Dealing With Our Shit
We’re #1 in the #2 Business.
This is the slogan of the local people who’ve helped us deal with our year-long plumbing saga recently. It’s on the business card of the guy who unabashedly handed it to me while standing in my driveway assessing our shitty situation. After handing me his card he put some rubber gloves on, got down in the hole where we’d dug out the “solids” opening to our septic tank, and began unscrewing the bolts on top.
These guys, they’re desensitized. I am curious and I’ve raised a small human. I consider myself to have a strong stomach because of this (after being shat on and catching vomit in my bare hands more than once, I felt very sure of myself) and so I, too, looked when the lid of the septic tank was pried open.
Jesus H. NO. God, we are animals.
What kind of shit we talk.
The tank was pumped and a new leach field installed, somewhere a little further from the huge, drought-thirsty pines and cedars. The backhoe guys dug up the water line to the cabin in the process and got debris in the line, which then made its way into our toilet tank, causing flotation, fill, and flush strength issues (damn straight I learned all about toilets — eventually, when we got everything else dialed in, we cracked the toilet tank and had to go dump-score another one and replace it all in its entirety. Twice.)
I don’t remember ever having this many toilet issues anywhere else I have ever lived, but what I do remember is that when I lived in wild New Mexico, I knew people who still had outhouses, and although digging a giant hole and eventually filling it in and then digging a brand new hole and moving the whole shack over it was a huge endeavor, it didn’t have to happen that frequently and honestly, it was a much simpler process than all this (plus, neighbors came to help, sort of like a barn-raising).
One must wonder why there aren’t easier, more ecologically-sound solutions in place than the septic system, which seems so archaic and troublesome, much like the institution of marriage. Regardless, I have made the choice to be here, to maybe choose something a little more difficult, and overall I feel happy about that and find it rewarding. The good things in life may or may not be free, but they rarely come without effort.
Yes folks, I have youtube-universitied. Both my wife and I have figured out how to install a toilet, how to replace the parts inside the tank, and how to detect a leak and figure out where it’s coming from. We have figured all this out the hard way, of course, by diagnosing an endless and ongoing but related list of problems but now that we’ve taken this ride, we’ll know how to deal with it should it ever arise again.
In fact, my wife and I have been dealing with something related to our cabin bathroom pretty much since the day we got married last year. We laugh at the metaphor of how this here is our married life right now, standing in a tiny space together dealing with our shit.
Can’t beat that for a good marriage.
Dori Mondon-Freeman currently lives in Mt. Shasta, California, with her wife, daughter, two old rescue dogs and a Maine Coon cat. She writes for a living. You can follow her on Twitter and Medium. Also, since she originally wrote and then republished this piece on Medium, she and her family have moved into a much larger, but similarly old, house. Now that they’ve dealt with that shit, they’re learning how to work on all kinds of new issues, some less shitty than others.
Originally published at abundantcontent.com on January 10, 2018.
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