It was a Saturday night, and although I usually have my kids, they were on a trip with their dad, so I was “kid-less” for the weekend. I realize that for MOST moms, single or not, the idea of having a hall-pass for the weekend is a “to-die for” dream. BUT for me, having been with my kids ALL the time for the first ten years of their lives, it is difficult to not have them…it’s what I DO, being their “momma” and hanging out with them is what I live for. So, ANYTIME I find myself without them, especially on a night that I usually WOULD be with them, it’s tough. Shawn does a great job of trying to cheer me up, and fill my time with fun activities to help the time pass-by, keep me occupied as to NOT think about missing them.
On this particular night, we got a phone call from a good friend of Shawn’s; they were having a poker party (a pretty common event for this crew.) They wanted us to join in. Shawn LOVES playing. Me, not that I don’t like it, I just haven’t really figured out how to play yet. So even though it is just for fun, I am always leery to join in, for fear of fucking up, and making some grand poker faux pas. I have NO IDEA what that would be, but that is the point; I am clueless as to the rules and all the poker “etiquette” shit, so I usually pass on playing. This doesn’t leave me out in the cold, as there are always plenty of people at these gatherings, and as the game goes on and the kids run wild, there are plenty with whom I can hang, drink, and chat. All in all, no matter where, these are always a ton of fun!
This particular get together was at a home that was a temporary “living situation” for the hosting family. It was an old rambler, with decor that would have fit right in during the 70s; with dark wood paneling, shag rugs and even a large window next to the front door that was mustard yellow in color, which made the little light that did come into the front hall have a “great” yellowish tinge to it. Although the house was small, and the layout not particularly conducive to a large party because of the small rooms and dark and cramped hallways, all that arrived made it work, as they always do.
Shortly after arriving, Shawn settled down at the table as the poker game got started. I did think about playing, but once again, opted out. Part of that was the fucking up fear I mentioned, but also, we had brought Spanky along in the car. We had been out for most of the day and since we hadn’t had much of a chance to walk him, we figured if he was in the car, we (or more like I) could take him for a walk while at the party. Truth be told, he is almost ALWAYS in the car with us, unless it is too hot. Most times, he is eventually invited in, usually as soon as they hear he is in the car, but sometimes, the minute we walk in, we are asked if we brought him and have to return to the car to get him. Amazingly, he has even managed to get invited into the homes of people who are NOT dog lovers and would never have thought they would want a big dog rooming their halls. Hell, he even comes into the local bar where we sing karaoke. That’s just Spanky; everyone warms to him.
Having grabbed a few nibbles and a cold beer out of a cooler set out on the deck, I chatted for a bit with some of the other “non-poker playing” guests. Although this is a group that we see and hang out with fairly frequently, and even spend a few long weekends a year camping and partying together, I have never really managed to “fit in.” It’s a crowd that has known each other for a long time and although they are fun and friendly, I have never found much of a common-ground with anyone. I can’t lie, that is definitely part of the impetuous to having the dog, my forever companion and built in reason to excuse myself. Which is exactly what I did. First things first, was to find the bathroom. I was directed down a dark hallway; even though the ceiling lights were on, either they too had a yellow tinge or they were extremely low wattage because to say it was dimly lit would be an understatement. I then grabbed a beer for the “road,” tapped Shawn to let him know I was going for a walk and headed out the front door to gather up my faithful companion. I had not been paying attention to where we were going on the drive over, but mainly because we were in a part of Shawn’s city that I don’t know at all, so it didn’t seem worth the effort to try and figure it out. I did notice that we were pretty much in the middle of no-where of his city and that the streets were poorly lit and seemed to have no rhythm or reason to their layout or numbering. As I set off, I did take note of this, checked to see that I had my phone (just in-case) and figured if I limited myself to only a few turns, it should be simple enough to retrace my steps when ready to return to the party.
