza and took off for Wolf's appointment. The drive from the pizza place to Wolf's old school isn't long, but in those few short minutes my insides brewed up some serious trouble! I was okay (if anxious) while I was sitting and driving, but I was dreading the walk from the car into the building followed by the lengthy check-in process (ID, sign-in, print up a visitor's badge, call and confirm with our destination) and then another long walk from the security desk down several hallways to Wolf's counselor's office. Man, my butt was clenched so tight I waddled like Charlie Chaplin while I walked. I had the sweats too. All I could think about was, "Please Lord, don't let me mess my pants."

Normally I spend several minutes chatting with Wolf's counselor, we exchange pleasantries and I bring up anything I think might be important for them to work on (school issues and the like) and then I mosey back to the car and wait. I text Mick and read my book and it's a nice 30-45 minutes of change-of-scene alone time. Yesterday I shoved Wolf in the door of his therapist's office, made the emergency face at her and said, "No issues. See you next Tuesday. Gotta go!" and booked it for the bathroom down the hall. A blessed single-occupancy teacher's bathroom.

Mick tells me men are actually proud of their bowel movements. Even making a colossal stink is kind of cool to guys. There's something manly man about the whole business. "Yeah buddy, that turd is longer than my arm! And the smell? Whoo-whee! It's taking the paint off the walls! Damn, I'm good!"

With women it's a different story. Every woman I know (including me) will go to any and every length to avoid making a bowel movement in a public toilet. I know for my own self I've gone entire vacations without going #2. I'll stagger back to my house after a week away, abdomen distended, horrible cramping bending me in half, to finally, finally get to my home toilet where I can do my thing in the comfort and safety of the one place where I feel okay to make some noise and some stink.

Yesterday afforded me no such option.

Helpless against the forces of nature and my overwrought bowels, I got in there and WENT! Butt soup to be precise. I was actually grateful that what I'd been smited with would sound to any passerby like I was peeing really hard. Yeah, it was that bad. And smelly? I honestly stopped to think about whether I'd eaten a roadkill possum recently. I finished up and got tidy. Dreadfully embarrassed. Spying the canister of Air Wick atop the paper towel dispenser I breathed a relieved sigh and thought at least I could mollify my mess with a good blast of 'Vanilla Bean and Orange'.

I zipped up and buckled. Then it happened. THE worst thing to happen to any woman, I pulled the lever and ...the toilet didn't FLUSH!!!

Holy mother of God. The incredibly smelly poop soup just went in circles. It didn't go anywhere. It didn't flush away and hide my crime AT ALL.

Can I die NOW????

Please?

Frantic I flushed again and again and again and again. Some of my shameful mess went away down the pipes, but not ALL of it. Not by a long shot.

WORST. THING. EVER.

Eventually I quit my spastic tugging on the toilet handle and stood up. That's when I finally saw the handwritten notice posted on the cabinet to my right. Just at eyelevel too. It was titled. 'The Secret to Flushing The Toilet'.

In my desperate, stinky humiliation I heard a heavenly choir. Salvation was at hand.

I read the notice four times and then followed the directions explicitly.

My horribly smelly woman-shaming bowel product went away.

Down the pipes to a comfy sewage treatment plant and nobody was the wiser that I'd made a sloppy messy stinky in a public loo.

I washed my hands six times, sprayed the Air Wick until it was nearly empty, and then gratefully made my way through the maze of hallways and past the security desk back to my car.


Just because it's natural and happens to everybody doesn't mean I have to be cool with it. ~LA

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