Saturday, December 04, 2010

I feel dirty

One of the disadvantages of city living is the lack of space. Growing up in Orange County, we had a two car garage in which to store old yearbooks, tools, and Christmas decorations. In Paris, we have caves. In addition to the foregoing, we also use them to store winter clothes (something not needed in sunny Southern California), moving boxes (because either you or one of your friends will eventually need those precious pieces of cardboard again) and finally the blow-up mattress for visitors (when your home is turned into a B&B).

Some Parisians don't even have access to their caves. Garage sales not being the norm in France, landlords are sometimes reluctant to part with that wee bit of storage when they rent out their apartments. Fortunately, we do have a cave and most of the time I'm really grateful for the extra space, except when something like this happens:


I recently went down to get a few bottles of wine for a dinner party and was shocked to find them, as well as a few other negligible items like a computer and armoire, covered in mud - an odd smelling mud. The guardian of our building informed me that the main evacuation pipe (for les toilettes) had been clogged. When it was unplugged, a leak ensued. He concluded that was the source of the mud explosion. In sum, our belongings were coated in a cocktail of my neighbors’ urine and fecal matter. And probably some of ours too, but that was more tolerable. I was fine changing my niece's baby diaper, she's family. But the thought of changing the collective diaper of my 16 unit building made me want my mommy. Or at least my husband!

I had a real dilemma on my hands (ewwww!). Either act like an adult and clean it up myself or pretend like nothing happened and send Fred down to get the wine when he got home from work. In the interim, I would practice my surprised face for when he returned to inform me that our cave had been turned into a septic tank. As a teenager I would always leave one bite of leftovers in the Tupperware so I wouldn't have to clean it. Thus, I wasn't surprised to find myself leaning towards option two. However, there were two problems with this plan: (1) the guardian could place me at the scene; and (2) the bottles needed time to chill before our guests arrived. 

In the end, I decided I couldn't wait for Fred. I put on some rubber gloves and washed, scrubbed and doused the bottles in alcohol myself. The judging eyes of my French guests as I poured them a glass of white wine over ice cubes seemed far worse than having to handle human excrement.   

13 comments:

mary said...

Oh my God!! You kill me...so funny. I am shocked and impressed that you cowgirled up!! I would totally have waited and sent Brian down..lol

michael said...

um.... i'll have a beer.

Lost In Cheeseland said...

Outrageous! How awful :( Serious damage to the computer? Do you know how long it had been since the leak happened in the first place?

golfinparadise said...

WOW!! I think this story trumps my goat story ten fold!!! You should receive some type of medal or reward for that type of clean up job. And, your thoughtfulness towards your friends speaks VOLUMES! I'm sure they appreciated no ice in their wine : )

Amy75 said...

@Sis, or one of the kids. That's the beauty of children, you can make them do stuff too. Send me one :)
@Michael, you'll have Zubrowka - who are you kidding?!
@Lindsey, the computer was already having problems so we put it down there the construction company is going to cover the costs bc they don't want to deal w/insurance (it's worth less than the deductible). But unfortunately no one offered to clean it up. They said they'd send a sanitation crew to disinfect it professionally when the work is finished. On verra!
GiP: Thank you! I still think I would have passed out if I saw the skinned goat. Btw, I didn't tell the people what happened I figured it would gross them out. Thankfully they don't read my blog :)

Anonymous said...

You are a total hero. I would've just shut the door and walked back upstairs...And gone out to buy a bottle to drown my stress.

Amy75 said...

@Lindsey, I forgot to mention that it seems to have happened a couple days before I stumbled upon it. I was pretty annoyed at my guardian for not advising people to check their caves after he knew there had been a leak sous-sol. He's weird, I have another story about him coming up.

@Anonymous, I think I might be more stupid than hero :) I like your idea way better!

Kalee said...

Oh My God. I would have freaked the heck out! That's just vile, and you are a braver woman than I for dealing with it. I would have curled up in a ball and just muttered something about wine with shit on it when my husband got home.

Karin (an alien parisienne) said...

WTF!!!

That's just gross (and for some reason also makes me want to giggle madly. I guess it's the black comedy in it all).

The photo and story are priceless.

You are brave. I admire you. :)

Amy75 said...

@Kalee, You're so stylish you'd probably have something cute on and it wouldn't be worth it to sully your cute outfit :)
@Karin, Don't worry NOT what we'll be drinking tonight :) Haha! Glad you got a laugh out of it. In restrospect I can now too.

Ilana @mommyshorts said...

OH GOD. Le nightmare! (Sorry, I do not remember any of the French I learned in high school). I ask you this— I know you let your unknowing neighbors drink the wine. And the contents of the bottle were most probably perfectly fine. But did you think twice before having any yourself?

Amy75 said...

@Ilana, Ha! It will take more than a little poop to keep my lips away from a bottle :) I was more worried about handling it. It's times like these I really wish I had a butler!

Lost In Cheeseland said...

Would love to read the story about the guardien!