Most grotesque tasks

I considered adding this to the What drove home that youre an adult thread, but it really is a subject of its own.

Our sewer pipes backed up into the downstairs bathtub. After surveying the disgusting sewage in the tub, I came to the realization that I can’t call my dad (he’s dead) or the landlord (I own my own house) or anybody else to come and clean it up for me. It’s my own problem. I’ve cleaned up cat barf on the floor and doggie bombs on the lawn. My kids have thrown up on me. I’ve cleaned out clogged toilets. This was, however, worse. It’s probably on the top five list of the most disgusting things I’ve ever had to do.

What’s on your list?

For some reason the one time I had to change a nappy springs to mind. It was my youngest niece, and I had a lot of help from the oldest niece.
Picking up dog-poo with a plastic bag is a close second.
Cleaning up one’s own puke.

Our family dog (1/2 Dalmatian, 1/2 German Shepherd, all stupid) caught and absolutely shredded some poor groundhog, then brought it into our house. Cleaning up the fur, guts, blood and little chips of bone - all still warm and wet - was the sickest thing I’ve ever had to do.

Handling vats of slimy used fryer grease when I worked at Burger King was pretty gross. The smell would give me the dry heaves. I’ve seen Mike Rowe do this kind of thing on Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs”. If you want to make sure your kids will stay in school and go to college, just have them watch this show.

The power was turned off on a cottage behind a house I was working on. The tenant was on the other side of the country. A few weeks later the owner realized the power was off and the fridge must be fuggy. As I was already working on the other house he thought I could just go and clean out the fridge and add that time to the payroll. I declined. Everyoned has their price, it seems, and for a poor undergrad in the summer it seems my price was a case of PBR. I haveworked with animals and I do lots of plumbing. I have dealt with nasty sickeness of myself and messes of others. I have cleaned restrooms after groups of kids did I dunno waht to them. THis fridge was beyond uber funky. The meats were no longer meaty, the maggots, the slime, the sheer putrescence… I had duct taped it shut to get it in the yard and opened the door at a full trot. I gagged and heaved as I hosed it from a distance and threw clorox bombs in the gneral direction. Oh foul slop and goo, I hardly knew ye.

Changing Little R’s diaper after she’d eaten dirt. The smell was so awful, it was actually funny–like some grotesque overstatement of a normal diaper smell. :slight_smile:

Cleaning my long-time-smoker father’s apartment before his move rates as one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever done. There were areas over the baseboard heaters where the walls were chocolate-coloured from years of tar deposited there by air currents.

Having had bulimia for a few years, I’d gone through ever vomit-related disaster until it no longer bothers me. At one point, I had bags of it sitting in the closet until all the acid leaked through the bags and soaked into the wood of the floor. If you sniff that corner of the house, you can still smell it. I also had to throw away a desk for the same reason.

Also, once I threw up into a container and forgot to empty it before I went on vacation, and came back to a bucket of week-old puke, sitting out, congealed, in the bathroom. The smell was horrific. Thank god there were no bugs.

Going into a roach-infested apartment two days after bug bombs were set off. It was like walking on Rice Krispies. We had to wear jumpsuits and hardhats to keep the dying bugs off of our bodies. We also had to sweep up the buggers rather than risk getting egg sacs into the vacuum cleaner bag.

The whole process had to be repeated four times.

It was a dark and stormy night…

Hurricane Iniki to be exalt

and my roommates white German Shepherd was sick, vomiting…

so he came into the house, into the small kitchen, the only place without carpeting.

after a while he stopped vomiting, so I went into the fridge to make a sandwich…

what I didn’t know was that the vomiting was to be replaced by…


diarrhea :frowning:

Cleaning out the grease trap at the coffeeshop where I was a supervisor. I couldn’t get any of the other employees to do it (they all threatened to walk out, and I couldn’t really afford to let them; we were short handed as it was). It had backed up and was starting to leak into the ceiling of the shop on the floor below us. The grease trap was full of rotted steamed milk and ice cream from the coffee milkshakes we served. Once I got the lid off, it resembled nothing so much as a three foot cubed box full of liquefied baby shit. Which I had to scoop out with a bucket and empty into the triple-lined garbage can. It took multiple showers for me to wash that smell off. After that, I put my foot down, and wrote up a rotation for cleaning out the grease trap. If it was your turn and you refused to do it, you were out the door and out of a job. Fortunately, I transfered to another store before my name came up on the rota again.