Yea, not so much. I am not sure what I did wrong, because I HAD made a mental note of each turn (and even the street numbers or names) but when after about 20 minutes of walking, I attempted to turn around and head back, it was definitely NOT right. It probably WOULD have helped if I had bothered to at least get the address of the house itself, but hadn’t thought that detail. I never felt as if I was completely lost and certainly did not panic (after all I did have my phone if worse came to worse) but the return journey just took a bit longer than expected….and as CAN be expected in MY world, after about another 30 minutes, it was time to pee! Really NOT a big deal as I was walking along a pretty rural road, with minimal lighting, and could very easily have just peed right there on the side of the road with NO fear of being seen. I happened to be wearing a skirt that night, which just makes it all the easier; no buttons or snaps or zippers, just lift up the skirt and if you are me, you don’t even bother to actually pull the underwear down, just simply pull them to the side and viola….instant pee freedom. UNLESS, at just that moment when the pee begins to flow, a raccoon decides to meander across the road, which then causes your normally well behaved dog to lunge, which in turn causes you to release said undies, and the pee is no longer free, but rather hindered by the presence of the underwear yet again. STILL, nothing that I haven’t been through before and again, fortuitous that I had chosen the skirt; no wet shorts or pants, just wet undies. Once I had Spanky back at his “sit-stay” I slipped the soaking undies off, put them in one of the poop bags always on hand in a city that requires to scoop the poop, tied it off, and figured I would leave it in the car when I dropped Spanky back there, once I found my way back to the house.
Done, done and done; meaning I DID find my way back, I DID put Spanky back in the car, and I DID leave the baggie containing my dripping undies there with him. As I walked back into the house and into the room where the poker was taking place, Shawn immediately looked over at me at mouthed “where were you, everything o.k.?” OK, maybe not exactly what he said but something along those lines, as I determined by the mild look of concern on his face. Rather than interrupt the game, I held up my phone, which is our secret code meaning “I’ll text you”…probably NOT that secret, as most people could probably figure that out, certainly once I started voraciously typing away on my phone and then a moment later Shawn was reading a message on his. I told him I had gotten “mildly” lost, no biggie, but decided to end the message with something certain to make him smile…”of course, I’m not wearing underwear anymore.” He knew what that meant. He has been with me too many times when my underwear has fallen victim to the damn pee that ALWAYS seems to sneak up on me and leak out. He know that at times, I have slipped a pair of damp underwear deep into a pocket, or if I have my purse, they are stuffed down deep to await their freedom when I am no longer in public. He also knows that if the damage is BAD (meaning TOO wet to hide) that I will find a garbage can and simply say fair-well to that particular pair. Yes, I DO go through underwear pretty quickly, but then again, I probably have many more pairs than your average chick.
So I am back, safe and sound, and although I am running around commando, no one other than Shawn knows this little detail, and it is certainly not something big enough to ruin our evening. So the night goes on…poker is being played, people are eating and drinking and chatting away and I, with my naked bottom am having fun, and enjoying this great distraction from missing my kids. After a bit, and another beer, I think that it might be a good idea to visit the bathroom again. I certainly don’t “feel” like I have to pee (I never do) but that is the point. Because of the FANTASTIC lesions that have decided to set up house in my spine and brain, I don’t get the subtle messages that everyone else in the world that is “normal” gets. I don’t get the thought….”hhmmm I think I need to pee…I should find a bathroom.” Which for most would then be followed a little bit later with the thought, “wow, ok going to have to pee soon.” The final dialogue in this little private conversation is “crap, I really should find a bathroom, because I have to pee!” I don’t have that conversation. I don’t have the luxury of 10-15 maybe even 20 minutes before reaching maximum emergency bathroom status. I START at that point. Literally, the thought hits my mind “I have to pee” and within seconds I can be peeing, irrelevant of where I am, what I am doing and who is there to see this display of public humiliation. I have mentioned before that my method to avoid this relentless issue is to find a bathroom EVERY hour, even if I don’t “think” I need to pee, cause you know what? NEVER have I found a bathroom after the allotted hour and NOT peed. The other thing that I have learned is that gravity can frequently play a roll in this little scenario. Meaning, if I have been sitting down and stand up, and it is close to my hour limit, there is a GOOD chance that the simple process of STANDING will lead to PEEING. Unfortunately, often times when you are in a room full of people sitting and you stand up, they LOOK at you, which means a guaranteed audience!
