Tag Archives: poop

When Animals Behave Like Animals

DSCN4037Bowel movements. Bathing. Reproduction. These are all normal, everyday activities (ok – maybe the last one isn’t everyday unless you’re in a new relationship with someone really hot), which require the removal of clothing. They’re performed behind closed doors. And if someone walks in on you while you’re in the middle of doing it (especially doing it), everyone is expected to die of embarrassment.

denisovans_fig_1That’s what we’re taught as children, and that’s supposedly what we’re expected to teach our own children. Yet with the simple removal of just a pair of chromosomes, these private moments involving our very private parts and called “nasty” in the case of humans, become “nature” when talking about animals.

From Epic Parenting Fail. I can already tell I'm going to love this website!

From Epic Parenting Fail. I can already tell I’m going to love this website!

I had a friend whose toddler loved to reach into his diaper, scoop out a wad of poop, and then draw on his bedroom walls. If the baby was using oil colors, his parents would have praised him and named him Picasso, but since he was painting with stinky excrement, his hand was slapped and he was sent to the corner without dessert.

imagesThis apparently isn’t the case with man’s close relative – the gorilla. Last week I took my 7-year old son Jake to the zoo.  Jake and a creature resembling Tarzan’s best friend were studying each other when he turned around, exposing his backside (the gorilla – not Jake). He squatted directly over the moat separating the primates from the humans and started to bear down, giving the onlookers a peek of nature at work. Screen shot 2014-01-09 at 11.41.48 PMAt first I thought the gorilla had been meticulously potty trained to poop into the moat, making the collection easier for the zookeepers in training who enter the zoo hierarchy on the bottom rung as poop-picker-uppers. But instead of letting his feces fall freely, the gorilla caught the lump in his hand and set it down beside him.

64asia5rebzbzqwltib7ixrm4.400x300x1Then the gorilla pointed just like ET with his glowing index finger and he proceeded to play with the poop like it was some kind of fascinating new Play-Doh. The primate poked it and prodded it, then molded the middle of the dung heap, forming a little cup. Screen shot 2014-01-09 at 11.54.36 PMJust when you’d think he was going to sip from it as if it was a wine goblet, he reached back around to his backside and caught yet another load as it squeezed through his anus. The gorilla set the second lump down next to his little cup and poked some more.DSCN4079

The crowd reacted like they were watching a violent bus crash – aghast and horrified, yet so curious they couldn’t stop looking.

Jake thought it was cool.

Later, we went to visit the zebras and found two that were particularly friendly, if you get my meaning. Since I haven’t yet sat down to explain to Jake how babies are made, my mind was racing with explanations for the zebras’ behavior:

  • She’s giving that zebra a piggyback ride
  • They’re playing bucking broncos
  • She has an itchy butt and the boy zebra is helping her scratch it
  • She’s just giving him a boost
  • It’s a zebra game where they try to line up their stripes

DSCN4040It turns out I didn’t have to say anything. Jake just laughed and thought it was cool.

Then we visited the yellow-backed duikers, which are small African antelopes. They weren’t doing anything to call attention to themselves until one started licking the other’s butt. That one didn’t mind, and before you know it, he was exchanging the favor by simultaneously licking the other’s butt as well. The duikers were obviously enjoying themselves tremendously.DSCN4048

I figured that in a couple of years when I explain the facts of life to Jake, I’ll bypass the description of that little option for fear that in math class every answer he shouts out will be “69!” Jake will have to figure the duikers’ experience out for himself, or rather himself and some other willing partner. I guess learning experiences like that one are what college is for.

Jake says that when he grows up he wants to be a zookeeper. It will be very interesting to hear what he ends up telling kids who are asking why the duikers are licking each other’s butts, why gorillas play with their poop, and if zebras really are just striped horses since they’re mounting each other and taking a ride.

Maybe he won’t give any explanation. He’ll just tell them it’s cool.

Jake thinks the gorilla is cool!

Jake thinks the gorilla is cool!

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Filed under Humor, Kids, Parenting

How to Lose 10 lbs. in 2 Days – Have a Colonoscopy!

