January 13, 2010

The Curse of the Crazed Toilet Ghost

I've done something very bad.  I have no idea what it is or who I did it to, but I'm really sorry and truly would like to apologize and take everything back. Just please, please, please Gods Who Regulate Karma, please leave my plumbing alone.

I was in the kitchen at my office tidying up after lunch and I saw something black zip past the kitchen door. It looked like a person, so I opened the door and ran out into the side driveway to see who was going into the backyard of our building.

It was a young man in pajama bottoms, no shoes and a sleeveless black T-shirt. He walked in a sloping gait, limping with one arm drawn up to himself kind of like a chicken wing.  At the time I only registered the troublesome walk and the pajama bottoms and wasn't thinking too swiftly because I was wondering why someone in his pajamas was walking through our yard. I ran to the other room to look out the window and that's when the rest sunk in... that he was barefoot in 20 degree weather.

I ran back out to try to catch him. I thought maybe he was perhaps a special needs person who had gotten away from his caregiver. I ran into the backyard and he was gone. Our backyard is part chain link and part barbed wire. He wasn't in our yard, wasn't in any of the neighbor's yards (there is a subdivision behind our office). It was like he vanished into thin air.

Walking back I noticed the immediate area behind our building is flooded. I could hear water running and followed it back to the source -- the source being a gigantic fountain of water erupting from the side of our building, creating a swamp in our backyard and over onto the property next door. Had I not been chasing this oddity, we would have not discovered the leak until our next meter reading.

We hastily shut the water off and I called the water company with the meter reading to see how bad it was. Thirty-eight thousand gallons of water! Just to put that into perspective -- an average family of four (in our area) uses about 5,000 gallons in one month. So, that's almost 8 months worth of water for a family of four. That's also about 23,750 toilet flushes.  Or about 7-8 fills of a 15 foot round swimming pool. And, finally, the amount of money I will have to pay for thirty-eight thousand gallons of water would pay for nine Africans to have drinking water for 20 years.

I'd like to send thirty-eight thousand gallons of water to Haiti right about now, but instead it's swamping up in my backyard like a big useless waste of Earth's resources. (Our planet is 70% water. And 97.5% of that is saltwater which means only 2.5% of all the water on Earth is available for the 6 billion people that inhabit the planet. Makes me thirsty just writing about it.)

Apparently, I did not learn my lessons of appropriate gratitude the last time I had no toilet, so instead of doing it at my home we're now learning the same lesson at my office where the water is currently shut off and we can't reach the plumber (again). And I'm blogging about it (again) because apparently I'm (still) a slow learner who won't stop whining about her plumbing (still and again).

If anyone knows some kind of exorcism mantra / banishment / remedy for toilet ghosts, please let me know. In the meantime, I'm getting us back on our regularly scheduled program which consists of me mocking my family and people I work with.


I just got off the phone with someone in town who called to ask me if I really did see a barefoot angel walking through my yard.

Hmm, maybe so.


  1. OMG that is SO creepy! Sucks about all that water going to waste. :(

  2. Did you contact the authorities about the barefoot pajama wearer? I would be concerned about someone running around barefoot in the cold.

  3. I'm sitting here wondering why on earth you have barbed wire and a chain link fence in your back yard. Wendy, time to be straight from us. You're really writing all of this from the clinker, aren't you? What are you in for?

  4. Your visitor sounds like he might possibly be Viet Cong. One of their less-violent tactics in the latter years of the war was sneaking into backyards and turning on all the taps. You may need to get some sonar gear and search for tunnels.

  5. I've done something very bad.

    You've made up for it. Cool post.

  6. Maybe HE was the toilet ghost...

  7. Have you tried ritually killing a chicken? This too shall pass.

  8. have you thought of dancing a rain dance backwards?

  9. I can’t believe you’ve done anything to warrant a toilet ghost, though it was very nice of another one to point out your predicament

  10. I had a pipe break in the front yard once. In the two days it took someone to come fix it, I used more water than I had in the past year so I feel your pain. You should try calling the water company and see if they'll give you a discount on the total if you show them the receipt showing it's been repaired. My water company did. Still the bill was so bad I had to ask for it to be broken up over several months.

    At least you had a ghost pointing the way. I just happened to cut across the front yard from the mailbox, which I never do, and found the soggy wet spot next to the tree. Who knows how long it had been there or how long it would have continued to be there had I not done so?

  11. Oh wow, you just can't win for losing sometimes! I am SO glad that you found it early enough. What a nightmare!


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