After work yesterday, I ran to the hardware store to buy a new plunger. Oddly embarrassing, standing in line at the cash register. I might as well have been wearing a sandwich board that said, "POOPS GIANT POOP! TOILET EMERGENCY!" The cashier commented about my purchase, "That's one of the most important tools you can have at home!" Thanks, I've already discovered that for myself.
One plumbing problem - the garbage disposal - was taken care of. The maintenance guy stopped by while we were at work and "dislodged the food stuck in the drain". So that was nice.
I entered the bathroom, plunger in hand, ready for battle, and was nearly bowled over by the stench. Seriously, who knew that one day sans flushing could result in such a terrible smell. It was go time.
I plunged away, not really seeing any progress, but unable to get a good look amidst the swirling shreds of toilet paper in the foggy water. I plunged some more. Then I decided to give it a go, and (with a trembling hand) I flushed the toilet. And stood there in horror as the water crept slowly up the bowl. I was momentarily frozen in place, trying to remember what to do in this situation. The situation where the disgusting toilet water was on the attack.
I threw the box of toilet paper from the lid of the tank, shoved the lid over as far as it would go, and reached into the darkness, grabbing blindly for any apparatus that might halt the onslaught of the merciless turd water. I felt something snap loose - NEVER A GOOD SIGN - and simultaneously knocked the plunger from it's perch in the bowl out onto the floor of the bathroom. Along with a big splash of toilet water.
I stood and watched as the water in the bowl began to subside, still holding the mystery apparatus in my hand, my arm bent at an odd angle under the lid of the tank. I surveyed the damage - wet socks, wet floor, wet shower curtain. Stench. Toilet paper bits littering the soggy floor. Wonderful!
Reluctantly, I let go of whatever I was holding onto in the tank and stepped back. The water stayed put. I removed the tank lid and put it on the floor so I could get a good look inside. I plunged again, and with zeal. It seemed like the plunger couldn't get a good seal going with the toilet bowl due to some strange curvature, but still I plunged away.
Finally, it seemed like I was making progress. I mustered all the courage I could find in my damp, smelly heart, and hit the flush lever again. Water from the tube in the tank sprayed the wall, and I dove to point it back into the tank. The clog was defeated!
Fortunately, I hadn't permanently broken anything in the tank, and I was able to reattach the hose thingy to the tube thingy after studying the inner workings of our other toilet down the hall. The cleanup was messy and violent, and we lost one good towel (and my socks) in the fray. But eventually, the carnage was cleared and the floor/tub/wall/toilet was sanitized. The plunger was left to dry in the bathtub, after which the tub was again sanitized.
I lit a candle in memory of our beloved blue towel (and to help with the smell), and ceremoniously dumped it into the trash. Never again would it dry shower-fresh bodies.
I know I'm the handy one in our house, but next time Gray clogs up the toilet, I am so making him deal with the fallout.