So I have learned to be cautious and take my self imposed pee curfew pretty damn seriously. I got up from the couch where I had been sitting, took a moment to assess that the legs were still in fact working and headed back to the dim hall that led to the bathroom I had visited earlier, proud of myself for not losing track of time and keeping to my pee schedule. BUT you know what? At a party, where there are actually other people…and people that have been drinking…one can NOT guarantee that the bathroom is going to be available. I reached the door only to find it shut and locked. So I knocked. I KNOW stupid, right? OBVIOUSLY someone is in there and is busy. It’s not like they are just hanging out in there for shits and giggles! Ok, maybe the shits part, but there is certainly a reason that they chose to LEAVE the party and lock themselves in a tiny little room. I know that whenever I have been in a bathroom and I have locked the door and someone knocks, it annoys me… actually pisses me off a bit. Yet, that is just what I did, and when the response from beyond the door was something to the effect of “going to be a bit” (eewww) I began to panic. I was going to have to pee…and soon! Seeing as I WAS wearing a skirt and NO underwear, it is not as if there was even the slightest shield stopping my pee from hitting the floor at the moment that my body decided it was time.
THINK, THINK, THINK.
Then it hit me, the blindingly obvious solution. GO outside. I already mentioned that it was a rural area, and even the yard of the house we were visiting was plenty dark with many bushes and places to hide and squat. After all, I am “out-doorsy.” I camp, and pee in the great outdoors all the time. PROBLEM SOLVED. Until....I turned and discovered a different problem…a NEW problem that I had NOT yet encountered in this FANTASTIC journey MS has led me on. Even though the hall was dim and the floors were a dark brown laminate material (remember 70s themed decor) as I turned to exit the house and find my ideal pee spot, I saw it! There was no missing what IT was. There, sitting right in the middle of the hallway, right in the midst of the path that I had JUST walked down to get to the bathroom, was a TURD! A “smallish” “roundish” piece of SHIT!
WHAT? WHO? HOW?
These were the thoughts that were flashing through my mind, and as each hit, so too did the answers.
WHAT? A shit! WHO? You! HOW? You are not wearing underwear and you didn’t feel it “exit the building.”
OK so now I have determined that it is in fact MY SHIT lying on the floor of the hallway in middle of this party, filled with people I “know” but don’t REALLY know. But let’s be real, even if this was a party FILLED with all of my BEST friends and family members, it’s not like I would want anyone ELSE to see my turd! Just as all of this is coming to mind and I am beginning to try and form a plan…MISSION SHIT BE GONE, I hear the lock on the bathroom door click. HOLY SHIT. Well I don’t suppose my shit IS actually holy, but it sure as hell WAS sitting there on the floor and SOMEONE was about to come out of the bathroom door and join me in the small cramped hallway, just the three of us, me, the person in the bathroom and THE TURD. I had to think FAST. I quickly leaned down and scooped up that poop (remember I TOLD you…it’s the law in this city!) and now as the bathroom door begins to swing open I am standing there HOLDING MY SHIT. Let me tell you, I am NOT one to ever have claimed “my shit don’t stink” but I sure as hell did NOT want to be caught in that hallway HOLDING it to find out IF it did. To my left was the front door, and so just as the bathroom door opened, I lunged for the front door, flung it open, and chucked that turd with all my might! There was NO time to think about direction or distance. No, “where would be the “perfect spot to fling my turd?” I just threw it, and then quickly stepped out onto the front step. This was NOT because I wanted to have more time with my own shit or I was missing it, but rather because I realized that there might be “residual shit” on my hands that smelled and again I did NOT want to find myself in that small hallway with whom ever had been in the bathroom, or anyone else for that matter, with shitty smelling hands. As I stood out on the step, I glanced in the