Once upon a time, I stumbled across a lone turd chillin’ on my laundry room floor.
A solitary, mid-sized nugget, it stood out in lumpy contrast to the smooth linoleum. I squinted at it for a moment and took a mental inventory of all the occupants of my house — four small children, two dogs, and two cats — in an attempt to deduce who had “dropped a deuce.”
The only suspects I could rule out with 100% certainty were me and my husband, so the actual culprit was anybody’s guess. Regardless of who had left it, it had to be dealt with, so I swiftly dispatched it like the seasoned poo-cleaning veteran that I am. In the grand scheme of all the fecal matter I’ve dealt with in my adult life, one turd is nothing.
Still, that’s the exact thing that bothered me: It was one turd, not a pile. And every parent knows that turds, like roaches or mice or other nasty things, don’t come in singles. This fact (unfortunately) warranted further investigation. I did a comprehensive sweep of the laundry room and the rest of the downstairs — a search so detailed and systematic that it would’ve impressed a grizzled homicide detective.
But I came up with exactly nothing. There were no smears, trails, or otherwise to indicate the poop’s origins…or the location of its bowel-mates, the brown brothers and sisters that had surely accompanied it into this world.
All I could presume was that it had come from the cats’ litter box. Maybe they had missed or something, and one of the dogs had carried it down like a prize. It was a long shot, but it was the most reasonable explanation I could come up with. Sometimes there just are no good answers.
A little while later, I was back in the laundry room (because that’s where I am when I’m not chauffeuring or cooking or wiping an ass). This time, I had come to retrieve my son’s sheets and comforter from the washing machine. I opened the washer door, unsealing the vault of cleanliness, predictably greeted by the fresh scent of my detergent.
Only this time, that scent was tinged with the unmistakable odor of something ominous, the very antithesis of freshness. It was something my expert nose recognized immediately — something like…poop.
There was clearly something wrong. I blinked a couple of times, hesitant to learn what, and hoping that maybe if I just stood there for a few seconds, the problem would resolve itself somehow.
That’s when I noticed it: a waxy brown smudge on the clear window of the washer door. Then a similar smudge on the seal, this one faintly grainy-looking. And that’s when the horrible realization came crashing into my consciousness like the Kool-Aid man through a brick wall.
I had washed a pile of shit.
Suddenly it all made sense. When I stripped my son’s bedding that morning, I’d tossed it into a heap on the floor, intending to put it directly into the washer. But you know how it goes — the phone rang, I got sidetracked unloading the dishwasher, there were cupcakes to eat — so I didn’t end up putting it in the wash until a few hours later. And at some point within that time frame, one of my dogs had deemed it a fantastic place to take a dump. Since I apparently didn’t notice, I had inadvertently bundled the pile off to the laundry room, where I had dropped one of the turds while I was loading the whole thing into the washer, poop and all. OMG.
I still can’t understand why I didn’t smell it before. I mean, my son’s bedding was due for a wash, but it wasn’t so filthy that its stench would have camouflaged the turds enveloped within. Maybe I had been breathing through my mouth. Maybe one of the kids had used the adjacent bathroom and forgot to turn on the stink fan. Maybe I had farted on my way into the bedroom and thought that was the smell.
At any rate, the mystery of the lone turd was solved. The washer was sanitized. The bedding was rewashed (twice, for good measure). And I was taught a valuable lesson, a lesson that I’m now passing along to all of you: Pockets aren’t the only things you need to check before you toss your laundry in the wash.
As the old adage goes, “You can’t polish a turd.” But I’m one of the few people that can say I tried — even if it was an accident.
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