My crappy week

Poopfairy

A couple of weeks ago, my life turned to crap.

Literally.

Decide now if you want to hang with AGMA or bail to a blog about cats or Whole30 testimonies.

This isn’t going to be pretty.

But then again, as 45 has reminded us so many times just by having his image broadcast digitally or in print, life isn’t always pretty. Or even semi-attractive. Or meh.

It all started two weeks ago in Chicago when we were visiting our son, DIL & adorable grandchildren. We’d all enjoyed a stress-free (NOT) lunch on Saturday with 4 adults, a 6 month old and a 2 year old.

On the way back to the car, Hubs unknowingly stepped in a pile of doggie doo doo. On the sidewalk. Evidently the myth of the Poop Fairly is alive and well in Chicago.

It soon became very apparent something was seriously amiss after we all piled in the car. My son said, “I think I stepped in some dog poo. Something stinks.”

That seemed to catch my 2 year old grandson’s attention. “Where dog poo?” he repeated over and over. And over.

Hubs discovered the offending blob on his shoe. We all held our noses until we got home to a chorus of “Where dog poo?”

We cleaned the offending excrement from Hubs shoe – unfortunately, it was a two person job – then attempted to enter my son’s condo. Evidently some extremely tidy alien has taken up residence in my son. He inspected the scrubbed shoe to ensure every molecule of dog digestive by-product was removed before we were allowed though the door.

I’m pretty sure about the alien thing. His room as he was growing up, and his apartments during and after college until he got married were Hoarders TV show worthy. Now he’s a total neat freak. Aliens…

For the entire rest of the visit, my grandson was dog poo obsessed.

O-B-S-E-S-S-E-D.

“Where grandpa dog poo?” “Where go dog poo?” “Dog poo stinky.” “Grandpa got dog poo.” and “Where dog poo shoe?”

My DIL texted me after we got home that he was still talking about the dog poo all that next week. Every pile of yard debris on the side walk was, “Dat dog poo.”

The day after the great dog poo escapade, AGMA received a text from a friend who had looked in on our cats. Clearly one of them was not happy that we had left them and decided to go all passive aggressive on us.

There were 4 – countem’ 4 – piles of cat doo doo on our living room rug. Our off-white, long shag living room rug.

Sh*t. Literally.

He said he tried to start cleaning it up, but didn’t know where our cleaning supplies were and didn’t want to make a bigger mess. So he just left it all.

Nice.

So we had an extra special treat when we came home Sunday evening. And guess who got to clean it and the carpet all up? Hint – not Hubs.

The final blow (or blow out) came on Monday.

This is probably TMI, but Hubs has a “slow” metabolism. “Things” don’t necessarily move everyday. And when we travel, it’s worse. He tells me it’s difficult to relax on an “strange” toilet.

He relaxes when he gets home. Sometimes he relaxes so much it stops up the plumbing. Which is what happened that dreadful Monday.

Can you see where this is going?

The commode in our master bath is somewhat finicky. It will act like it gets stopped up, but will clear out with a 2nd flush. I’ve learned not to use the plunger until after the 2nd flush.

And this was AGMA’s fatal mistake that miserable Monday.

My assumption was that I could clear the blockage with another flush. Had AGMA lifted the lid, I would have discovered that this was NOT a normal situation and another flush would be a disaster of monstrous proportions.

I flushed.

It overflowed.

Double sh*t. Literally.

AGMA won’t go into any more detail. You seriously need to be thankful for this.

But I will tell you that the clean-up was a multi-day effort. It involved scores of towels, rubber gloves, throw-away shoes, old clothes covering every inch of exposed flesh, a mop, Spic-n-Span, beach (lots of bleach) and many loads of laundry. Plus emptying out floor of the closet that was in the path of the fateful flush. More bleach and Spic-n-Span. And lots of stuff beyond salvation getting trashed.

It was an exhausting effort.

So, as a public service, here is AGMA’s top 10 take-aways list from my crappy few days…

10.  Never mention dog poo to a 2 year old even if you are knee deep in it.

9.   Plan on having somebody visit your cats more than once over a long weekend.

8.   FaceTime with the cats as often as possible to let them know you miss them and will be coming home soon. Encourage them to use their litter box.