direction that I had so violently flailed my hand just seconds earlier. I was hoping to see thick vegetation, a big bush or even pine trees. Something that would have allowed for my shit to have found a well hidden resting spot, never to be discovered by mankind. BUT NO….why would THAT happen. THAT would have made all of what happened ALMOST go away. No one would ever know. There WERE bushes, and plants and overgrown things everywhere, but that is NOT where my shit had come to rest. Apparently my trajectory was off (as IF I had time to think about THAT!) In almost the exact moment that I turned to look, I found my shit! It wasn’t hard really, because I shit you NOT, it had come to rest on the downspout of the homeowners gutters! Unlike almost EVERYTHING inside and out of this groovy 70s house, the downspout was NOT brown (which might have masked my turd a bit) but rather WHITE! So there hung my shit, on these people’s “new” home, too high for me to reach IF I had been inclined to try and knock it down but NOT high enough to be out of the line of vision. Anyone leaving the house that happened to glance to the left would see my shit. I will grant you that they might not be certain WHAT it was that they were looking at, but they certainly would think “huh, that looks like shit.” Little would they know how right they were.
Now that I had “disposed of the shit” and the coast was clear in the hallway, I made my way quickly to the bathroom, as I had a number of things on my agenda. First and foremost would be to wash my hands, over and over again. Then, release the pee that had started all of this in the first place, and also make sure there weren’t any more arrant turds waiting to make an appearance. As I sat on the potty, my heart slowly beginning to return to some semblance of a normal beat, it struck me. In some strange and odd way, it was actually “lucky” for me that someone had been in the bathroom. After all “said turd” obviously left my body on my way down the hall to the bathroom, and had no one been in there, I would have gone in, and it is VERY likely that someone else might have decided to try and use the bathroom during that time. SO, while I was oblivious to what I had left out in the hallway, someone else MIGHT have come across it, which would more that likely have led to a BIG, HUGE ta-do about the do-do on the floor. I am not sure how that would have played out, but I actually consider myself lucky to not have found out.
MAYBE I SHOULD HAVE PLAYED POKER THAT NIGHT AFTER ALL!
As we drove home, all I could think about was what had happened, and to be honest, my shit just hanging out there. Would someone see it? Would someone know what it was or suspect? I know that I say that I find the reasons to laugh; that I look for the humor in all the crap that happens because of this disease, and I do. But what I realized that night, is sometimes it takes a minute; a step away, to see that humor. As we got home and climbed into bed I wasn’t particularly sad or embarrassed, but a phrase kept repeating over and over in my mind. “This is your life.” I didn’t make much more of it than that. Just a simple reminder to myself that seemed pretty accurate and true.
When I woke up in the morning, I had a moment of complete and utter shame; but it was just that, A MOMENT, and then all I wanted to do was tell Shawn the story, because I knew it was just too damn funny to not share. I think that might be what makes me o.k. with all of this shit (sorry, couldn’t resist that one.) I think if I didn’t allow myself to at least acknowledge that each of these things ARE embarrassing; that in my “former” life without this disease to blame, I WOULD be horrified to discover that I had just shit on someones floor, that I wouldn’t be completely honest with myself or anyone else, about all that happens. After all, it IS embarrassing. BUT… I DO have this disease and there are things that happen that are simply out of my control (and apparently out of my ass too!) By acknowledging this, it reassures me that WHO I am hasn’t changed but sometimes WHAT I do, has. If I don’t find the ways to find that humor and those reasons to laugh, this could VERY quickly become a pretty damn depressing life to live. There is NO WAY I am going to allow that to happen.
I SHIT YOU NOT!