If you’d seen what I saw, you’d do this, too.
Tired of all of the nooks and crannies, I was pleased when Glynn came home with two cartons of Clorox Bleach & Blue. According to the instructions on the box, if I dropped a tablet of B&B in the corner of my toilet tank every few weeks, the tablet would clean, deodorize, and prevent toilet bowl stains for months. Months, I tell you. Where we live, the water is so hard, it’s practically a solid. As a result, everything the water touches gets stained. If the Clorox Company’s little round wonders would keep me from having to scrub the porcelain thrones on a semi-regular basis, I was all in favor of using them.
For the first few weeks, that’s more or less what happened… and, then, my toilets stopped flushing. Lifting a tank cover to investigate what had happened, I discovered the Bleach & Blue tablets had dissolved into an ungodly blue goo nesting at the bottom of toilet tank. That cerulean ooze was so thick that it held its form beneath the water. It appeared the ooze had stretched its tendrils into each of the toilet’s inner workings and poisoned them. They were too gummed up to work.
With a pandemic happening, I don’t allow visitors into our house. Not even visitors with babies, which are my favorite kind of guests. Glynn suggested we might make an exception for a plumber. I didn’t love the idea, although a plumber carrying a baby would have been exceptionally tempting.
With a sigh, my co-writer and partner in crime told me he thought he could get things in working. He also pointed out how much he hated working with water. Then he asked if I’d make him homemade chicken pot pie once the toilets were working again.
Which, in a very small way, opened my eyes to the plight of Mrs. Hiền. I found her story on Kiva.org, the nonprofit crowdfunding group that lends money to the world’s disadvantaged. According to the company’s website, the lovely Mrs. Hiền lives in the province of Thanh Hoa in Vietnam, a very poor area, and her home lacks a hygienic toilet. Seeing her story, I felt a certain kinship with her. Listening to Glynn in the background, cursing Clorox Bleach & Blue as he struggled to replace flush valves and fill valves, flappers and floats, I sent my Kiva our first donation in a while.
Oh, and he noticed an orange stick in each of our toilet tanks, something we’d overlooked for the past twelve years. That sticker reads, Warning: Larks’ Vomit. No, the sticker actually reads, Warning. Do not use in-tank cleaners.
Live and learn, eh, Clorox Company? I’m just glad we can flush again and I hope Mrs. Hiền can soon do the same.