ColonoscopyOn September 13th of last year as I was dropping off my son at school, a friend of mine wished me a happy birthday. At midnight, I had posted a blog entitled I’m a Half Century Old Today! and she shared that she also had just passed the 50-year old mark.

“Did you schedule your colonoscopy?” she asked.

“Huh?” I obviously hadn’t learned much in the way of verbal skills in my first 50 years.

Apparently when you turn 50, it’s time to schedule your first colonoscopy, a procedure in which a fiber optic camera slides up your anus and explores your bowels for possibly cancerous polyps.

It sounds a little gross, but gross doesn’t usually bother me. After all, I have posted blogs about sewage rising up in my daughter’s shower, about how our dogs ate a box of Special K bars and sprayed a pool of diarrhea all over our bedroom rug, how I hate it when automated toilets flush and aerate my deposits all over my behind before I have a chance to stand up, and spending my morning bicep work out plunging my feces-filled toilet.

I have a 6-year old son, so every other word is “poop,” and “butt.” In fact, his teacher took me aside just this morning to tell me that Jake was demonstrating spelling words to his classmates by arranging magnetic letters, prompting the other 1st graders to sound out his word: “butt.”

There’s a good friend of mine who doesn’t read my blog, so I feel pretty safe to anonymously out him about his reaction to finding out he needed to schedule a colonoscopy. Apparently he is quite homophobic and was terrified of the thought of anyone probing his butt hole. I admit to frequently being naïve, but I have to say, this thought had never occurred to me. I wanted to tell him to man up, but perhaps I should come up with another choice of words.

So being the responsible middle aged woman that I now am, I had a gastrointestinal consultation and scheduled my first colonoscopy the week after I started hiatus from work. It took place yesterday. And yes, I was able to walk away from the procedure without looking like my butt cheeks were squeezing a quarter.

The prep began 5 days earlier when I was instructed to stop my daily low-dose aspirin which I take to prevent a heart attack. When in the world did I get so old that one health precaution cancels out another one? Soon I’ll be too senile to remember to take the aspirin, which will be a blessing since I’d rather die of a heart attack in my sleep than spend my last ten years repeatedly asking my caregiver if she gave me my baby aspirin.

Sunday was Mother’s Day and my last day in which I was allowed to eat food. You can bet I made a complete pig of myself. My Mother’s Day request was for my husband Tom to make his delicious jambalaya, so I devoured a huge bowl plus not one, but two pieces of garlic bread. For dessert I had an overflowing bowl of strawberries and vanilla bean ice cream. I was completely stuffed in the way I only feel after Thanksgiving. And like I do every Turkey Day evening, I vowed that I would never eat again.

IMG_3749 After ingesting these huge servings and guzzling about a gallon of water, I stepped on the bathroom scale and nearly fainted: 140 lbs! Other than the times I was pregnant with my children, I have never in my life weighed so much! I knew my pants were getting tighter, and this week when the mercury was record breaking, I found that I couldn’t zip up last summer’s shorts. Geez Louise! For a gal who’s just 5 foot 3 inches and seemingly fit, this was a huge eye-opener that I really need to lose a few pounds.

The next day I was put on a clear liquid diet, which was described as any liquid you could see a light bulb through: chicken broth, jello, popsicles, most juices without pulp, or nearly any liquid that wasn’t purple, blue or red. I was still full from the night before so I had a low-carb Monster drink with diet ginger ale and an orange Zip Fizz. Coffee surprisingly was on the acceptable list, but my flavored creamer wasn’t, so I avoided my standard 3-cup diet of morning java.

Then came what was potentially the hard part: the laxatives. The doctor advised me that I should not expect to work or plan to do anything because I would be frequently dashing to the toilet. IMG_3733

At 4:00 I was instructed to take 20 mg. of Dulcolax Laxative. A standard dose is 5 mg, so this is quadruple the normal amount for some poor soul who wanted to cure his constipation. Coincidentally, this was a half hour after my 12-year old daughter came home from school and begged me to go to her friend’s house to act as lifeguard so they could escape the 105 degree temperature in the family’s pool. I called the friend’s mom to let her know that this lifeguard might be taking several breaks and most likely stink up her bathroom so badly that it would probably be uninhabitable to the rest of the evening. My daughter who is consistently and devastatingly embarrassed at the mere mention of a bowel movement didn’t make a face or disparaging comment. The girls must have been desperate. I put on my swimsuit (not a pretty sight these days) and lounged by the pool, waiting for the inevitable.

