Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Septic Follies

One Sunday long ago, our morning reverie was shattered by a frantic yell from Lovely Daughter.
Mom! There are turds in my shower!

Hubby and I thundered down the stairs and we all crowded into the small bathroom. Yes, those were turds sitting on the floor of her shower. We stared in wonder. For a fleeting moment, I wondered if maybe someone broke into the house and took a crap in there. But all became clear when Hubby flushed the toilet. We saw the sight no septic owner ever wants to see: toilet water backing up into the shower stall. The shower, apparently, was the lowest drain in our split-level house.

We had a potential septic failure on our hands. Which is not nearly as much fun as it sounds. And did I mention it was Sunday?

Don'tpanicdon'tpanicdon't panic... a new septic field costs what? $25K? Shit! Inspectors and permits and digging and... shit!! And I have to clean up that... shit!!!

While I ran in circles fearing the worst, Hubby called a septic guy and, shovel in hand and determined look on his face, headed out back to locate the septic tank lid. Which also is not nearly as much fun as it sounds.

The giant tank truck pulled up in short order. The patient, long-suffering tech snaked the monster hose around the house, taking care to avoid the series of pits now decorating the area. After some fussing and swearing, the lid was lifted and the full glory that is a failing septic tank was revealed.

Instead of the lovely "crust" that is supposed to form on top of the contents of a healthy septic tank, ours was a roiling, seething mass of putrescence. Horrified and fascinated, I couldn't look away. For bobbing gently on the surface of the turmoil were several sewer-gas inflated condoms, fully erect and proud, like sentries ready for action from whichever quarter it may come.

It was magnificent.

After a moment of silence, the tank was pumped. The verdict? Most likely damage from roots of the millions of giant freakin' cedars adorning the property. The tech slipped us the name of a guy who could make some repairs and do 'things' to the septic field to milk a few more years out of it. Legal? Well, just hope that none of the neighbors calls the county to check out the odd goings on.

Happy ending: all was resolved. The magic septic field man fixed us up, the neighbors didn't rat us out, and our septic tank was clean as a whistle. We cut down some of the trees out of spite.

The condoms were a bit puzzling, though. They weren't ours. We had a serious talk with (the teen-aged) Lovely Daughter, but she insisted that they weren't hers. I think we decided they probably belonged to a friend of hers with a... checkered past. Whew! Not my daughter! Security was tightened to prevent future incidents. Not my daughter, yeah, but still not in my house.

But the memory of those proud, glistening, erect warriors standing guard over their battlefield of filth will stay with me for a long, long time. Magnificent!


  1. Don'tpanicdon'tpanicdon't panic... a new septic field costs what? $25K? Shit! Inspectors and permits and digging and... shit!! And I have to clean up that... shit!!!

    Shit is correct in so many ways.

  2. If memory serves it was either New Years day or Super bowl Sunday, It was one of those days that you knew whatever it cost it was gonna cost more that day.
    I still wake up screaming from that nightmare but the floating rubbers was simply to much, Great memory.

    Urex aka Liz's Wasband

  3. Yeah! I think it was Super Bowl Sunday, now that you mention it. Good times, good times.....

  4. Liz, you violated the prime directive of septic tank ownership: if it must be opened, NEVER. EVER. LOOK. INSIDE. You will never erase that horrid image from your mind.

    Our previous house was on septic. We had the same problem with roots as you. The guy came, dug to the lid, opened it up. I was watching from the deck but could not see into the tank, thank god.

    "Is it awful?," I asked from my safe distance.

    Tank Man kinda chuckled. "They all have the same stuff in 'em, man." Then he asked, "Wanna have a look?"

    Um. Fuck no, thanks.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.