Monday, August 11, 2008


That's what it says on my calendar, in three different places: "FDOC", First Day Of Classes.  Timothy, Stephen, and Jonah all start school today, I start in a week (kinda, it's complicated), and Sam starts Kindergarten in a couple of weeks.

Summer went out with a bang and a whimper last night.  I was in our shower taking note of the fact that the leak remains, rendering our shower inoperable for yet another few weeks at least. (There's a great story there, in the showers.  Maybe I'll write it one day.) I was standing there trying to figure out how large a bead of water would have to be on copper pipe threads before it moved from the category of  "possible condensation" to "inanimate retribution."

Then Jonah yelled: "DAD!"  His voice had a painful, mournful tone, so I got to moving instead of just yelling back.  While I was en route, he began crying in fierce sobs.

I found him in the hall bathroom upstairs.  He was naked, of course (because he has a little George Constanza in him; don't we all?) and standing beside the toilet.  His hand clutched a LEGO contraption, but his eyes were locked inside the bowl.

I stopped just outside the door, "What happened?"

He began crying again, "I dropped a LEGO in there!"  His free hand pointed to the toilet.

Now, a good dad would seek to comfort his child and reassure him that things were not as bad as they seemed, etc.

I yelled.  "No more LEGO's in the bathroom!  Do you hear me?  All of you boys, come here right now.  No more LEGO's in the bathroom from this day forward!"  Timothy smirked, Stephen looked stricken (since his favorite post-bedtime pastime had just been taken away), Sam kept trying to look into the bathroom to figure out what happened. 

Jonah continued to cry.  "Can you get it out? It's one of my favorite pieces."

"Yes, I can get it out.  But no more LEGO's in the bathroom.  Ok?"

"Okay.  Can you get it out now?"

I looked in the toilet for the first time.  Suffice it to say, the bowl was full.  I actually had to ask, "Where's the LEGO?"  Jonah pointed it out from a safe distance and apologized.  "It's fine," I said, calmer now.  "Don't flush."

While Jonah stood guard over the toilet, I headed back to my bathroom and got my tweezers.  Then I stopped and put them back.  Ew.

I went downstairs and got a long, wooden skewer, snapped it in half, and figured that would be a) long enough, and b) disposable.

There are some similarities between using chopsticks to remove food from a plate and using a broken skewer to remove a LEGO from a full toilet.  But there aren't enough similarities to make what I was doing pleasant.  After a minute, I had the LEGO suspended on a skewer and outside the bowl.  I wrapped it in toilet paper to keep it from dripping while I decided on the next step in the plan.  

At this point, I flushed the toilet.  Jonah screamed and came running back into the bathroom, still naked.  I told him that I had the piece and showed him the toilet paper ball on the end of the pair of skewers.  "Ew," he said.  I gave him a look that said, "Ew indeed."

Holding the toilet soaked, paper wrapped, skewered LEGO, I went downstairs to call my friend, who works in water-borne diseases at the CDC.  I asked him if it would be okay to put a LEGO that had fallen into the toilet into the dishwasher.  My main concerns were a) would the dishwasher clean the LEGO and remove the germs, and b) would the presence of said soaked LEGO contaminate the other items in the dishwasher.  He said yes to a) and no to b).  Good enough for me.

But we're out of dishwashing detergent, so the LEGO is still in the dishwasher, along with all the spoons.  Which means that I had to steal my wife's spoon this morning to make chocolate milk for the boys' first day of class.

The boys are pros at this by now, and we all slid into the normal routine: up at 7:00, herded upstairs at 7:20 to get dressed, etc.  Because of the relative newness, everyone finished a little early (except Timothy, who got up very early and was done before of the other boys was awake).  Then we went outside to take pictures, which will be posted at the appointed time.

Tomorrow will be a little easier and a little harder, just like this school year will be a little easier and a little harder, until one day I won't be needed to pour milk into Yellow Cereal or to remind Stephen to take off his shirt before brushing his teeth.  And then one day they'll be gone.

But that's a bit heavy.  It's just the first day of class.  Fifth, third, and second grades.  Kindergarten for Sam.  Law School for me.  

More on all of this later.


At 3:24 PM, Anonymous Abbie said...

I am cracking up. Soooooo funny.
I'm thankful Kristie sent out an email to notify us of this recent drama. :-)
Also, happy to know about your blog!

At 3:26 PM, Anonymous Abbie said...

Oh my goodness---I just went back to the post to click on the link.
That's when I discovered Jonathan is famous! How fun!

At 9:54 PM, Blogger Splitcat Chintzibobs said...

You are a prince among dads. I don't know if either love of Lego or love of child could have made me plumb those depths of fatherly devotion. As I read I couldn't help but think of The Old Man and the Sea (I think it was the broken spear that set me thinking that way).

At 1:52 PM, Blogger Katy said...

Hey Scott, we need a new post. PS I tagged you on my blog. Feel free to ignore. I know you're really busy with Facebook and all.


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