Monday, April 19, 2010

Resolving Not to Cuss

When we arrived in Texas we were greeted by a U-haul in the driveway and four people in our house. Within a day there were two more, not including us. A total of 7. One doesn't count because she's a baby and wears diapers, so she doesn't affect the plumbing one way or another. That's about 5 more than usual, and 7 more than in awhile. Plumbing works fine when nobody's flushing. Or washing dishes. Or clothes. Or showering. If we'd all been wearing diapers, like baby Jae, we wouldn't have had a problem.

We'd had a plumbing clog months ago, on step one of the move that took forever, and Mr. Plumber came out with his rotor-rooter thing and fixed us up. Gave us some tips on how to prevent problems and drove back to Dallas. When we'd only been in the house a few days this time, and the downstairs shower floor had a lovely coating of pooh that had exploded onto it (you're welcome for the lovely mental picture), we realized 'Houston, we have a problem.' I personally thought I had more problem than everyone else since cleaning the shower floor was my job. I think you have to be a mother, and have about 5,000 diapers under your belt to hold up to a job like that.

I phoned the home warranty people. The woman who took my call had a lovely voice and started out our conversation by asking, 'how are you this morning?' Everything in me wanted to say, 'well, actually pretty SH....Y' but unfortunately I'd made the stupid resolution back on January 1 not to cuss this year. That verse, 'Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths...' (Eph. 4:29) had been digging at me, and the nasty little habit I'd developed of not watching my language like I should.

I thought it but I didn't say it. I said, 'great, how are you?' I did wonder why she asked, since anyone calling the home warranty is NOT a happy camper and has a problem that is likely making them want to cuss and gnash teeth and such.

So they sent the plumber again - it only took THREE days - three days when we couldn't use our bathroom facilities, and we're out in the country, and don't know the neighbors well enough to ask to use the phone, let alone the potty. So after well-timed visits to Denny's and CVS and the grocery store, Mr. Plumber came out and rotor-rooted out the mess, I scrubbed the shower floor and burned my clothes (just kidding) and we thought we were good.

Two days later there was another lovely film on the shower floor. We got out the yellow pages, called a septic system person of random choosing, who gave us a quick lesson in how a septic system works, or doesn't. They told us to call the pooper pumper people. Within hours the pumper pulled up our driveway (don't you know the neighbors were standing inside their houses peering out of their mostly closed blinds, watching us and praying we didn't come knocking on their doors.) He proceeded to poke around our yard with a metal thing, dug up our yard, found the cleanout, and we all stood there looking down at gallons and gallons of grey horribleness. After he'd pumped (literally) 1000 gallons out, he shoved his BARE hand down our horribly nasty tank and found a plastic elbow broken off, telling us we did indeed have a problem. Mr. Pooper Pumper finished his job, my husband paid him and then he stuck out his hand toward my husband, to thank him for the business. I watched in pride and horror as my husband shook that man's hand, then the minute he drove off I suggested he either cut it off at the wrist or go into the shop and scrub it 1 or 99 times with something that burned, to be sure he'd killed the majority of the germs that were surely on him. I'm pretty sure God made Lava Soap for moments like this.

This is our lovely septic field and our friend Lester tearing out the redbud that caused all the problems. Septic systems do not love tree roots living overhead.

So we called our new friend, Lester, who we'd hired to pour some concrete. He can also tear things up and out. He came over with a big piece of equipment and ripped out what used to be a lovely redbud, planted right over our septic tank. In pulling out the tree we found two more cleanouts and another vital part had broken off and our raw sewage was seeping through the dirt under the surface, trickling into the tank, rather than flowing as it should.

The next day my dear hubby (who may be ready to go back to work rather than have all this fun retirement is offering him) proceeded to dig up what used to be a lovely 15 x 10 flowerbed. About halfway through, with sweat dripping off his nose, our son-in-law, Jeremy, who now deserves to have a statue erected in his honor, grabbed an axe and a shovel and began to dig. When they found the final, biggest of all, problem, a broken off white plastic pipe that was wobbling like it shouldn't, Jeremy pulled it out of the ground and what it was covered with was not for the faint of heart. As I stood there watching from a safe distance, (I gave birth three times - no way do I have to help with this job) Bless His Heart Jeremy laid down on that ground, pulled on my yellow plastic cleaning gloves and proceeded to muck it out and put it back together temporarily.

