In two inches of shitty water. Plunging the drain in the basement. Over and over again. Wads of hair. Toilet paper. Band-aids. Pieces of foil. Rubber bands. Bits of unidentifiable things built up over years, even long before we got here. It splashes me. It stinks. But it’s nearly midnight and I’m not losing this battle.
I don’t give up.
There’s too much going on in life right now. Clogs are not allowed.
The kids are adjusting to new schools, more responsibility, social distancing, and daily unknowns. It’s not easy. I remember. I was there. But they are kids. They’ll be all right. They are growing and learning, and challenges present themselves so we learn to adapt. Change course. Do what needs to be done to survive and keep on keepin’ on.
My wife has been working long hours. Up early, at it all day, and still at it into the evening. She’s brilliant. Helping students and parents navigate this new world of education. It’s stressful. Emotionally and mentally taxing, but she simply smiles. She’s got patience, creativity, and good old-fashioned street smarts.
They have full days, but they still have time. To play, read, listen to music, exercise, watch TV. Relax. It’s a balancing act, for sure, but the longer we’re at it, the better we get. We’re not perfect. We argue. We disagree. We don’t always listen well or act as we should. But we know these things, are quick to fess up when we’ve made mistakes, support one another, and we move on. It’s a no-bullshit kind of household, filled with opportunity, honesty, and love. The kind that’s fluid, without bounds, that keeps going and going. No matter what tries to clog the way.
I stare at the dirty clothes piled on the washing machine. My boy needs his soccer uniform for tomorrow. There’s a shirt in there my daughter wants to wear. My wife has got to be near the end of her bra inventory. And I am missing the comfort of my Pearl Jam and Rage Against the Machine t-shirts. There are dishes to wash. Showers to take. Life doesn’t wait for backed up sewer lines.
So, I bear down and plunge like a jackhammer. For five minutes, until sweat drips down my nose and my forearms burn. This, this type of awful mess, is not allowed in our home. Finally, when I stop, the chunky brown water begins to move. Slowly toward the center until all at once there is a great swirling rush and it is gone.