Monday, November 1, 2010

A Riddle: What Does Bear Poo and Bad Plumbing Have in Common?

I encountered both on Saturday in an intimate and personal manner.

The Plumbing:

     On Thursday night Charles and I came home in the relative darkness of 6:00 pm EST. We had gone to the store and were laden with both milk AND bread.  Upon opening the door at 6:01 pm EST I inquired of Charles.
    "Hey, does our house smell kinda bad?"
To which he replied.
     By 6:05 EST it was apparent that the house did stink
     6:10 EST we opened the windows, the state in which they would remain for the next two days, through    
                    the first frost and a day of windy grayness.
     6:20 EST we found the three inches of water in the basement
Long story short, we called the emergency line, but no one came to fix it till Saturday afternoon, when it was dealt with, and we were informed that it was not rain water (as we had thought, nay, prayed) but a backed up sewer line. Miserable, no? The situation has been remedied, and with a good airing and a few candles the house smells positively lovely. In fact better than before, which raises a few very intriguing questions.

     Which brings me to the second kind of poo my day contained. That of a black bear. Are you ready for this? Because honestly this is a better story than the basement one.

The Bear Poo:

     On Saturday afternoon, as our basement was in the process of being saved from its terrible state, we went to our bosses house for a Halloween/Harvest party. Now, for those of you who think I lived remotely when I worked at Echo Hill...THINK AGAIN! I honestly thought we were going to perish valiantly on the way to her house. We just kept climbing into the Ozarks. Also, the roads kept getting worse and worse. Ironically though, the cell phone reception got better and better. Craziest thing.
     When we got there we decided to go hiking. We journeyed down a mountain and through a valley (all of this sounds idyllic, really it was a grueling and difficult traverse over questionable terrain). And in that valley we discovered a cave. And in that cave (could I really have NOT gone in it?) we found a small mound of scat, the sampling of which proved to have coarse black hairs. Since nothing eats black bears, the hairs were assumed to be deposited by the animal responsible for the scat. A suspicion later proven by measurable science. A word of comfort for those of you now picturing me huddled in the cramped darkness of a cave currently inhabited by a bear, don't worry. The scat was old, but well preserved.
     Our army crawling through the cave left us all exhausted and completely covered in clay. But our boss took it in stride and still let us inside her house. She is an understanding woman. A note about the cave: it was awesome and had both stalactites and stalagmites. We also turned off our lights for a moment in the very back and it was unbelievably dark and silent (see, further proof of the bear not being at home). I crawled out of that cave and I can safely say I have never been so glad to see the light of day. Especially since one of our co-hikers chose that moment to make some choice comments about caves and gateways to the underworld.

Thus concludes my weekend riddle. Love to all.


  1. 1. You guys are such grown ups with your backed up sewer pipes!

    2. Don't get eaten by a bear. Or mauled.

  2. Ah yes, a day in the life. What exactly do you mean by "sampling" the scat. The immediate picture that leapt to my mind was not a pretty one.