The Horrid Stench Of Responsibility

September 19, 2013


Recently a drainage pipe under the house broke.  It took far longer to realize what was going on than is even remotely reasonable.


It was when the fly population exploded that we finally realized something had to be done.  My wife, of course, was there to look out for the (very) little guy.


When we finally accepted that something was wrong, the best we could figure was that an animal had died in the ducts, or in the crawl space under the house.  It was one of those moments where you want a grown up to show up and deal with the situation… and then you gradually have to accept that that grown up is you.

So, down I went in to the crawl space – a debris-strewn, claustrophobic pit.  It’s low enough that you have to army-crawl through most of it.  It’s basically “Coffin-Like, Tetanus, Mouse Feces Fun Land.”


A cracked pipe that had created a lake of dirty water that had become an ecosystem of horror.  This meant dealing with the pipe, but then also dealing with the lake.   Off I went to Home Depot for supplies necessary for crawling around a lake of muck.


With my paltry ventilator and goggles, down I went again to combat the muck.


After dragging myself through the filth, old furnace filters and abandoned machine parts, I spread lime, quintuple sealed the old pipes, and emerged – the reluctant grown up.


I went to bed that night feeling quite the man of the house.  Problem solver.  Crisis handler.

And then the motor in the refrigerator started squealing and grinding…

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About The Byronic Man

Recently voted "The Best Humor Site in America That I, Personally, Write," The Byronic Man is sometimes fiction, but sometimes autobiography. And sometimes cultural criticism. Oh, and occasionally reviews. Okay, it's all those different things, but always humorous. Except on the occasions that it's not. Ah, geez. Look, it's a lot of things, okay? You might like it, is the point.

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47 Comments on “The Horrid Stench Of Responsibility”

  1. Michelle at The Green Study Says:

    Ah, yes, the perils of home ownership. This is when all the renters like to have a good belly laugh. My refrigerator is squealing. It’s time to take it out back and put it out of its misery. I’ll happily adopt a new one and give it a good home, where it can happily mock the rest of the decrepit appliances.


  2. BrainRants Says:

    So I guess the firework-shooting, house-torching neighbor kids were unavailable.


  3. Vanessa-Jane Chapman Says:

    Ewwww!!! Yuck yuck!!! Good for you, being the adult and sorting it out ‘n all, but Ewwww!!! Yuck yuck!!!


  4. Michael Says:

    As one of my professors once said, “being a grown-up means doing things that give you absolutely no pleasure.”


  5. muddledmom Says:

    Oh, that was great! There is no way I would ever, ever, ever go under my house. I just peek my head in and that’s as good as it’s going to get. There are spiders under there! I’m impressed that you handled it yourself and didn’t call someone to do it for you. You know, there are people like that.


  6. donofalltrades Says:

    Ha, yeah Buddy, being the person responsible for things sucks! Nice work though. I’d have called somebody so you’re a better man than I am.


  7. PinotNinja Says:

    The crawl space is a special 8th level of hell. About a week ago I got sent down there to check on a pipe (thankfully there was no leak) since, conveniently, my husband has a torn rotator cuff that prevents him from commando crawling. I cried and whimpered the entire time like a small child, and, at the time, the whole thing felt decidedly not adult. But, after reading this, I am feeling pretty darn adult and proud of myself. Those were tears of responsibility!


  8. Snoring Dog Studio Says:

    Done it myself here. Couldn’t find a man who’d do it for me, but my brother-in-law at least bought me a pair of coveralls. Of course, I did it in the dead of winter when the bugs and critters were less active. But, yes, creepy. Very creepy. I pray not to ever have to do it again. I’m convinced that it’s the portal to hell.


  9. mistyslaws Says:

    Crap. You mean there ISN’T an adult around to fix those sorts of things? Yeah, we usually just throw some cash at it and hope it goes away. And then we wait for some adult to come at the end of the month to pay all the bills. Oh, wait. Damnit!!


