Friday, May 14, 2010

Finding strength in the p-trap

My 2yo is an angel. Most of the time. Actually only part of the time. Okay, very rarely. ANYWAY, he's helping me learn important lessons about life; like finding strength in the p-trap while he learns life lessons of his own; like potty training.

Today my 2yo wandered back to the bathroom to go potty with a Capri Sun in one hand and half of a pink pencil case in the other. He toddled back out a few minutes later with just the Capri Sun and made the "come here" motion with his hand. (For those of you who don't know, 2yo is a little man of few words.) I followed him back to the bathroom where he stood beside the toilet and asked "gone?" Indeed, the pink pencil case was gone.

I gave it a test flush and everything seemed fine. A few hours later, it was not fine. No amount of plunging would move *things* through the pipes and clear out the toilet bowl. The Gunny, who built bathrooms for a short time before joining the Marine Corps, said he'd have to take the toilet out and free the pink pencil case when he made it home from work. I decided that was too long to be subject to the terror that is the kids' bathroom.

On a related note, I am not mechanically inclined. At all. I have a tendency to break everything I touch. I'm the one who takes something with a minor problem and turns it into a major disaster. That's me. I coerced my kids into reaching their skinny hands up into the toilet before I did anything myself.

So, when that didn't work, I headed into the bathroom with a wire coat hanger, some rags, and what little strength I could scrape together. Amazingly, I knew to turn off the water and disconnect the hose from the wall before attempting to remove the toilet. I also knew that I'd need to stop up the hole in the floor (in the center of the gooey wax ring) so the room wouldn't fill with sewer gas. I know, I know; I was impressed with myself too.

A few nuts later, the toilet was upside down and I was jabbing the twisted coat hanger into the p-trap to dislodge the pink pencil case. The stupid thing finally slid free in a rush of opaque, brown um... water.

I was so proud of myself that I didn't notice how slow the toilet flushed after I had it put back in place. By the time I was ready to go to bed, however, the toilet wasn't flushing at all. Again. I stressed about it for a bit, plunging like a madwoman to keep from looking incompetent in front of The Gunny. Still no luck.

Then I remembered the wire coat hanger, which had mysteriously disappeared.

Let me back up for a minute here. After the disappearing/reappearing pink pencil case ordeal, I'd washed two loads of soggy towels, bleached the crap out of my bathroom (literally), and scheduled therapy for my emotional scarring. I sure as sugar didn't want to go through all of that again. But I also didn't want to have to tell The Gunny that I left a mangled wire hanger in the p-trap.

My pride won and I dismantled the toilet. Again. I did two loads of laundry. Again. I bleached the bathroom. Again.

The moral of this story? 2yo is the spawn of Satan. No wait- I'm stronger than I first believed. I did what I had to do to make things work, even when it meant going back into the fray. Again.

Getting published isn't a whole lot different from dislodging a pink pencil case and a wire coat hanger from the p-trap of a toilet. You might go into it feeling like it's going to be a piece of cake, or you might have to force yourself to send off that first query-- but you do it anyway. And then you suffer. You find yourself up to your elbows in crap, standing in a *muddy* puddle, and dry-heaving over an unusable toilet. Or not. Whatever. But you get through the rejections, and you get your pretty pink requests for partials and fulls.

This is where I am in the publishing game right now; having procured my pink pencil case and discovering there's still more to be done. I'm stronger than I first believed though, and I'm diving back in to finish the job. I'm familiar with the plumbing this time, and I know I can get this done and get it done right.

How far into your p-trap are you?