7.   Have cleaning supplies on the counter and plainly visible for cat caretakers.

6.   Offer a free bottle of champagne or spirit of choice to said caretaker if said cleaning supplies are used in an appropriate manner.

5.   Encourage Hubs to eat more fiber on out of town trips.

4.   Encourage Hubs to purchase an OTC “relaxing” stimulant on out of town trips.

3.   Keep a supply of old towels handy in the bathroom. Really handy. Always.

2.   No cardboard or paper items on the floor of the water closet closet. Gross.

And my #1 takeaway from this weekend from bodily function hell…

For the love of all that’s holy and sacred, always…always…ALWAYS lift the lid before flushing to get the lay of the land to see what you are dealing with.

DON’T FLUSH BLIND.

If AGMA can save just one of you from her horrible fate…well…then, it was worth it.

Airport essentials

toilet

AGMA is crazy.

More crazy than usual that is.  Perish the thought…

And no matter how crazy I said I was in the past, this is way worse. I’m still in that season of incredibly busyness that I wrote about a few months ago. Only it’s gotten busier.

For reasons that will slowly unfold like the delicate petals of a miniature rose (such a pedestrian image, I know…) over my next several blog posts, AGMA will not be stationary for most of the month of November.

What’s up with that?

Long story that I won’t bore you with now. But you just know that it’s coming…

Travel. Lots of travel. Not a bad thing at all.  Just a busy thing.

Which leads me into a topic that I have touched on earlier in several posts. “Touched down on”, may be the more accurate phrase.

The wonderful invention of John Harrington in 1596, brought to the masses by Thomas Crapper in the 1860’s…

The remarkable, incredible indoor toilet.

One of the fascinating aspects of travel, both domestically and internationally, is the large variety of toilets you come in contact with. Literally. And some you regret coming in contact with…

AGMA’s been known to carry a small packet of toilet seat covers in my travel purse to prevent any buyers remorse.

Men don’t really have the same appreciation for the vast depth and breadth of toilet types as women . Or the mystery involved. Much of men’s ‘business’ is conducted at the porcelain pseudo-potty – the urinal – out in the open for the world to see. They really don’t enter into the adventure that is ‘the stall’ unless they need to get serious about things.

And if other men are anything like Hubs, they will do as much as possible to prevent the stall ‘experience’ in public bathrooms. Hubs likes to have his library close by to wile away the hours… When we’re on the road, he’s been known to physically elbow me out of the way when we get back to our hotel room after a day of sightseeing and makes a beeline for the throne room. I guess he leaves his scent there or something.

AGMA could get quite poetic about all of the different toilets she’s adorned, but I’m not sure any of your are quite ready for that.

So today, we’ll confine our examination to toilets found in airport bathrooms.

I’d be willing to bet that 99.9% of people who fly either use an airport bathroom before taking off or after landing. Especially after landing. I know this for a fact from the huge lines outside of the ladies restrooms after any flight I’ve ever been on lands.

AGMA’s a double dipper – I gotta go both ways. That might be TMI…

Since Atlanta is my home, I’m not particularly proud of the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport women’s toilets. It’s a mixed bag. Sometimes they will be really clean, but other times, you have to survey a couple of stalls before you find one that’s acceptable.

Slightly embarrassing since the Hartsfield-Jackson is the busiest airport in the world for passenger volume. Yes, I said the WORLD.

W-O-R-L-D.

I can’t even wrap my head around the fact that millions and millions of people from all over the world are using my airport’s toilets. Many are coming to the U.S.A. for the first time from countries with spotless airport restrooms and toilets. It’s saddens AGMA that their first impression of the U.S. could be an empty toilet paper holder and a non-working flusher.

Oh, the humanity.

AGMA’s favorite airport toilets are at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport (pictured above). Simple, clean and easy to use. They have those magic built-in toilet seat covers.  With a wave of my hand, I have a fresh parking pad.  It’s exhilarating.

I’ve never been to a Japanese airport. But I hear the toilets in Japan are amazing. Very high tech with all kinds of fancy options. Each one has a master control panel that gives you a curated, personalized ‘elimination’ experience second to none. From heated seats to jets of water for ‘personal cleansing‘ to automatic sanitizing and deodorizing, they are supposed to be the ultimate in bathroom comfort.

Plus I think they might even bake cookies for you to enjoy afterward.