  10. Charlene Woodley Says:

    Ahhh, the joys of doing horrible things in the comfort of your own home! It just goes to show the true value of a healthy personal relationship with a gang of poop and what you are willing to do with it for the sake of marriage and home ownership. Your traumatizing yet victorious experience has well proven that wet, nerve-wrecked muck-covered husbands are all that and a case of beer. I thank you for sharing this wholesome and heartwarming story! 🙂


  11. thefoodandwinehedonist Says:

    It never ends, does it? I’ve become really handy around the house, but the dark side is that friends often ask for my help with their “responsibility opportunities.” Now I’ve come full circle and throw money at the problems. (mine, not theirs)


  12. Blogdramedy Says:

    At least fixing the fridge means you’re closer to the beer.


  13. Teepee12 Says:

    I think I’ll call the septic pumping guy right now, Make an advance appointment.


  14. Lorna's Voice Says:

    This is why I live in a condo. With a man who knows how to fix everything. You really ought to try it. 😉


  15. Michelle Says:

    Haha, that’s awesome! You’re awesome! I don’t think I would have been able to do that at all. Just reading this gave me the heebie-jeebies. And yeah, I like being an adult when it means I can do whatever I want; not so much when it means I have to deal with stuff I don’t want to do.


  16. Don't Quote Lily Says:

    I have yet to see the benefits of being a grown up. Not a single one.
    Yuck, seriously YUCK. I feel for you. But at the same time, this was a much needed laugh, so thank you. Have I told you that you should draw all your stories? 😀


  17. Helena Hann-Basquiat Says:

    When the refrigerator starts squealing and grinding, you must shoot it, darling. Shoot it again and again and again until you’re sure it’s dead. My refrigerator started squealing and grinding once, and before I knew it, we had a gremlin infestation.
    Not fun. Especially not if you get them wet.


  18. Life With The Top Down Says:

    Oh…..dear…..lord! I do believe that “Senior DP Representative” can be added to the resume. No one will dare to ask….


  19. thesinglecell Says:

    Is it weird that I find this incredibly sexy? (Sorry Mrs. Byronic…)


  20. iamjjstone Says:

    I’m jealous of your wife…she’s so skinny.


  21. List of X Says:

    It’s the days like these when the American dream of owning a house turns out to be a nightmare.


  22. Pleun Says:

    I admire the way you interpret the grown-up thing. My interpretation is to call a plumber guy with all the right gear (or not, but I wouldn’t care) and just pay him money to make it go away (even if I have to eat peanut butter sandwiches for the rest of my life). So well done, I can see why you have a superhero name, you wear it well 😉


  23. pegoleg Says:

    Now that you’ve donned the mantle of adulthood, can you smell the wire to the well pump that became unburied and has been lying out in our yard for 6 months, covered with pieces of old trellis to keep the dog from chewing on it – again? Maybe it’s time for you to take another trip to the Home Depot? Eh? Eh?


  24. Exile on Pain Street Says:

    No photos? No photos! Fail. A cracked pipe or a crack pipe? You know what they say; one man’s ecosystem of horror is another paramecium’s home. I never would have done that—or know how, for that matter. You have elevated testosterone levels. If you’ll excuse me, I have to go wash out my vagina.


  25. carloscarrillo2398 Says:

    Reblogged this on carloscarrillo2398 and commented:
    this is so funny


  26. girlonthecontrary Says:

    I have to remind myself that I’m a grown-up on a daily basis. Somehow, that message has yet to sink in. Especially when it comes to home improvements….


  27. Sandy Sue Says:

    And THIS is why I rent. Oh, and being crazy and poor, but those are minor compared to the Bottomless Pit of Homeownership. I was never so glad to get rid of anything in my life. Ex-husband included.


  28. silkpurseproductions Says:

    He-Who’s theory has always been, “Why do it myself when I can hire a guy to do it?” When finances do not allow I end up being the “guy” under the house. There are definite perks to being renters.


  29. Jan Moyer Says:

    “Coffin-Like, Tetanus, Mouse Feces Fun Land.”

    Sometimes, being the grown up stinks.



  1. the Infinite Monkey speaks: on being the grown-up | steadily skipping stones - October 20, 2013

    […] The Horrid Stench of Responsibility […]

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