Koan loves water. He loves the feel of it. He loves being covered in it. He looks for any opportunity to spill and splash water. Baths are a favorite activity. Sydney and Tiber hated having their hair washed when they were little. Koan can’t get enough. If there’s open water in the house Koan will find it and make a real mess once he does. It’s one of the great joys of his life. As you might imagine, we’ve had to modify our collective habits and routines to account for his aqua-philia. The cats’ water container is located downstairs now. We never leave a glass (or any container) of liquid anywhere near the floor. And, both toilets on the main level are always to be left with lid down or bathroom door shut.
On August first, I was scheduled to out of the office for the afternoon for a doctor’s appointment. I was having some minor surgery — removal of a mole and cyst from my back. I left the office early to have this done. I had arrived at work that day to find a new note on a support case I had started the previous week with our student information system provider, Infinite Campus. The note indicated that I need to call them to discuss the ticket. The issue I had reported was rather minor, so this seemed odd. When I got the tech assigned to the ticket on the phone, his first words to me were, “Let me get my manager…” I knew this was going to be an interesting day.
It turns out, an automated database cleanup process had quit running several days before on the Campus server. This missing cleanup had let some corruption seep into our student database. Registration was scheduled to start on August second, the next day. So, this was terrible timing and pretty troubling news. Over the course of the morning, the Campus hosting team and I worked out a plan that we believed would remove the corrupted data and have us ready to register 5,000+ kids the following day. They were going to do a partial restore to the last known good database from the previous Wednesday and manually massage the data we had added since then back into the database. The restore was going to take a couple of hours and the Campus would be unavailable for use during that time. So, we scheduled the outage from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM. This worked out well for me because this would mean that Campus would be back online by before I had to leave for my doctor’s appointment at 2:00 PM.
Campus was still offline at 1:30 when I needed to leave the office in order to give myself enough time to get checked in at the doctor’s office. I wasn’t particularly worried. I trusted the Campus support team and my local team was checking and would text me when it was back up. When I came out of the procedure, I checked my phone. And, sure enough, there was a text from Chris Ketchum letting me know Campus was back. So, I left the doctor’s office and headed to Target to get my follow-up prescriptions filled and to get some bigger band aids. While I was waiting at Target, I started getting emails from our secretarial staff indicating that Campus is not working. I couldn’t replicate the problem on my phone, but I believed there was a problem. So, I hustled home.
The reason I went home and not to the office was two-fold. There wasn’t much that I couldn’t do at home that I could do at the office for this type of problem. And, most of the impacted personnel, the secretaries, had already left for the day since it was already past 5:00 PM. Secondly, Tiber had been watching Koan all day. Jeri had spent the day in her classroom and was going out with some work friends for a “girls night out” that evening. Sydney was also out with her friends. So, Tiber had been solo caring for Koan all day, and I figured he needed a break.
I got home; replicated the problems reported in the emails, and started a call to Campus Hosting Support. There were several calls over the next few hours. I was talking on speaker phone to the support manager while feeding Koan. There were more calls after that. Tiber retreated to his man-cave in our basement. Koan and I were on the main floor. Things were not going well with the support call. I was beginning to feel a creeping sense of panic as I considered the possibility that Campus may not be available for registration. Like many people, when I’m nervous and worried, I pace. I stationed Koan in our great room and I walked a circuitous route from the great room (to check on Koan), to our master bedroom (quieter) and into our master bath (quietest) as I talked to the increasingly apologetic Campus support manager. Koan was babbling away — singing his nonsensical songs the whole time. But, he was quite good and entertained himself. I didn’t need to change a diaper or have our Amazon Echo play “Wheels on the Bus” — Koan’s ultimate calm-down song.
