Of Spiders and Exploding Toilets

Returning to La Casa de Tontería after more than a week away, I settled to the usual post-vacation routine: doing laundry and evicting spiders. I killed two in my bedroom, drowned one in the shower, and made plans to clear the shed* when the weather cools next week.  Michigan has only one poisonous spider – the brown recluse – but an array of house spiders and wanna-bes.

Exploding toilets are a looming threat.

Yesterday a township notice was furtively stuck into the side of the screendoor. The sewer lines are being cleaned sometime in the near future (the vague word “scheduled” is used).  The notice doesn’t use the word “exploding.” Instead, it explains when air “vents into a home through the sanitary service line and ventilation system…water in the toilet bowl can bubble or surge or, in rare instances, splash out of the bowl.”

In rare instances means brace yourself in my house. As long-time readers know, my home was built by Jerkface MacGuyver, who never met a shelf, electrical line, or conduit he didn’t jerry-rig.

It doesn’t help that the township warning includes a paragraph about what three things contribute to air venting (La Casa de Tontería scores 66.67%). There’s also the helpful advice of keeping the lid down and “placing a wet towel between the bowl and the lid” to minimize the fallout.

The letter doesn’t state what homeowners can expect if they happen to be using the facilities at the moment of the bubble, surge, or splash explosion.  If I hear so much as a gurgle in the pipes, I’m going to run as if a miner yelled, “Fire in the hole!”

The only benefit to exploding toilets is that it may drive out spiders, too.


*Other shed-invaders include earwigs and a cricket. I sprayed the beginnings of a wasp nest before I left, and that seems to eliminated their usual predators.