Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"There's a poop on my floor."

Before I start into today's post, Briane Pagel has been working on his short story for the Great Chocolate Contest. He is, of course, serializing it. I'm not sure why exactly I'm saying "of course" other than that, coming from Briane, it feels like an "of course." At any rate, you can read the story up to its current part
here (part 1)
here (part 2)
here (part 3) and
here (part 4).
This is a good example of why I wanted to do this contest. Briane has taken this in such a different direction than I ever would have thought, and that is an "of course." Still, it's like nothing I would have imagined, and I can't wait to see where he's going with it. My favorite thing is Seal Team i. That's just pure genius. [Just in case you don't have the math background to understand why: "i" is the imaginary number used in all sorts of advanced mathematics. Since this is all based on the "Imagination Room," this is an awesome concept.] Also, the story guest stars Rusty, which is just awesome in and of itself. You should go read!

Today's post:

When you have an animal living in your house, you can just expect the occasional... accident. Even from potty trained animals, it's gonna happen at some point or another in all likelihood. Now, don't get me wrong, the dog is pretty good. She never pees in the house, and she only ever poops in the house if her stomach is upset, and she can't get outside. Like in the middle of the night. And I'm not gonna expand on what "upset" means. Let's just say that the last time we had an issue with her was at Christmas when I let her have a bunch of ham scraps, and by ham scraps I mean mostly ham fat. I will never do that again, because her stomach was upset for about two days after that, and, well, no one wants to clean that up.


This last weekend, my daughter had a friend over to spend the night. The dog
slept in the boys' room. Not that that's not where she normally sleeps, but she did that night because of the friend. The kids sleep with their doors closed at night, so, see, the dog slept in the boys' room means that that is where the dog was the whole night.

The cat was in my room. That's where the cat has decided he needs to sleep of late. At the end of my bed on either my feet or my wife's. Mostly, this is fine. Except that my daughter is more than a little upset that he, the cat,
I think he's contemplating painting his claws.
has decided not to sleep with her anymore. But, then, she's kind of dangerous when she sleeps, so I can understand why the cat might want to be somewhere else.

Basically, that night there had only been two living beings in my daughter's room: my daughter and her friend.

The next morning, as I was semi-dozing on the couch with the dog (because I'd had to get up at 6:00am to let the cat out), my daughter came and poked my in the arm and said in a half-dazed voice (because she wasn't completely awake yet), "Dad, there's a poop on my floor." I'm sorry, but pre-7:00am on a Sunday morning is too early to deal with that sh... stuff. Besides, my kids know that they are responsible for any poop left for them as gifts in their rooms. I took care of anything not in their rooms, but they get to deal with the stuff in their rooms. Let's call  it the price you have to pay for having a pet and for having that pet sleep in bed with you. However, it didn't make any sense that there could be poop in her room, because there had been no animals in her room.

In an effort to find out more information, I said, "What kind of poop?" This is a perfectly logical question and has specifically to do with what kind of clean up job the poop will entail. Basically, "is it hard or soft?" which is the framework within which I expected her answer to fall. Instead, she held up her hands indicating the size of the poop. What she was showing me with her hands was... well, much bigger than, say, a twinkie. My dog, my little dog, has never had a poop that got anywhere near the size of a twinkie, and, if she did, I'd immediately take her to the hospital, because something would be terribly wrong with her. I responded with the only thing that made any kind of sense in my brain (poop is too big for the dog, and the dog wasn't in her room anyway), "Maybe <her friend> pooped in your room?"

No, it probably wasn't the nicest thing to say, but, when you rule out the impossible, whatever is left, however improbable, must be true. Right? Besides, I've known kids to do much, much worse.

The comment did not amuse my daughter. At all. She sort of stomped away down the hall. I didn't get up. Poop on her floor is her job to clean up. And I was still busy trying to figure out how there could be poop on her floor anyway. And I still wasn't completely conscious. The dog was warm and cozifying, and I just didn't feel like moving. Yes, her friend was asleep through all of this.

I think my daughter really was, too.

A couple of minutes later, she came back, stopped next to me and said very flatly, "It was a sock," and walked away.

The laughter, my laughter, woke me up.

And that is the kind of thing that makes me, as a writer, glad I have kids, because there is no way I would ever have thought of anything like that on my own. Seriously, Alex, all writers need kids just as a source of material. They have a genius that adults can never find, and they don't even mean to do it. Don't be surprised if something like this shows up in something I someday write.


