God mocks me. It is time to potty train the twins, and God mocks me.
My wife, God bless her, took Friday off of work to help. Somewhere she got the idea that potty training can be done in one long, 3-day weekend. We've had discussions about this.
"It took way longer than that with Kathryn, you know."
"No it didn't, remember? You read something online about potty training your child in 24 hours, and that's what we did. Kathryn was potty trained in a day."
It is when The Mom speaks like this that I realize why she was in favor of having more kids.
Back when I used to read, I read a British study about pregnant women and brain mass. (It shocks me now that I used to read so frivolously. Ooh, a British medical study! Maybe it will both entertain and inform me. I think I'll read it. Now if I were confronted with even a small paragraph, just a few sentences, really, with the giant, bold title READ THIS OR DIE WITHIN FIVE MINUTES, I probably wouldn't be able to finish it all in one go. Granted, given my current status, that might not be entirely unintentional.) The study showed compelling evidence that women lose brain mass during the third trimester of their pregnancy. Their brain actually shrinks. The study added that further research was necessary to determine if the missing mass is ever restored. But, come on, we all know the answer to that question, don't we?
So anyway, on Friday, my thrice-brain-shrunk wife and I undertook the monumental task of potty training twins.
At first it went well, but then The Mom and I began hallucinating. With our nose. "I smell poop. Do you smell poop?" But there was no poop. "Just a toot!" the babies would squeal then head to the nearest corner, arms flailing all the way. "Just a toot!"
But it wasn't toots either. What it was, in fact, was the slowly rising level of sewage in our basement.
God mocks me.
When I lived in Texas, the most liquid I had ever seen on a floor was when someone spilled a water glass. Not so anymore. I'm not sure whose idea it was, but this Northeastern habit of digging a giant bucket beneath a house, then filling it with pipes--pipes older than me, pipes hammered out by a smithy, pipes forged while the Romans were still completing their vast system of aqueducts, pipes containing sewage and needing to be under the ground--and calling that bucket a "basement" is easily the worst idea I've ever encountered. Or lived above.
The level of sewage in our basement was only a modest eighth of an inch deep when we finally discovered the source of the smell, but it was growing very fast. There was a fountain, an incredible fountain of muck, spraying about a foot into the air, in a beautiful, brown arc, from the side of our main sewer pipe. My wife found it first.
"Bucket!" I think she tried to yell, but it came out sounding more like, "EEEEEWWWWWBBBBBBLLLLLUUUUURRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!"
Bucket after bucket we filled and dumped into our basement sink. We scrambled around, shutting off toilets, turning off the dishwasher, and yet the spume of dirty water continued, sometimes slowing to a trickle, sometimes a raging geyser. And, in all honesty, while the geyser was far more disgusting than the trickle, at least it was easier to catch with a bucket.
When it slowed, we'd take the full bucket away, and pour it down the sink, then run back to catch the inevitable resurgent jet of sewage. This cycle of slowing trickle, emptying the bucket, then raging geyser went on for an incredibly long time, at least two iterations of the Baby Mozart DVD that was currently pacifying the twins upstairs, before The Mom, even in her brain-shrunken state, realized that the sewage we were catching was most likely the very same sewage we were emptying out into the utility sink.
I'm unaware if there's ever been a study of brain-mass loss in husbands of pregnant women. I'm not sure there needs to be.
So once we started dumping our buckets outside, the fountain slowed down and eventually stopped altogether. After that,plumbers were called, pipes were snaked, clogs were removed, and sewage was mopped.
Babies, however, were not potty trained. We've had enough raw sewage for one weekend.