Surprisingly, nothing happened.

IMG_3734At 6:00 I was directed to drink an entire 10 oz. bottle of Magnesium Citrate, a saline laxative with a standard dose of just 1 oz. I chose the lemon flavor and diluted it with Crystal Geiser, and it didn’t taste bad at all. This time I took a few trips to the toilet, but only one time was an emergency. Fortunately we have two bathrooms in our house, and several cans of room freshener.

IMG_3735At 9:00 I was given my final medication: 1 – 238 gm. bottle of Miralax power blended into a 64 oz. bottle of Gatorade.  Each bottle holds 14 doses, so you can imagine how effective an entire bottle would be.

It was a strange sensation. Instead of a diarrhea-like substance emitting from my bowels, it was a warm neon yellow liquid. Not at all unpleasant.  No, I didn’t take a picture of the aftermath for my blog. Even I have scruples on occasion.

IMG_3740The hardest part was the next morning – the day of the actual colonoscopy. I not only wasn’t allowed my coffee with or without creamer, I wasn’t even able to drink water after 6:30 am. For a gal who drinks about 2 gallons of water each day, this was a hardship.

At 10:30, my husband drove me to the Motion Picture Hospital in Woodland Hills where I paid just $125 (thank goodness for health insurance) and slid into a hospital gown. A nurse inserted a saline IV into my arm, attached some oxygen tubes to my nostrils, added some Demerol and Versed to my IV, and in moments I was in La La Land. Apparently I was not officially unconscious, but under a rather light sedation that would give me amnesia so I wouldn’t remember the procedure.

Tamera+4Bummer. I thought I would be able to see the camera traveling up my bowels, similar to the old Monsanto Adventure Thru Inner Space ride at Disneyland where you were miniaturized and taken on a journey inside the atoms of a snowflake.

I awoke an hour later, sleepy and a little disorientated, but able to walk and talk in semi-intelligible sentences. I came home, went back to bed, and slept until 4:00.

Then I weighed myself. No food for the last 44 hours. Nothing to drink for most of the previous 16 hours. Plus 28 doses of laxatives. The result:

IMG_3748130 lbs.

10 lbs. lost in 2 days.

Today I’m back up to 132 lbs. Probably time to renew my YMCA gym membership and lose weight the right way.

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As One “Dirty Job” Ends, Another One Begins

Poopy toiletAfter eight fun-filled yet horribly repulsive seasons, the Discovery Channel series Dirty Jobs has been canceled. Crawling through garbage, vomit, sewage, yucky muck, wiggly insects, or as host Mike Rowe describes in his Huffington Post farewell article, “feces from every species,” Rowe has taken pride and humor in profiling every crappy job that will make you eternally grateful for your crappy job.Dirty Jobs With Mike Rowe

This week, I had my own crappy job, but fortunately it had nothing to do with my show Once Upon a Time (I’m the dialogue editor).

At this point I advise any readers who are easily repulsed (yes – that means you, Gayle), to quickly click the “X” above this page and tune in another day. On the other hand, you probably already did that the second you saw the photo of the huge bubbling caldron of poop soup in my toilet, so by now I’m just speaking to the wind.

Super Colon CleanseI suppose that it’s fitting that I should work on a show that features magic in every episode, because I myself take a magical pill every day. Rather than turn me into a princess or a toad or something truly spectacular, this magical pill does exactly the opposite – it turns me completely regular.

By regular, I mean regular bowel movements.

The magical pill is called Super Colon Cleanse, and I buy it from the apothecary known as Trader Joe’s. Super Colon Cleanse silhouettesThe front of the bottle features silhouettes of a healthy man and woman standing in relaxed, carefree poses. The image is reminiscent of a classic James Bond main title sequence, which might be incredibly sexy if the couple wasn’t placed right next to the drawing of a large colon. imagesHowever, their casual stances do seem to be indicative of the effectiveness of their product. This is not a pose that screams: “Get out of my way! I need to get to the bathroom NOW!”Super Colon Cleanse colon

The magical ingredient in Super Colon Cleanse is psyllium, a dietary fiber that makes all who ingest it able to properly and regularly eliminate harmful toxins and waste products, or in layman’s terms, it makes me have a really good poop at the same time every morning.

