Toddler Related Train Wrecks

You see that picture just above this line? That picture, my friends, is of the chandelier in our furniture-less dining room. But more importantly, that picture is the perfect metaphor for Caroline and me right now. We’re awfully close — in the grand scheme of things — to being right where we’re supposed to be. Yet, sadly, we’re noticeably askew. Still, we’re hanging in there. But, let’s fact it… we could collapse at virtually any moment.

Why, you ask? Because of toddler-related train wrecks. That’s why. And I learned of the most recent such train wreck just two days ago via a phone call from my beautiful wife. A phone call which began with a question that no man ever wants to hear his wife ask, especially over the telephone. “How do you turn off the water to the house?”

You see, it turns out that the triplets had clogged up the upstairs toilet in the boys’ bathroom by stuffing it full of various and sundry items. Also turns out that my wife couldn’t get the water off at the toilet. Guess what? Water’s not immune to gravity, which was proven when my wife screamed that it was “cascading out of the light fixtures” on our main level. The basement? Yeah. Same deal. Did I mention that even when I told Caroline where the cutoff to the water was, she was still unable to actually turn it off? Didn’t think so.

The end result is something that I’m slowly but surely working through with the help of my therapist. OH. As well as with the help of trained professionals. For once the water (mercifully) stopped overflowing from the toilet, we called a company which handles this sort of thing.

And it wasn’t but fifteen minutes or so before six, maybe seven of their associates busted into my house like the team from Ghostbuster’s. And these dudes were hardcore. I mean, not only were they equipped with more screeching fans than Justin Bieber, they were also armed with dehumidifiers the size of Central Park hotdog carts.

So what’s the end result? So glad you asked. Here’s a picture of the bathroom of origin. Please note the fan and hotdog cart, er dehumidifier.

It’s a Jack and Jill bathroom which means that the other side needed help, too. Please note how the carpet’s been ripped up to allow for the air to dry the ground underneath it, thus giving it the appearance of that bad parachute-game-deal you used to play in gym class when you were like seven. You know, when everyone in your class formed a big circle and held the perimeter of the parachute and flopped it up and down in an effort to keep the balls which were bouncing in the middle of the parachute from bouncing off the edges or falling into the holes cut in the very center of it? (You don’t know what I’m talking about? My bad. Still, stick with me. I’m having a bonafide meltdown over here.)

OH. Another thing to note — Jack’s helmet. I’m so undone over the whole deal that Caroline’s instructed the children to wear their helmets whenever they’re around me. (It’s a joke. Stop judging me. Meltdown, remember?)


Don’t forget about the hallway carpet, because it needed help, too. Here’s a picture of the closet on the other side of the wall from the clogged-up toilet:


Okay. Top floor taken care of. Let’s go downstairs, shall we? Here’s a picture of our laundry room and some dude that I would have been happy if I had NEVER MET IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. Though, to be fair, he was a thoroughly delightful young man. Of interest here: not one, but two fans.


Remember the chandelier? Of course you do. Ghostbusters set up shop in that room, too. Of note: helmets still in tact. You know. Just in case.


And remember that toy organizer deal that Caroline made me mount during her aggressive nesting initiative? Well so much for that mounting. Because the Ghostbusters crew had to unmount it when attacking the water damage that was done to the walls on that floor, the basement.


You might have notice the little green LCD readout on Central Park hotdog cart in the picture above. Here’s a closer look at it.


I’m not quite sure what it means, but after getting our estimate, I think it might be the cost per machine per hour. Did I mention that tonight will be our third night with the fans and dehumidifiers in our house? Cost aside, I’m not sure which is worse: the stifling heat these machines emit or the droning noise that slowly but surely has me going Chicken-Dance-Elmo crazy.

I mean the heat is so bad that the boys can’t even sleep at night. Which presents one of the most gut-wrenching ironies I’ve ever had to deal with — namely that of me hobbling up the stairs in the middle of the night to comfort the very boys whose actions led to this entirely uncomfortable debacle.

So, yeah, the heat’s bad. No doubt. But even so, I think that the constant noise is even more unbearable. I mean, seriously, it sounds like we live in a NASCAR wind tunnel.

You know what’s awesome? When you have like fifteen fans and three big-ass dehumidifiers in your house. Because not only is the noise incredibly loud, but the air is also preposterously cold and dry, no matter what you put your thermostat on. Did I mention my sore throat from all the windy, dry conditions? Well I meant to. Because it’s keeping me up at night.

Well, that, and the several trips upstairs to comfort the boys. And the middle-of-the-night bottles for Grand Finale. That’s keeping me up, too. OH, and the fact that it sounds like I’m sleeping inside the chamber of Caroline’s hair dryer isn’t helping, I suppose. All of which, of course, amount to toddler-related train wrecks.

I keep trying to remind myself that these types of shenanigans, toilet clogging and the like, are little more than garden-variety, Psyche-101 reactions to the advent of Grand Finale. In fact, I wrote an entire post on the matter today over at TLC called 10 Good, Bad and Ugly Ways My Older Kids Are Adjusting to Their Baby Brother which I hope you’ll read by clicking HERE.