  1. Seriously, no. I will just take your word for it and find my inspiration elsewhere.
    And see what happens when you don't put a word cap on a contest? I still guarantee mine would've been shortest even at five hundred words.

  2. Briane does always push the boundaries, I'm sure he'd write hundred thousand word short story, just to prove that he could.

    Kids are funny. There was one time when my kid was 100% certain he'd developed x-ray vision. I mean, he tried with everything he could muster to convince me it was true... he really believed it too, it wasn't just to try to trick me. It was one of the cutest things ever. It must have gone on for days.

    It was so funny that he could only access this 'power' when blinking his eyes rapidly. So he spent two or three days walking around, at home, at school... blinking his eyes like he was trying to tap out morse code with his blinks. I think one of his teachers thought he was having a seizure.

    Ah, kids.

  3. While that's very funny, at least it wasn't the other way around. I went to pick up this sock, and...

    Also, call me a pessimist, but if it wasn't possibly one of my animals, I would have blamed a kid, too. :P

  4. One of my Facebook "friends" just got a new dog and is complaining all the time about it peeing and pooping and barking and tearing things up...which all makes me glad I don't have any animals anymore. I just follow Butler Blue II & III on Twitter/Facebook. Then I get cute bulldog pics without any hassles.

  5. See, I was totally gonna believe it was the kid. I worked at a retail store once, and someone (a customer) went in the employee stairwell and left a little something one day. Just couldn't make it to the restroom apparently.

  6. That's a great story. I think I would have been mystified as to what it was that early in the morning too.

    Boy, it sure sounds like Briane has this Chocolate fest thing sewn up. One caveat to Briane, he's an incredible writer. I like all of his stuff.

  7. Best to Briane :) sounds great

    Funny story :) Kids and animals, what great inspiration...and what crazy conclusions they can come up with. I just love your dog/cat/kid stories :)

  8. Alex: I did, theoretically, put a word cap on the contest. 7500 words, which is short story length. Just because I didn't say I would disqualify people for going over doesn't mean I didn't put a cap on it. :P

    Rusty: A 100,000 word short story sounds interesting, because you'd have to compress the words into 7500 or compress reality or compress something to make that work. I'm sure Briane could do it, though.

    Kids are funny. I had a friend who had convinced herself that she was telekinetic, but she could never seem to make it work when anyone was around to show them.

    Cathy: Two socks, actually, one inside the other, which is why it was so thick. She was not happy that I laughed.

    ABftS: When I was kid, I had a friend with a rabbit. He spilled some little chocolate balls on the floor one time, and, when he cleaned them up, one of them wasn't chocolate. He didn't know till he put it in his mouth, though.

    PT: You can't cuddle with a picture, though.

    L.G.: When I first moved to CA, I worked at a Toys R Us. And I'm not even gonna get started on the kinds of "messes" that would need to be cleaned up.

    Michael: I don't know... Rusty still has something coming, and so does Bryan. They're both great writers, too. And there may be other entries that I don't know about.

    Rebecca: Me, too! Some of them I'm saving, because they're going to be in a book or something. Like the soap eating story in House, which was from one of my kids.

  9. You made me spit my tea I laughed so hard. Yeah seriously kids are great fodder for story ideas and enhancements. Found your blog via Sarah McCabe's.

  10. Oh yes, kids are hysterical! The things they come up with. Especially once I had a daughter who strongly resembles a Junie B. Jones/Ramona type, who is just out there and precocious. Also, she is dangerous when sleeping, so I totally understand what you're saying, and my daughter is always sad the cat won't sleep with her. Who would!?

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

  11. Funny sh...stuff! A sock! OMG, good one.

  12. If I thought there was a poop on my floor, I wouldn't get close enough to discern the difference either. At least it was easy to clean up.

  13. A poopy sock eh? Considering you were all only half awake, I am surprised you didn't react more to the original news.


  14. Margo: That's the nicest thing anyone's said to me all day. :) The spitting tea thing. I have found that my kids don't appreciate me when I call them fodder. heh

    Shannon: Once you had a daughter? I'm confused...
    My daughter once kicked my in the face from a completely normal sleeping position.

    Jeremy: It's awesome when they're true.

    Jeanne: It was that. heh

    Jo: I don't know; it was kind of like when they don't want to unload the dishwasher. I was just, "go do your job."

  15. Kids provide an endless supply of material to support a writing habit... or a stand-up comedy routine.

  16. Susan: I did actually think about doing stand-up at one point. Long long ago.