Recently, I visited my sister, Heather's house. My sister Heather is perfect in every sense of the word. Well, as perfect as a sister can be anyway. She's sweet, supportive and nice in every way. When we were kids growing up, I called her the "narc" because she always told on me. While I was out carousing, smoking, drinking and running around with my boyfriend, she was playing piano and learning praise and worship, going to church and being an all around obedient girl. She was a straight A student. She was a Spelling Bee champion. She excelled in everything imaginable.
Of course, as a wife and mother she would excel as well, which is why this story is so amusing to me. Heather has 2 adorably perfect children. They are sweet, smart and close to graduating from college at ages 2 and 3. Heather lives in a really ultra organized basement apartment. She even has a perfectly nice landlord who lives on top of her house. Heather's house is always sanitized and clean. Once, she wiped all my living room furniture down with sanitizing cloths.
In the middle of the night, up a mountain in the wilderness, in our home, our adventure began. Kevin didn't sleep well and decided that we should leave a little earlier than we'd planned - 3 am. We began the 26 hour trek to Minnesota. Despite pulling some unmotivated teenagers out of a ditch and driving on ice for a good part of the way, we made fairly decent time. The kids became rowdy at hour 24. They all took off their socks and shoes and began tormenting each other with the raunchy smell of their own feet. When we got within a few hours of Heather's home, she presented us with an odd request. "Please use the bathroom at the gas station". I've always known Heather to be tidy, but not using her bathroom, well that's eccentric altogether. Remember, I have 5 children and a husband. Not occupying the bathroom for more than 5 minutes is a feat. Her excuse for this gas station bathroom trip was that they were having septic problems. At the gas station near Heather's home, we found out it, too, was closed. I secretly wondered if she called and warned them we were coming. "Wow", I mused to myself, "no one here in Minnesota has an available bathroom". I wondered if it had been a conspiracy. The gas station man did let us use his showers for the bathroom, and after attempting to sell us many of his wares, we were on our way.
When we got to Heathers, it was around 3am. Heather promised a man would be coming first thing in the am to look at her bathroom. The plot had thickened. Heather showed us a secret alarm in her closet (which she later informed us was a utility room). She said if the green light was on we had the "thumbs up to flush". Just consult the panel, no problem. Of course having a secret toilet panel in your closet is very unusual and caused my imagination to run with no end in sight. As you all know, Heather is married to a secret Ninja. Perhaps his secret missions had to do with that toilet alarm panel. Heather informed us not to panic if the toilet light alarmed. She showed us how to "silence" it.
In the morning after a few hours of sleep, I REALLY had to go to the bathroom. I couldn't find my PJ's, so I had just thrown on some long under ware to sleep in. As I groggily progressed to the bathroom, Heather stopped me. "There's a man in my closet" she informed me. I turned around and plodded my way back to my room to get dressed. After finally finding some clothes, I progressed to the bathroom. "Wait" she said "let's ask the man permission". After we secured permission from the man, I progressed to empty my bladder. I wondered if I could flush. We again consulted the man in her closet. The man said "yes" we may flush. I felt a little awkward about consulting a strange man to preform bodily functions. I secretly wondered if he was tied into the ninja lifestyle or if maybe it was just Heathers ultra organized personality.
Later the landlord made a short appearance and consumed 2 of the huckleberry (hope for the best) whole grain muffins I offered him. He, too, disappeared into my sisters closet. A little boy followed suit. Strangely, as my bowels thought they might explode, an entire group of men inhabited Heathers secret panel closet. They carried boxes in and out. I thought I may have seen a throwing star protruding from the new pump box. They complained loudly about the smell emerging from Heathers closet. They made strange sounds. I began to wonder if an entire ninja convention would assemble in Heather's closet. Heather just kept on insisting "its not a closet, it's a storage utility room". "Don't tell people there are men in my closet". I tried to photograph Heather's toilet but she wouldn't let me. She assured me that she didn't want to remember this for posterity.
Later the men encouraged us to shower and flush the toilet. This again was a very unique experience. I would have thought more about the subject of strange men encouraging me to use the toilet and shower, but my bowels prohibited it.
At last we were free to visit and I was able to enjoy my favorite pass time, shopping. Heather is a short drive from great shopping. Heather had gotten a perfect fish tank for her girls for Christmas. The tank has symmetrical colors of gravel equally divided. There is a cave and a plant and also a flower evenly spaced in the tank. She has 2 perfectly shaped goldfish swimming happily in the tank. If ever there was a perfect aquarium, Heather would have it. A happy water fall filter trickles water making the aquarium sing in perfect harmony. I would need to upset this perfect harmony with none other than a "poop fish."
After the fighting a throng of people at Wal-mart to the pet section, I asked the man at the pet section if he had any "scum suckers". He said he did. Just then an odd looking woman asked me to move. I went to the Christmas section. The same odd looking woman asked me to move there as well. I went back to the pet section suspecting my sister may have hired a private investigator to trail me. I thought about asking her if she knew any ninjas, but thought better of it. I then went back to the pet department and purchased the "poop fish". After spending 3 hours in a mob of Wal-mart shoppers, I and the poop fish made our way back to Heathers home.
When I surprised Heather with the poop fish, she was just that, surprised. She feared the poop fish upsetting the perfect harmony of her aquarium. After all, the poop fish doesn't really swim much. He just lays around and eats poop. You never know where you'll see him. Sometimes stuck on the side of the glass. Sometimes he's hiding in the cave. Sometimes he's sitting on a plant. The thing the poop fish never does is swim and look pretty like the gold fish. He's always laying around doing nothing but eating poop. This suited Heathers tank well (in my mind).
Really, we all had a wonderful time at Heather's house. She made lovely meals for us. We had fun together bringing in the New Year. I immensely enjoyed her kids, husband, and even her newly acquired "poop fish". Kardelen named all three of the fish "Zoe" after the landlords dog. It was great spending some time with my sister. Maybe next time there won't be any men in her closet.