But regardless of what the cause of all this mayhem is, this much is for certain. It’s damn hard to take.

But something happened today that might make things a little easier for the Osbornes in the very near future. The triplets started school. Which means soon enough, we might find some normalcy around the house. And once we do, I’m certain that I’ll no longer hold a grudge against them.

Until, perhaps, I remember that one of them most likely climbed atop the “train table” and somehow messed up our chandelier.

This post made possible by contributions from every single player in the birth control industry.

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About john cave osborne

John Cave Osborne is a writer whose work has appeared on such sites as DisneyBaby, Babble, YahooShine, TLC and the Huffington Post. He was also referenced by Jezebel one time, but he’s pretty sure they were making fun of him. He and his wife, Caroline, live with their five children and spastic dog in Knoxville, TN. Nothing annoys him more than joke-heavy bios written in the third person, with the possible exception of Corey Feldman.

  • Life As Wife

    You poor, poor man…

    • John Cave Osborne

      wanna bet on the UT / Arkansas game this year?

    • John Cave Osborne

      with the point spread, of course (he added knowing full well his team would be a touchdown underdog…)

  • Ronda

    This happened to us when our first born was 3 months old.  Upstairs toilet over flowed, seemingly without cause, as my husband swears he just peed.  Anyway, we had the huge fans and machines, carpet pulled up, for about 3 days.  We were new parents, exhausted, yet the fans actually brought us relief.  For the first time our daughter started to sleep in 5-6 hour stretches, presumably from the noise of the fans.  The sleep was awesome, the bill was not!

    • John Cave Osborne

      Ronda, now that you mention it, Grand Finale has been sleeping like a ROCK! yet that’s off little consolation to us as the others have been train wrecks. they came today and cleared away most of the “stations” which means we’ll only have another day or two before we get our bill (yikes). wish us luck. great comment! thanks for leaving it!

  • Jenniecm

    Unbelievable! I don’t even know what to say except that I’m sooooo sorry! Keep taken it one day at a time!

    • John Cave Osborne

      well look who figured out how to leave a comment! very impressed! and don’t worry, i hammed it up a bit for humor. okay. no i didn’t. but, still, don’t worry. we’re just fine thanks to friends like you! it was so great to spend time w/ you last week. hope y’all have a great weekend…

  • Patrick (yeah, that one)

    I promise I’m not laughing, because I’ve seen this kind of train wreck before.  And I won’t tell the story of it, because it would be too long and unpleasant for morning stories.  Suffice to say that you’re the unlucky newest member in the toilet train wreck club.  We’re out of badges and t-shirt for the club though.  Not because of the demand, even though there’s a large number of members, but because no one will wear the shirts or badges, and who can blame them?  After three days of gale force winds like you have experienced, the temptation is to pretend it never ever happened.  And for good reason.

    Wise move putting the boys in helmets.  And good job refraining from bouncing things off of said helmets too.  Out of curiosity, I wonder if helmets make it more or less tempting to bounce things off of their noggins?  The belief that the helmet is there might up the temptation, since they probably won’t get hurt…  Ah well, good for you for resisting.

    And lots of love to all of you.  You’ve got plenty in that house, but I’ll send more to help get you all through. :-)

    • John Cave Osborne

      i never thought about the flipside to helmets, namely that of encouraging the abuse from which they are supposed to protect. only a deviant mind could come up w/ that, you realize…

  • Dawn

    WOW! I’m laughing with you, not at you. Oh, unless you’re not laughing yet, in which case we’ll just store it for the future.  We’ve had SO MANY train wrecks it’s unbelievable. At least yours was just water. And it doesn’t end with toddlers either. I don’t normally link in people’s comments but can I tell you about the time it  snowed inside our house?

    • John Cave Osborne

      You can always leave a link in my comments! i can’t wait to read this. and we’re kinda laughing. not super laughing. but kinda laughing.

  • Debbie

    So very sorry, glad you have kept your humor.

    • John Cave Osborne

      at some point, you just have to laugh, don’ you Debbie?

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  • Cindy

    OMG..can’t stop laughing…..Just wait til the girl’s turn.  I can still hear my Dad yelling…”Don’t put tampons down the toliet!!”

    • Cindy

      Sorry about the laughing part. Just can’t stop.

    • John Cave Osborne

      i’m genuinely glad that you’re laughing. maybe a touch hurt, but genuinely glad at the same time. and there’s no need to be sorry!

      PS — i still love your name. :-) have a great weekend. (and don’t tell anyone i just used an emoticon… it’s the least you can to for continually laughing at me…)

  • Chase McFadden

    As soon as I saw the opening image of the the dangling chand, I thought, “Wonder which of the Trips got hold of that?” Which would have been the least of your problems.

    Damn. That is going to be one serious-ass bill. Of course, those companies can charge whatever they want because what else are you going to do? Lay out a 1000 diapers to soak it up? Maybe you can organize a ClogAid telethon or something to offset some of the cost. 

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