Bedroom on the second floor, laundry
in the basement, two flights of stairs carting
baskets of dirty laundry down to sort and stuff
in the washer, detergent, softener, check the timer
and back upstairs.
First floor kitchen, dining room, living room
and a bathroom screaming to be scrubbed. While
the clothes agitate, I reach for the spray cleaner;
bottle is empty. I climb stairs to the bathroom
on the second floor, grab the cleaner, descend again,
start to clean the bathroom when I think I hear
the done signal from the washer; go down to find
13 minutes left on the cycle. I could stand there
but instead go up, see a sink full of dishes, open
the dishwasher to find it is full of clean dishes. Sigh.
I put them away, pack it, fill it with soap, press start.
For some strange reason, I’m still holding the bottle
of bathroom cleaner; I go back upstairs, figure I might
as well clean this bathroom, not remembering I didn’t
finish the downstairs one. I turn on the showerhead
to rinse the tile and nothing happens. No water,
a loud gurgling but no water.
I hear a loud sound unlike anything I’ve ever heard –
something like a garbage truck crashing into
a snowplow with a thousand panes of glass
between them. I race down the stairs, dishwasher
stopped mid-cycle and another groaning growling
sheet-metal shredding war with monster trucks
sends me soaring down the stairs and there,
water water water water water everywhere
water capped in soap bubbles undulating like
an angry tide, a waterfall cascading up over
and behind the washer.
Slippers sopping, knees complaining, I trudge upstairs,
find the plumber’s number, unleash a frantic plea
please please please please emergency, says he’ll be
right there. Back downstairs, waves are cresting;
useless to try to do anything, I go back up, wait
at the door. It seems years but he pulls up, I direct him
down, I go up, first-floor bathroom tiles covered in foam.
I slam the bathroom door shut, peek down the stairs
into the basement, hear him curse, go up to find more tiles
foaming, slam that door and go down to the kitchen.
I open the glass cabinet; empty. I get a paper cup
from the bathroom, fill it with vodka and go outside
with the bottle to sit on the deck. Soiled clothes still grimy;
both bathrooms grubby; dishwasher stacked with dirty dishes.
I vow to sell the house, buy a ranch with no basement,
hire a cleaning service, and send my laundry to the cleaners.
~ J R Turek
June 27, 2020