We've now spent almost $1000 to put our septic system back together. It's pumped, repaired, and running well. The repairmen assure us it's working well now. Still, after cleaning out that shower floor THREE times, we've come up with a system for using our facilities that we lovingly call 'The Texas Two-Step'. Do your business. Flush. Apply paper. Flush. Just get over the fact that anyone in the house, hearing the toilet flush twice, will know exactly what you've been up to. Much better than having one of us out in the yard digging up the evidence.

So right now I'm much more appreciative of our plumbing. I'm feeling thankful for plumbing that runs well, thankful for clean shower floors, thankful that somebody decided when they grew up they'd be a septic cleaning person, and thankful I only made the resolution not to SAY cuss words. If I'd resolved not to think them, I'd be in deep pooh myself.
We now have a nice bare area to plant with grass. Only grass. Grass roots make septic systems happy. We plan to put a glider right over it, so we can sit at night, over our septic tank, and enjoy the sunset. Classy, huh?

Life at the lake the past couple of weeks has been crazy. Lovely, peaceful at times, insane at times, exhausting, refreshing, and not a single moment has been dull. We had a driveway - very large driveway - poured last week. At one moment we had 13 men in our front yard and none of them were related to us. The driveway looks wonderful, but we were without phone or internet for four or five days because previously mentioned Lester accidentally cut the main phone line to our house, just a few days after the lovely pooh incident.

Right now we have a big black cable laying across the lawn. As long as no varmit chews it into in the middle of the night during the next week or so til they come out to do a more permanent repair, I'll be back in a few days with photos of our currently crazy life.


pendy said...

So glad you are having an exciting retirement! Ha! Having had the thrill of an exploding septic system myself.....all I can say is EWWWW. :)

Robin said...

Oh Bev, I am sitting here at work, at my desk, laughing, crying and sharing your story with my co-workers. You poor thing! But you have such a fun way with words and although I can't imagine all the septic fun you have been having - I am having a blast living vicariously through you!

Edith said...

Oh sorry you had to go through that. But thank you for the laughter...and sharing the word pictures. Looking forward to more.


Dianne said...

I believe this would be why we had a no paper flushing policy when we lived in the country! But the two-step system probably helps too. City people don't realize how nice they have it! Hope you're having fun in spite of it all. (You better make friends with the neighbors . . . soon!)

Becky said...

Oh my goodness you make me laugh. Deep doodoo indeedy.

Well, I just don't think there are any words. None.

Except ... oh, nevermind!!

Happy pooping!!

Theresa said...

I'm so sorry you had to live through this. I couldn't help giggling about your glider over the septic. There's an old Erma Bombeck book title "The Grass Is Always Greener Over The Septic Tank" that you would probably love to have.

Renna said...

Greeeen Acres is the place to be!

Yep, it sounds like your indoctrination into rural Texas was scripted by the writers of the old Green Acres show. Met Mr. Haney yet? Or Arnold, the pig? ;-Þ

Sir Nottaguy-Imadad said...

My wife, Theresa, told me that I had to read this post. I can relate. We had "issues" with our city sewer line. Anything in our yard is our problem. I rented a roto-rooter and spent several hours in less than 20 degree temperature cleaning out the line.

Glad to hear your repairs were "flushed with success".

Kelly said...

Oh my goodness! It is never dull, is it? I'm thinking you're right that your husand was missing career days when he was out there roto-rooting:-)

I am with you on your resolution not to cuss, although as the mother of two tweens, I can't promise my thoughts are as pure as they should be. Grrr! Is there anything that can cause you to lose your religion faster than a tween ??

Love this post, and am just loving hearing about your new life. I am so, so happy for you, sewer issues be darned:-)