Over the next month, I’m going to have the opportunity to try out many different toilets in both domestic and international airports. Stay tuned for the further adventures of “AGMA on the Road.”

But I’ll probably pass on any cookies…

To go or not to go; that is the question

VaticanToilet

With many apologies to my man, WillieS, the “go” refers to…you know…going.  As in going to the bathroom.

Yes – it’s the long awaited toilet post.

Last month, my husband and I hopped over to Rome for a week.  It was a “Black Friday” travel deal.  Yes, travel also is on sale on “Black Friday” along with the big screen TV’s and Dr. Dre Beats headphones.  And it was pretty darned inexpensive.  For Rome.

I just love those “it’s just too good of a deal not to go” deals!

Our tour company upgrade our hotel at the last minute.  This was a delightful surprise based on the reviews of the original hotel.  Seems as if they were being threatened with multiple lawsuits from people with bedbugitis from that hotel.  Good call.

The replacement hotel was lovely.  Good location – near the Termini train station and all kinds of public transit.  Helpful, friendly staff.  Small but clean room.  A large bed with no unwanted microscopic bedmates.  And most importantly, a spic-n-span bathroom.

I’m not really a very fussy person.  You’d know that if you saw my car.  Or my house.  Or read my blog.  But I do like a clean bathroom when I travel.  Just makes me feel better about spending time in there.  You know, it helps me “relax”.

The bonus was we had a lovely squeaky clean bidet as well!  I’ve played with bidets many times trying to figure out how they work and why they exist.  Hey – I’m American…  We’re really not interest in being THAT clean.

I decided several years ago to use them to store for my bathroom stuff.  I line it with a towel of course – squeaky clean looks can be deceiving.  Fussy.  I have a friend who does her laundry in them.

I love Europe.

But I noticed on this trip that 95% of the bathrooms I visited (not in our hotel), were missing their toilet seat covers.  What’s up with that?  I get that maybe (and that’s a doubtful maybe) it’s okay in the summer, but it was January.  That porcelain was freakin’ cold.

At first I thought that it was just that we frequented out of the way establishments. We do like to get off the beaten path.  Value travel, you know?

But then we went to St. Peter’s in the Vatican.  I’ve been there twice before, but it still takes my breath away.  So dramatic.  So majestic.  Bernini’s columned courtyard. Michelangelo’s dome.  The Pieta.  The Sistine Chapel.  And the Vatican Museums containing some of the finest art from the ancient world through the Renaissance.

In the middle of gaping and manic picture taking, I suddenly got the “urge”.  I smiled, feeling confident as I headed toward the facilities.  Certainly, amidst all of this splendor and priceless art and holy artifacts, the bathrooms have to be outstanding with deep, plush toilet seats that give you visions of the heavenly realm when you set your bottom on it.  It’s built on top of St. Peter’s tomb for goodness sake.  This is holy ground.

I snapped a picture (above) of what I found.  Huh?  I heard no angel songs.

My husband thinks they don’t put seats on the toilets because people steal them. Seriously?  How does somebody not notice that you are walking out with a toilet seat under your arm?  They would notice at the Vatican.

I think it’s just a “thing” in Rome not to have toilets seats.  Go figure…

But it’s okay.  Really it is.  Because it’s all relative.

In 2012 I traveled through Trieste, Italy on the way to Croatia.  The Trieste train station, built in 1857 and renovated in 2007 looked brand, sparkling new inside. Modern cafe, newish looking small grocery store and Euro-modern waiting room.

I was tired after flying all night from the US to Venice.  It seemed like a long train ride from Venice to Trieste.  I was cranky.  I had to go but I hate Italian train bathrooms. They’re definitely not spic-n-span clean.  Yuck.

Seeing the refurbished station got me hopeful.  I hurried through the waiting area following the restroom signs.  I swept into the ladies room and opened the stall door. Ta-da…

TriesteToilet

“You’ve to be kidding me.”  I actually said it out loud.

In my 20’s I used these toilets in Greece.  I’m not in my 20’s anymore.  I seriously doubt my knees would support me.  I decided I didn’t have to go that bad.  That mind-body connection is amazing.

So it’s all relative.  A little one-on-one with cold porcelain isn’t so bad from time to time.

When in Rome…