Working in a petstore and having a litter of pups come in for sale that had parvo. Oh god, slidy, greasy, runny parvo puppy shit is the most foul stuff in creation–even after it’s gone the smell lingers in the nose and it seems that everything smells like it.

Dead rat under a cabinet, all maggotty and runny, yeah that was fun…

Grease traps of any type or description, shudder!

Hmmm… I was about to post about the time when a raccoon decided to chow down on squirrel-flavoured roadkill and made a furry bloody mess of our patio furniture.

However, patio furniture can be hosed down and scrubbed clean fairly easily. It took a little while before I was willing to sit on it, though.

Just because it is all too disgusting to go on further may I mention the large rat in a trap that had been picked clean by its’ compatriots?

I hope it’s okay to ask this; I certainly don’t mean to be insensitive, but why the containers? I feel like I’m missing out on some vital part of what bulimia is. Did you not have a toilet to puke in, or was it just an attempt to hide the disease? Again, sorry if this is an inappropriate question.

Mild compared to most listed here. If I have long gloves on and an air filter, dealing with doody or sewage doesn’t bother me too much - in the one household sense.

My old apartment was a classic two-family Boston walkup. Started having problems with the bathroom sink draining slowly, and then I dropped a toothpaste cap down the drain. I decide to get a plumber’s spanner and open the trap.

The cap and clumps of hair weren’t too bad. But on a whim, I stuck my gloved finger up the pipe - and this perfectly tube-shaped, gelatinous black mass plops into the bucket. Probably 15 years of grease, goop, hair, and rotten soap. And it stunk like hell. And it splashed up gross water when it fell.

Second: having a lipoma removed from my chest wall in a minor surgical procedure, and smelling my own burning flesh. I guess I didn’t have to take a whiff, but gross!

This is what I came to post as well. In the restaurant where I worked, our grease trap got cleaned out once a year. I assisted one year, but said I would quit rather than actually do the deed–since I was the grill cook I had a little bit of leverage.

But it was scooping out rotted meat and other “stuff” in large goops into five-gallon buckets. To do it you had to wrap your entire body in clothing to keep the stench off.

One time I mistook a bucket of this stuff for a bucket of regular used grease. When I went to pour into the grease container, it was the worst smell I ever smelled. As soon as I opened the bucket, I threw up and spilled the bucket all over the grease containers. I also said I would quit if I had to clean that up.

It was a dark and stormy night…and also a Sunday evening. I’d recently refitted my bathroom and the toilet was blocked. Plunging, wiggly wire with a screw, terrible chemicals - nothing would shift it.

So, I unbolted the bog, pulled it away from the wall until the bog-sewer stretch pipe was accessible. And with a drip tray underneath, I separated the pipe from the bog. There was a little liquishit spillage into the tray, but it was clear that something large and not-of-this-world was stuck. Fast forward 15 minutes and I had my bare arm, to my shoulder, in the shit pipe. Using my fingers to poke through the sodden lump of shit, tampons and paper until the pipe was clear.

My girlfriend - she of the bowel movements - was on the other side of the bathroom door, dry retching. The sum of her help was to refuse to open a bin bag for me. I’d have done it myself, but the shit-cake on my fingers wouldn’t give me purchase.

We shall never discuss this again.


My late MIL called me one weekend and asked for help cleaning out one of the stalls in her barn. She had two or three cows and said she hadn’t been able to get to it for a “few days” because of a back problem.

Shoveled out 18 inches of cow shit from an area of about 250 square feet. Bottom layer must have been dropped there by dinosaurs. Gagging and retching all the while. Put down a fresh layer of sawdust and told her I’d kill myself before I went back into that stall.

Autoclaving and disposing of liquid biohazardous waste from a microbiology class. Especially the weeks they test milk +/or use Clostridium botulinum (the bug that causes botulism and occasionally makes canned tomatoes explode). Imagine boiling six month old beef broth/milk mixture, then multiply by 100.