Thursday, October 26, 2006

To be or not to be (a snow day).

When I was young, my dad was a school district administrator, and one of his duties was to decide if we would have school or not on snow days. He would get a call from the bus garage at 5 am, and from across the hall I could hear his authoritative voice discussing with the bus garage boss whether the roads were clear enough to travel safely. Then, for a few painful, exhilarating moments, I would wait to see whether my mom was going to come across the hall to turn off my alarm or, or, or... or not. I got this tense feeling in my stomach, a tiny surge of adrenaline, as if something really great might happen any moment, or, or, or... or not. Like the feeling when you get when you buy a scratch ticket. Or when you're watching a really great movie and the girl might just find the guy at the salad bar after all. Or when the baby's eyes finally droop shut after you've been driving him around late at night.

The feeling of thrilling expectation versus the same-ole, same-ole. That's what it's like when you're selling and buying a house. Each and every time someone comes through with their chipper realtor, the kids and I pack up some yoghurt pretzels and milk and hop in the car to drive up and down Grant Creek Road, and that familiar exciting, nervous feeling grips my stomach. It makes me have to poop, to be honest, but a good kind of poop. The kind where you run in and yank down your pants, not having to fumble with belts and clasps and there's a recent copy of the Sunday funnies and a nice-smelling candle is burning somewhere. And after a modicum of straining, a nicely shaped log plops into the bowl, so perfectly rounded at the tip, that you can tell without looking that wiping will be superfluous, but you do it anyway because the potty paper is soft and tears from the roll easily after a slight tug. That's the kind of poop I'm talkin bout.

So I'm in the car with the quietly chewing kids and a friendly poo is tapping me on the shoulder, and after a 20-minute drive we're back home, checking out which doors were opened and which lights were turned on by the shoppers. And the feeling's not quite gone, but then I head to the can to satisfy my urge and there it turns ugly. The kids demand an audience for their grievances and the bathroom smells like a wet diaper has been removed and lost somewhere. Instead of Sunday funnies there's an old copy of Horticulture magazine and I've read the cactus story a thousand times, and my friendly log is refusing to separate itself from my sphincter, but instead of soft downy potty paper with which to wipe and smear the stubborn chafe, there are a stack of wooden napkins left by myself from the last time I peed and used up all the paper. And I wipe and wipe and wipe while the kids poke and prod and try to through Q-tips in the toilet. I wipe until my arse feels like tenderized strip steak. And then I know. There will be no selling of the house today. Today is not a snow day.


Blogger Tink said...

I think you and I were twins in another life. All that excitement makes me have to poop too! But then I come home and I run around the house looking for signs of "them" and the good-poop feeling goes away. Especially if there are no signs. It's made me all very constipated lately. Mentally as well as physically.

10/26/2006 1:31 PM  
Anonymous kathie said...

Hey Mignon, love the post. You totally took me back with the scene where you're lying in bed praying for that tell-tale clue that school had been cancelled. I have yet to read the post below (body shop one) but I'm laughing at the title alone.

10/26/2006 2:12 PM  
Blogger Lucia said...

Totally fun post. I used to love snow days, when I was student and when I was a teacher. I love Trip Shakespeare's song Snow Day...

Mrs. Braintree, you're a chilly northern woman
Go home from yonder bus stop
Because there's a blessing on the ground

10/26/2006 5:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cannot believe you had insider information like that as a kid! I had to wait for my town to alphabetically roll by on Channel 3! And get dressed!

WHY?! Why didn't you work to influence that man's judgment on behalf of your comrades?! Damn!

10/26/2006 6:45 PM  
Blogger Blondie said...

So I was totally loving the snow day scene and going back in my mind to the 5:30AM phone call I would hear and then the soft pad of my mother's feet coming down the hall to tell me to sleep in and then the POOP story made me snort soda out of my nose. LOVE IT. Thank you for sharing this. :)

10/26/2006 7:15 PM  
Blogger mamalujo1 said...

TC, there are some of us out here who visualize a lot, especially when the writing's good. I have now seen your sphincter.

10/27/2006 6:56 AM  
Blogger Ortizzle said...

Most incredibly accurate and cleverly articulated missive I ever read on a scatological subject. Snorting (though not pooping) all the way through it. I especially identified with reading the same magazine article a thousand times. Usually something really stimulating from Popular Mechanics.

10/27/2006 7:42 AM  
Anonymous wordgirl said...

Wow. I'm not sure how you were able to weave a story about poop, selling a house and snow days together...but you did a damn fine job.

10/27/2006 8:08 AM  
Blogger Esereth said...

I keep thinking I'm the only woman who spends time thinking about poop quality and can be pleased or heart broken with the rhythm and ease of her own bowel movements.

This was a great post, Mignon. I keep thinking about wooden napkins and quietly happy munching kids.

10/27/2006 9:44 AM  
Blogger meno said...

In search of the perfect poop, the perfect snow day, and the perfect buyers. Thanks for the smile.

10/27/2006 5:17 PM  
Blogger V-Grrrl said...

Ditto Wordgirl. Ditto meno.

10/28/2006 11:47 AM  
Anonymous Dawn said...

That was the most eloquent use of a bowel movement metaphor I have ever had the pleasure of reading....

And remember, you can't force those poops. They just come when they come....

10/28/2006 5:50 PM  
Blogger Arabella said...

Man, that was a great post.

You have to put the new magazines in front of the toilet as soon as they arrive in the mail. Just make it a habit, like buckling your seatbelt. How do I know this? Prenatal vitamins. I try to console myself that they're preparing me for labor, but, really, they just suck.

10/30/2006 5:28 AM  
Blogger Orange said...

Definitely you need better poop-time reading material. I swear by Entertainment Weekly. It goes to the bathroom when it arrives each week, and I often can't finish the issue (which is to say the magazine issue—"issue" is not a euphemism for poop) before the next one arrives. It keeps me company for potty time, oral hygiene, and hair care.

I'd put the New Yorker in there, but I'd only be encouraging constipation if I did. Those articles are much too long for bathroom reading.

10/30/2006 7:23 AM  
Anonymous TB said...

Oh my god Mignon. I love you. I can't wait to show this post to Jeff as we were just discussing the art of the perfect poop this morning.

10/30/2006 10:34 AM  
Blogger Annie said...

What a wonderful post! Who knew poop could be something to write about and people would enjoy reading about?! You have a way with words, to be sure! My remedy? Eat one large, sweet dried plum every morning or evening (but not both) and you'll never have a poop problem. Add one new Readers' Digest magazine, a quiet time alone and you have the perfect poop-setting. I can't believe I'm writing this....LOL

11/01/2006 11:41 PM  

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