Monday, March 04, 2013

The destructive potential of a sippy cup

“Stop eating drywall!” I yelled, then paused, wondering if anyone else had ever uttered those words.  Probably so, but it’s tough to imagine the circumstances.

Our dog Memphis looked up, then slowly opened her mouth, letting a chunk of drywall drop to the floor.

“Good girl,” I said.  Then I returned to stabbing the ceiling with my knife, spraying more delicious morsels about our dining room.  Memphis stared longingly at the biggest chunks, sniffing in their direction.  I had no idea that she would eat drywall if given the chance, but I suppose that’s a culinary step up from what I’ve seen her eating in the yard.

It’s probably for the best if Memphis never realizes that the whole house is made of her favorite new taste sensation.  That would be like keeping a kid in a gingerbread house and yelling at him every time he tried to taste it.

I kept chipping away at the ceiling, scared at what I might find up there.

A few months ago, we noticed a small spot of water damage above our heads in the dining room.  A few days before that, our son Evan had dumped an entire sippy cup of water on the floor upstairs overnight, letting it sop into the carpet for hours before anyone noticed.  Rather than blame the shower that sits on the other side of the wall from Evan’s bedroom, just a couple of feet away, we decided to blame the sippy cup for the water damage, mostly because you don’t have to pay a plumber to fix a sippy cup.  Also, the sippy cup, unlike me, didn’t recently install a new shower head with a connection behind the wall, so it made a convenient scapegoat.

The spot kept getting worse and worse, not really getting bigger, but definitely developing more personality.  

“That sippy cup really did a number on the ceiling,” I’d say, enjoying my last few days of denial.

Next came the puddle on the dining room floor, the rare catastrophe that didn’t originate from one of our offspring.  Turns out, we overestimated the destructive potential of a sippy cup, and the leak was coming from our shower.

“What kind of plumber’s putty did you use when you put on the shower head?” our friend Allen asked me.

“There are kinds?” I asked.  I defer to Allen on these types of questions because he has both a beard AND a motorcycle, so his man credentials are unimpeachable.  (Even without the beard and motorcycle, it takes a two-thirds vote of the Man Congress to impeach anyone’s man credentials, and we can’t get everyone to stop playing Call of Duty long enough to reach quorum.)

My wife Kara, listening to our conversation, eyed me suspiciously.  My last foray into do-it-yourself plumbing had resulted in the flooding of our basement three weeks after we’d finished it, so it’s not like I don’t understand her skepticism.

The next night, after I’d cut a fist-sized hole in the ceiling and tried to peer through it, I couldn’t see a thing.  I looked down, realizing that I had become completely blind.  Incidentally, our son Evan was assisting me by taking the strongest flashlight in our house and beaming it straight at my face.

“Evan, dude, not in my eyes, please,” I said.

“Okay, daddy,” he said, turning the beam to Kara’s face instead.

Once the beam of light, through sheer random motion, rested upon the hole for a moment, we saw the shower’s drainpipe in the ceiling.  I ran upstairs and turned the shower on, catching the water in a bucket.  No leak.  Then I turned the shower off and dumped the bucket down the drain, which sent a cascade onto the dining room floor.

“It’s the DRAIN, not the shower head!  Vindication!” I yelled.

Our house may be falling apart, but it’s not my fault.  That’s the important thing.

You can pair Mike Todd’s drywall with a nice Riesling at


  1. nice one! ha ha ha. I really did read it all, that's all I and write. But I liked it. tee hee hee

  2. Glad the leak wasn't your fault dude. I'd say the basement wasn't your fault either. So you've actually got a pretty good record.

    1. Dude! I appreciate you bending the facts to make me feel better. Also, I hope you enjoyed your cameo. If you help me fix the hole in my dining room ceiling, I'll write a whole column about how awesome you are.

  3. We had the same problem...the seal around the drain and the shower floor was non-existent. Happy caulking!

    1. Thanks! Turns out, our drain had knocked out of alignment, so it was a pretty easy fix. Also, you raise an important point: whenever handling caulk, always enunciate clearly.