"UH-OH" I heard my then toddler - Dylan announce as the bathroom door slammed shut. Muffled voices rifted through the door in conspiratorial tones. I had just sat down to eat a bowl of pasta and watch the telly - my tummy wanted filling yet my ear was moving towards the voices.
Earlier I had picked up my niece - Krissy - older by one year than Dylan and had taken them to the drive-through at McDonald's. I ordered - then paid for two cheeseburger Happy Meals - and was pulling away when I hear, "Hey...who put the cheese on my burger? I don't like cheese!" Instantaneous echo from Dylan. "Hey...who put da cheese on my booger? I don't like cheese!"
"I'm not going back so eat the food." I glanced in my rear-view mirror as Krissy whispered in Dylan's ear. Whoever invented that add-on was brilliant - it gave me the illusion of magical powers. My kid was convinced I had eyes in the back of my head and did until he was in 3rd grade.
Babysitting my beautiful niece - then 3½ - who lived in her beloved cowboy boots with pink outfits her mother forced her to wear - was unlike watching any kid I ever met. Krissy drove her car battery operated Barbie car around her neighborhood with Danika Patrick NASCAR precision. I would close my eyes as she veered around parked cars waiting for her tiny head to get lobbed off onto the concrete. How does one resuscitate a dead head - screeched through my mind.
This is pre-earthquake in North Hollywood when our local mailman was the drug dealer. Before the beautification of NOHO which is now filled with snow.
The last time Kris had visited she kicked sand in a kid's face at the park for throwing sand on her cousin. I loved Krissy's bravado - the other kid was a larger boy than her.
But on this particular day? I wanted to chop off all of her beautiful blonde locks by afternoon's end. Don't have kids? Think I'm being mean? Borrow a couple for a day or week.
I left my uneaten pasta by the television set and had my ear pressed against the door. I kept hearing the kids trying to flush the toilet followed by Dylan's "Uh-Oh!" followed by "Shhhhhh...don't say anything Dyl."
Then the door flew open and Krissy stopped - looked up at me with animated blue eyes - started humming and began playing with her fingers. Dylan followed suit. The toilet was about to overflow so I jumped between the kids and started plunging - oddly enough the water would start to go down and slightly rose back up.
As I was plunging away I asked the duo what they put into the toilet? Dylan started to talk but got a hard glance from his cousin and Krissy smiled sweetly, "Nothin'. We didn't put nothin' in the toilet."
"Yeah, mommy - nuttink. We didn't do it." Dylan chimed in.
I knew something was stuck down there but looked around and couldn't find any evidence other than Dylan's bath toys. "You didn't put a toy down there did you?" Both shook their heads in unison. Krissy was putting a hand to her mouth to hide a fearful smile. I knew Dylan wouldn't part with a toy - but couldn't figure out what was packing the pipes.
The kids beelined for the living room and left me to deal with the gnarling toilet.
Within three flushes I knew I had to call my manager.
Of course it was a weekend when a plumber would cost a fortune - nothing in a kid's world happens during office hours. The manager quizzed me and I kept telling him I was sure they didn't stuff a toy down there and he assured me the guy would be there but I was responsible for whatever was down there if not a normal problem.
I sat waiting and Dylan let it slip that it was a bottle. I asked them if they put a baby bottle into the toilet. "Noo." The cousins looked at one another and started to giggle. "Come on, what was it?"
Krissy - "Nothing."
Dylan - "A bottle, mommy."
Almost an hour went by as I waited for the plumber when it hit me. I wanted to run - but had to call the manager to let him know what awaited the handyman because I couldn't get it out.
Fortunately - he was a Gay guy who would just be matter of fact and not make innuendos - as past male managers had. I rang and informed him of what I thought was in the toilet and he sighed. "Oh, no! That is so embarrassing. Well, it's gonna cost you whatever it takes to get it out."
The doorbell rang and in came the plumber - plumber butt and all. He smiled and into my bathroom he went with the kids in tow - gleefully wanting to see the "working man" fix the toilet. All I heard was the man slowly go from smiles - to grunts - to cursing. "What the hell type of toy did these two jam down into here? I have to remove the entire damned toilet from the floor!"
I cringed as the kids were now out playing on our balcony - having a blast and I was drowing in red over what was about to be discovered.
Last night's bath came crashing into my mind and I couldn't believe I had left an unused d-
"I got it! Oh, lady I can't believe they crammed this down there!" Roaring laughter over his discovery of my unused douche bottle.
I politely asked him if he could keep the cost down - through tears - he said he'd talk to the manager as he finished his job and left - still chuckling.
Krissy's visit cost me $200. The douche bottle pack was from the 99 cent store.
Later I put the two down for a nap without a story or a nursery rhyme. I stood in the doorway looking at their faces and couldn't help but admire their own handywork.