I’m used to finding strange things in strange places. Just last week I discovered a kaleidoscope in the fridge and one of Xander’s stuffed animals in the freezer. I’ve crawled into bed and found Lego inventions hidden under the covers. It’s not unusual for conversations at our house to go like this:

“Has anyone seen the flashlight? The one I always tell you not to play with?”

“It’s in the dryer.”

“Of course. Why didn’t I think to check the dryer?”

Still, it was exceptionally weird—not to mention gross—when I had to fish a door hinge out of the toilet yesterday.

I saw Xander go into the bathroom and heard the clink few minutes later. Then this:

“Uh-oh.” Pause. “Daddy, I have to show you something.”

Pause. “It was an accident.”

When they tell you up front it was an accident before you’ve even seen the damage, that’s a sure sign it’s going to be unpleasant.

So there it was: a shiny brass hinge, sitting at the bottom of the toilet bowl. Naturally, Xander had a perfectly reasonable explanation for how it got there.

Our oldest is a collector. He has an entire basket full of treasures, from Nerf guns and plastic dragons that came with Happy Meals to notebooks, 3D glasses and a set of old keys. And, of course, door hinges. On this particular afternoon he was pretending that his hinge was an ancient book inscribed with secret code. And, since any male instinctively knows it’s a good idea to bring reading material to the bathroom*, he decided to read his encoded hinge on the toilet. The rest, well, that was an accident.

See? Perfectly logical, at least in a five-year-old’s mind. But that didn’t change the fact that the hinge was sitting at the bottom of the toilet, and I had to get it out. I wasn’t about to reach in and grab it, since Xander had left other things in the toilet too, if you know what I mean. Fortunately, hinges have holes for screws, so I fashioned a fishing rod out of a wire coat hanger and reeled that sucker out. Even Xander was impressed with that trick. I just hope I never have to use it again.

* Even  our three-year-old has figured out the reading-in-the-bathroom trick. It’s not uncommon for him to yell: “I have to poop! Get me a magazine!”


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