Usually there is a perfect Circle of Life analogy to Super Colon Cleanse. Water is poured over the Plantago plant… which makes the psyllium seed… which is poured into capsules… which are poured into me… which turns into waste that gets poured into the toilet… which pours into water treatment plants… which cleanse the water enough to pour it back onto the plant.

Yesterday the Psyllium Circle of Life took a sudden halt at the toilet stage.

I sat down on my abode at my normally scheduled time, unclogged my own personal pipes, and pushed down the handle to flush my contribution to the next set of pipes. However, instead of spinning in the proper clockwise downward direction toward the 3-inch toilet hole, my deposit merely spun without disappearing, as if my bowl was set on the slow speed of bottomless Cuisinart.

I tried again. Within that split second of releasing the flush handle, I prayed to the porcelain gods not to make that muck overflow onto my bare feet.

The gods heard me. So instead of mopping up a feces-filled floor, I’ll have to drop a few bucks into the Salvation Army bucket next time I go to the market.

I always keep my end of a bargain.

I nabbed the plunger and started heaving and hoeing, plunging and purging, as I counted “1 – 2 – 3 – 4…” all the way to 25.  I did another set of 25. And another.

Defeated, I set the plunger aside and went back to work. Also, I opened the window because the stench was stifling. I know men like to think that their sh*t don’t stink, but I’m honest enough to admit that my morning constitutional can knock a buzzard off a gut wagon.

About 15 minutes later I went in to give it another try. “1 – 2 – 3 – 4…” Three sets of 25. I was starting to feel it in my triceps.

By this time, anything that may have been even slightly solid had now been completely liquefied. The toilet resembled a big bowl of tasty overcooked black bean soup – without the tasty.

“1 – 2 – 3 – 4…”

I performed this 3 sets of 25 workout all morning and into the afternoon. Every hour, the liquid would seemingly disappear, but the moment I flushed, the elixir would return black as ever.

Even though I was gag-ridden by this mountain of muck all morning, all this exercise was making me work up an appetite, so I stopped for lunch, then took a trip to buy a snake.

No, I’m not aware of a useful reptile that will eat through a clogged toilet bowl, but if National Geographic ever finds one, I’ll be first in line to adopt it. I drove to our local hardware store and purchased a “plumber’s snake” – a malleable steel rope that can force its way through curved pipes.

And then I did what any smart woman would do: I waited for my husband to come home from work and let him finish the job.

He did. And after less than a half hour and the eruption of a few curse words, the bowl was clean enough to eat (I just added this line for anyone who by this time isn’t completely grossed out).

However, I can already guess what my husband’s planning to buy me for Christmas:

Room freshener.

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Too Much Poop in the Pipes

What goes down... must come up?

In today’s tough economic times I am lucky to experience pride of ownership, but there are days when I wish I could just call the super to fix the broken (fill in the blank) without pulling out my checkbook.

The latest fill-in-the-blank started about a month ago when I noticed remnants of the garbage disposal drain regurgitating into the adjoining kitchen sink. I assumed that my husband was forcing large pieces of vegetables down the drain rather than discarding them into the green bin. I wanted to call him lazy for not taking the 30 foot walk outside, but I really like it when he cooks, so I figured I’d keep my big eco-friendly mouth shut.

A few days later, the bathroom toilet started clogging so often that the plunger made itself a permanent home next to the royal throne. I blamed it on my son Jake who refuses to eat anything except hot dogs and chicken nuggets. I know he’s only 5 years old and I am the mommy, but I have to pick and choose my battles, and forcing him to eat his dinner vegetables is the battle he seems to be winning. At least he does his homework without a fight.

Then the tub began to clog on a regular basis, and I feared that there was a pussy cat-sized ball of hair clogging the pipe. I would love to have blamed that blockage on one of my daughters, but Mary still has her boy-length hairstyle, and although like me, Emily dyes her hair red, I suspect that the hairball was made up of long red hair with two-inch gray roots.