Around 7:30 PM, it was clear there’s only one viable path forward — a full restore of the database from the previous Wednesday. This meant that nearly a week’s worth of work would be lost. It was a lonely few minutes as I weighed the decision in our master bedroom. But, there was really the only sensible call — do the restore. So, I gave the go ahead to do that. Almost at that same time, Tiber emerges from the basement. Earlier in the summer, I bought Tiber an inexpensive electric guitar and amp as a reward for all of the time he’d spent caring for Koan. He’d found my old Cry Baby wah-wah pedal and wanted to use it. But, it needed a new 9-volt battery. So, he told me that he wanted to go to the store to pick up a battery. This would be his first time as a solo driver. I agreed to his plan. I wanted to encourage his independence, and I secretly wanted to play his new guitar with the Cry Baby myself.
As Tiber left, I headed upstairs to my office to write a very sensitive and delicate email to everyone who might be impacted by the data loss we were going to experience in Campus. Koan was sitting by our front door and the doorway to his room. He was playing somewhat quietly but very happily. I became engrossed in the composition process. I created several drafts. I looked at each word to be sure that I did a good job of explaining the situation without being too technical while making it very clear there really was only one option to address the problem. As I finished up the final draft, I realized the house is very, very quiet — too quiet. Just at that same moment, Tiber got home.
I gave the email one last read. I heard Tiber downstairs tromping through the kitchen. A second later, I hit “send.” Tiber called upstairs — “Hey! I think you need to come down here!” I realized with dread that when I was pacing earlier, I made a cardinal mistake in our household. I had left not only the door to my bedroom open, but the door to the master bath, and almost certainly the toilet seat was up, too. It was the same sinking feeling that every parent of young children has when the house goes too quiet.
I bolted down the stairs, through our great room, through my master bedroom, and into the master bath. Koan was sitting in front of the toilet. The lid was up. Keep in mind that Koan will not feed himself. Notice I use the words “will not” and not the words “can not.” He loves food, but he will not consistently move food from his feeding tray to his mouth. However, in the time that I was upstairs writing my email, he had found to his delight that the bedroom and bathroom doors were open and even better, the toilet seat was up — a celebration ensued. He managed to spool an entire roll of toilet paper into the toilet. Again, a pretty complicated task for a guy who will not feed himself. Then, using his open palm, he splashed (exploded really) the contents of the toilet all over himself and the entire bathroom. He looked like a very happy and proud snowman — covered in goopy white bits of toilet paper and soaking wet — head to toe. Worse yet, there were wet pieces of toilet paper all over the bathroom. It looked like a toilet paper bomb had detonated in the space.
I’ll be honest, this was not my finest moment as a parent. Koan was smiling, delighted with himself, proud. He had had a wonderful time! I strode into the room and closed the toilet cover. That did not meet with Koan’s approval. The look on is his face said it all — that was an act of betrayal and complete meanness. I had taken his fun away and he was going to make me pay for that. He began to wail. I gave a howl of exasperation myself. That made Koan cry louder. I picked him up and hustled him into our bedroom. I set him on the floor next to the bed. I could feel the stitches in my back straining, nearly popping as I lifted him. I was feeling like crying along with him. I called for Tiber (who was laughing) to get me a broom. He headed out the door, sniggering all the way. After returning with the broom, Tiber got a good look at me and wisely decided to stay clear of both of Koan and me for a few minutes.
In retrospect, I wish I had taken a couple of pictures of Koan’s state and the scene of the crime. But, I was just too flustered given my physical and mental states. As I worked to clear the floor so I can give Koan a bath, I can hear him howling in outrage in the master bedroom. I called Tiber back as I was completing the rough clean up. I need him to take away the broom. He called to me as he came back into the master bedroom. I could not hear what he said over Koan’s screams. In his rage, Koan had cried himself into a bloody nose. So, he was now covered in gooey toilet paper, snot, and blood — a real treat for the eyes.
Once the bath water started rolling into the tub, Koan’s screams of anger turned to squeals of delight. I was well aware that in Koan’s mind this was even better than splashing wet toilet paper — a bath! The last thing I wanted to do was reward his behavior. But, there was just no other choice. Of course, the ultimate irony was that none of this would have happened if a so called “clean up” routine had not failed on the Campus server.
Jeri got home around 10:30 that night. I was already in bed. “How were things here?” She asked as she passed through our bedroom into the bathroom. “Nothing new here.” I was too tired to explain what happened. I figured the full story could wait until morning.