Thursday, November 18, 2010

Literal poop, literal fan. Hooray!

For today's installment of Embarrassing Stories Thursday, I'm cheating a bit. I don't know if I'd call it embarrassing, but it does showcase spectacularly poor judgment, and while I was a child at the time so some bad judgment is to be expected, the emphasis is truly on "spectacularly" and it being in italics. It is the real deal.

Back in the day, we had a Kirby vacuum cleaner. In fact, I'm fairly sure my parents still have it, but I wouldn't know that absolutely because following this incident, it took out a restraining order against me and I haven't actually been allowed within 20 feet of it, which made entering through the front door difficult, since it lives in the hall closet. I've spent the rest of my life entering my parents' house either through the garage, back door, or even an open window. But do not feel badly for me: It is my own doing.

Anyway, allow me to set the scene: These were dark days in my family. I don't remember where exactly we were on this scale, but my mother was either really ill or she'd just recently died. This whole time period is kind of a blur to me, actually, I'm sure I'd fail entirely at putting most events of my childhood on any sort of timeline if we hadn't moved a few times, allowing me a house background to help ground certain things. Like, "That happened in house #1!" and "Oh, that was after 1990, because we lived in house #3!"

Also important to the story is the fact that we had an absolutely terrible dog. This dog had one redeeming characteristic, which was that she was adorable, and one sentimental redeeming thing about her, which was that she’d been my mom’s dog, an almost identical pup to one she had as a child. The dog’s many, many cons were: 1) It was psychotic. 2) It bit. and 3) It occasionally pooped indoors. (It also ate photos of people, so you’d sometimes be treated to seeing your own face looking up at you from the lawn. It was hard not to take this personally, and truly I think it was intended that way. Thanks for that, Spunky.) However, I think we’d lost so many things that it was hard for my dad to say, “Well, time to kill your dog!

So, my grandmother is coming to visit! It is important that we present a front of having it together so she not worry about us. This includes having the house totally cleaned. The dog helpfully craps in the living room moments before our visitor’s arrival. My dad, delegating, assigns me to pick up the poop. I head into the living room, ready to move the poo to its watery toilet grave, and, what’s this? The shiny silver (extremely expensive) vacuum cleaner, parked right next to the poop? And already plugged in? WELL. The cogs in my brain turn like the game Mouse Trap and it takes me .041 seconds to decide that vacuuming up the poop is a really great and efficient idea.

There are sound effects that go with this story (which I frequently tell at dinner parties (we do not get many repeat invites)) which make it infinitely better. I’m not sure I can recreate them here, but: VaroooommmWHIRRRRRRFFFFFTTTT, WHIRRRFTTTTTTTT, WHIRRRFTTTTTT and then, almost immediately, the smell of burnt crap. Everywhere. On your nostril hairs. In the living room. In the point of the house furthest from the living room. Possibly even across the street. Ohhh. My father comes galloping into the room, where I’m standing with my unfortunate permed bangs, holding the vacuum tube in one hand, having an out of body experience because I’ve realized what I’ve just done.

DING-DONG. Hello! Grannie is here!

This is a good place to note that the living room was DIRECTLY next to the dining room and we would shortly be eating dinner.

I don’t actually know what conversations ensued between my father and the vacuum repair place, but I can only guess that they were not unembarrassing and it wasn’t inexpensive. This is making me realize that I should send my dad an Edible Arrangement today. Or maybe invent a dedicated Poop Vacuum (one where The Shit does not literally hit The Fan and evenly distribute it inside the inner workings of the vacuum and burn it to enhance the smell?) and share the proceeds with him. Magical, fully funded happy retirement times for everyone! See you on the links (which I think refers in some way to golf or similar rich people pastime)!


  1. Pamela, I nearly fell out of my chair. Hahaha.

  2. So funny! When I was a bad teenager, I had drunk kids over to the house when my parents were of them puked in my parents' bedroom. Like you, I decided that simply vacuuming it up was the right way to get it cleaned up before my parents got home. For YEARS, whenever you turned on the vacuum, it smelled like puke. I told my parents that it was dog puke I tried to clean up....nevermind it smelled like tequila.

  3. OMG - I have tears in my eyes so funny. You are the best.