Alan and I drove down to Waco last Friday for a quick visit with our Baylor boys. I also had some fun things to do with dear friends Friday night and Saturday. Since Bryce and Reed share a 2 bedroom apartment, Alan and I usually stay with them instead of getting a hotel room. A few days before we arrive, Alan "treats" the boys to a royal housecleaning by Modesta who used to clean for my mom. (Truth be told, we actually treat ourselves to the Modesta cleanse. The boys call the Modesta cleanse "hospital clean.") Modesta loves the boys and is always glad to help out. Last week, we extended the offer. "Call Modesta and get her to come clean your apartment before we get there!" "OK. We will."
They did not. According to them, they didn't have time to pre-clean for Modesta. Oh, no. That would involve about an hour of clearing paths of dirty clothes and debris from each room. I can't imagine what the pre-clean would involve in the kitchen. Assuredly, a lawn and leaf trash bag for stuffing full of empty Frito bags, Ramen cups, and Dr. Pepper cans would be necessary, and I shudder to think what else.
Upon our arrival, the place looked fairly acceptable. The floors were cleared. Reed's sheets were in the washer. The carpet was filthy, but we were able to walk without tripping. As we settled into Reed's room, he said that it would be a while before the sheets (turns out he meant the fitted sheet only) would be ready. It takes about 3 hours to dry a Kleenex in their apartment's drier. I peeked into his bathroom and noticed that there was no TP and that the TP holder only had one "arm" still attached to the wall.
"Reed, do we need to make a run to the store for some toilet paper?"
"Ahhhh. No. There is toilet paper in Bryce's bathroom. Actually my toilet has been broken for a couple of days. I was going to call them tomorrow to see if they'd come fix it."
A couple of days.
"Ya'll can use Bryce's bathroom!"
Thank goodness they live in a 2 bedroom - 2 bathroom apartment.
The next morning, I was awakened to hear Alan returning from a "potty parts" run. He decided that all the potty needed was one of those plastic things that acts as a stopper so that the tank can refill after flushing. Yawning, I rolled out of bed and dug out of my suitcase the clean towel and washcloth that I brought from home. (This wasn't my first Boy Apartment Rodeo.) "I need some scissors or a knife," Alan said heading towards the kitchen. I shuffled on into the bathroom to turn on the shower. I struggled to pull out the knob to get the water flowing. The shower head whined as it wildly sprayed boiling hot water harem scarem into the tub. Try as I might, I could only get the water temperature to be boiling or freezing. I couldn't find even the slightest happy medium in between.
Squeezing into the 3 by 4 foot space between the tub, potty and door, Alan gallantly came to my rescue. Carefully turning the knob back and forth, he found the "sweet spot" of water temperature. The only problem was that at that exact sweet spot, the water slowed down to a generous trickle.
"That's not going to work for me. I've got to wash my hair. There's no way I can rinse it in a trickle! I'm going to try Bryce's shower!" As I gathered up all of my showering supplies, Alan completed the installation of the potty gizmo and gave it a flush. Water began to pour from the toilet bowl "dampening" my fresh, clean towel. I grabbed it up and hopped over the tidal wave that was headed out the door.
Alan began to tame the rising waters by vigorously plunging with his lips tightly pursed together. I grabbed dirty towels out of Reed's overstuffed laundry basket and formed a terry cloth dam for the rising reservoir. All of a sudden, Alan stomped his feet into the tub where he could brace himself for more powerful plunging. After 32 years of marriage, I quickly recognized the stomping as my signal to head for the hills. Before I could find shelter, I saw that Alan was whacking the plunger on the side of the tub between plunges. The old plunger was inverting itself with every shove. My fight-or-flight instinct took over, and I quickly backed out of the splash zone.
I heard the plunger being violently thrown down into the tub. Alan emerged from Reed's room with jeans soaked on the front side from the knees down (the only pair he packed) and soaking Sperrys. "I'm going to go buy a new plunger," he said with forced, terse calmness. "Bye, Sweetie! Be careful!" I called softly.
Sighing, I went into Bryce's bathroom and turned on the shower. Again, only HOT, HOT water. No cold to be found. With Alan out on the plunger errand, I had to wake up Bryce for assistance. He came to my rescue with sleepy still in his eyes. Rather expertly, he forcefully turned the shower knob to the right...to the left...to the right...to the left. Then, with the hands of a surgeon he began to carefully turn the knob right and left in the tiniest of increments. "You've got to crack it like a safe, Mom," he explained as he declared the water safe for human bathing.
Shower complete, I dried off and slapped on my robe. I grabbed the door knob, pulled, and the door wouldn't budge. Again and again, I yanked at the door. Nothing. I finally resorted to knocking on the door in hopes that one of the boys would come to my rescue. I heard footsteps and then the booms of a shoulder banging on the door. The door swung open and Bryce blandly said, "It's child-proofed." "Child-proofed?!" I had to laugh.
Alan returned with the new plunger and within minutes we heard the welcome sound of the toilet gasping as it finally emptied out the flooded bowl. Victory! While Alan soaked up all of the toilet water on the floor with Reed's dirty towels, I prepared to blow dry my hair. I plugged my blow drier in one of the plugs adjacent to Reed's sink. Nothing. I pushed the little buttons on the blow drier and tried again. Nothing. Yanking the cord plug from the wall, I headed to Bryce's bathroom. Again. Nothing. Panic began to settle in as I looked at the clock. I didn't have the heart to ask Alan to go on a blow drier run.
Instead, I tried the plug next to Reed's desk. Ahhhhh, at last the sound of the blow drier calmed my nerves. I set up my blow drying tools and a hand mirror on Reed's desk. Blow-blow-blow! Silence. The distance from the desk to the plug was a wee bit too much. I reached over and plugged the blow drier back in. Blow-blow-blow! Silence. Plug in. Blow-blow-blow! Silence. Plug in. I was "this close" to marching over to the apartment office in my bathrobe to pitch a fit about the "horrible living conditions" in apartment #523. But, I had a brunch date with friends. The apartment manager lived to see another day.
College apartment living ain't for sissies. Turns out. I'm a sissy.