The final straw came last Monday when I started hearing gurgling sounds in the bathroom. The bubbling was coming from the toilet, and although it sounded like a 5-gallon Sparkletts bottle dispensing H2O, somehow I just knew that whatever liquid was making that sound was not going to be especially pure and fresh. A few seconds later the toilet flushed itself – or rather the water shot down and disappeared into the tank for a moment, then reappeared as murky grey muck. It reminded me of the redneck singing the The Beverly Hillbillies main title theme:

And up through the ground came a bubblin’ crude.

Oil, that is.

Black gold.

Texas tea.

I suspected that unlike Jed Clampett, I wasn’t about to become a millionaire, although it might be likely that this bubblin’ crude was going to cost a million dollars to fix.

That’s the moment that I should have heeded the kinfolk’s advice when they told ol’ Jed to “move away from there,” because that crude-colored feculence nearly spilled right over the toilet rim.

I started screaming for my husband, because that’s what we delicate women do when a river of excrement is about to pour on our manicured toes. Although it was already past his bedtime (he goes to work at the ungodly hour of 6:00 am), he grabbed a flashlight and trekked out to the backyard to investigate the trap. Apparently the “trap” is the lovely place where all the household drains come together, then uniformly flow toward the city sewage line. The trap is kind of like happy hour at a bar where tramps and sleaze balls meet and at closing time make a beeline to the community fleabag hotel. And like that very busy, very sleazy bar, this trap was packed solid.

The next day I checked Angie’s List and found New-Pipe Plumbing & Rooter, the same business that installed our new copper plumbing six years ago. They also donated a gift certificate to the Colfax Charter Elementary School Silent Auction that I worked on last year, so I figured it was good karma to throw a little business their way.

Benny the Plumber ran a camera through the pipe, and my husband watched as roots attacked it like the Whomping Willow tree in the Harry Potter series.  We also had a seam where roots had shifted one of the adjoining pipes halfway downward, leaving a gaping root-filled hole and half the volume available for sewage drainage. Benny gave us three options:

1. Clear the drain with gas hydro jet for $714

2. Repair the broken section of the cracked pipe for $1723

3. Install all new sewage pipes for $5,000

It would be hard to come up with $714, nearly impossible to scrape together $1723, and we would be dreaming in La La Land to think we could afford the price of a used automobile. I told the plumber we’d do the $1723 fix. He politely advised me that he would be happy to do it, but because our home and pipes are 82 years old, that we’ll eventually be calling him again for the same fix on another section of pipe.

I contemplated crying. Then he reminded me that Angie’s List gave me a 10% discount, and that I would get another 10% discount for being part of the Colfax family. If we could do the major fix it would only cost $4,000.

The cost was still impossible.

And then I looked up at our brand new roof. That was impossible too, and yet we were spending a winter without a tarp over our heads and buckets throughout the house. How did we pay for that when our savings was nil? (You can read about that little adventure in my blog “Raising (the Cash for) My Debt Ceiling”).

Cash advance credit cards.

I pulled out one of the dozen or so offers we get each month as a reward for our good credit score. I found the one that advertised 0% until May 2013 with just a 3% fee.

I wrote the check. The plumbers came minutes later with their trenchless pipe-laying equipment and hardworking shovelers who obviously don’t need to spent their off-hours at the gym. And by nightfall, we were granted a 101-year warranty and got the A-OK to drain our human pipes into the new buried pipe.

Today I can run the dishwasher or the washing machine, turn on the faucets to the tub, shower, and kitchen and bathrooms sinks, and flush a toilet filled with the aftermath of the most humongous Thanksgiving meal, and rest assured that the remnants will not be making a reappearance up another drain like some verminous whack a mole game.

As for the money… the 0% $11,700 roof bill will start charging 15.99% interest in April. We’ve managed to pay off some of the balance, but the bulk of it will come from yet another 0% interest credit card and this year’s tax refund. That refund amount is sizable due to our insanely large mortgage payment.

Just another example of pride of ownership.

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Filed under Anxiety, Debt, Financial Insecurity, Humor, Husband, Parenting