Friday, April 27, 2012

The Saga of the Septic System

If you have a weak stomach, stop reading RIGHT NOW. You've been warned.

So yesterday I had a plan. It was a simple plan. I made and sent lunch with the guys in the morning, so I'd have a somewhat "free" day (aside from doing four loads of laundry and preparing supper) to work on a special dessert because we were having friends over after supper, and one of them had a birthday on Monday so I wanted to make a little gift.

Let's just say nothing went according to plan.

I started the laundry, cleaned up breakfast dishes and was doing as much preliminary prep work as possible on supper... when I happened to look down and see I was standing in water! What?!?! I turned and saw a stream of water coming from the hall where the bathroom is located.

It took half an hour to mop up about three gallons of water :(  I called Ivan, thinking we had a busted pipe in the toilet*. He said he'd get the guys all lined up with plenty to keep them busy, and then he'd come home to fix it.

Well, it took him an hour to get home and in that time there were two more gushers! Second time around, I wised up and called Ivan to ask where I could find the long-handled squeegy. I squeegied as much as I could out the back door, and then mopped up the remainder.

Ivan arrived and discovered it was not a busted pipe after all; we had a full septic once again :(  Family and friends who have been reading this blog for a while might remember we had a similar problem back in October of 2010 when we had a group of Bible Institute students here for a few days. It would seem the system just cannot handle heavy use of the bathroom and laundry facilities. *sigh*

Oh, and while we were in the U.S., the folks staying in our house also had to have the septic cleaned out, just last October. Kinda ridiculous, don't you think?

And the reason there were multiple gushers was due to the washing machine. Since I was operating on the assumption it was a busted pipe, I didn't think to stop doing laundry :/

Water flowed from the bath down the hall one way into the kitchen, and the other way into the living room. Plus, some of what came into the kitchen ran under another door leading to the living room (that we keep blocked off with the fridge on the kitchen side and bookshelves on the living room side). We had to pull the fridge out...
...and the bookshelves too, to mop up the water and let things dry out.
living room

And the really fun part, as some of you may remember, is that our dining room used to be the patio -- and that's where the septic is accessed!
The guys first pulled out big clumps of grease (and we don't even cook with much oil at all, and I wipe pans out with paper towels before washing them when we do use oil, so not sure where that came from)...
...and then vacuumed out the tank. Peeee-ewwww!

Despite temps in the 50s, you can bet we had doors and windows open during the procedure!

Needless to say, no special dessert or gift got made. It was 5:30 p.m. by the time I had put my house back together, and mopped one final time; to clean up the mess and not just sop up overflow. Tired doesn't even begin to describe how I felt.

But company was still coming! So I rushed out to our favorite bakery and picked up a couple desserts. I think the bakery boxes are so pretty!
And that's before they're even open :)  Even better, look what's inside!
YUM! Don't know what the one on the left is called but it had a brownie "crust" and a lovely, light orange mousse on top. On the right was a triple chocolate cake: chocolate layer cake with a fudge-like frosting in the middle and a ganache on top. Both were soooooo good!

And after all, it's about the fellowship, not the food!

*The reason we thought it was a busted pipe is because the last few days the toilet has been loose, and we were just trying to be careful until Ivan had time to fix it. It was a pretty big project because it turned out whoever installed the toilet simply set it on a big old hole! Last evening, before the guests arrived, Ivan and one of the guys filled the hole with cement so there was something solid to set the commode on. It's a wonder it never fell through the floor! Once the cement sets up, they'll be able to securely attach the toilet and we'll all breathe a sigh of relief. Ivan also had to replace some pipes and connecter thingies.

I think we're good to go in the plumbing department!
For a while any way.

Friday, April 20, 2012


Tonight at midnight a plane will land in Cordoba, and off will step four amazing men who are coming to our aid! These four guys from our home church have paid their own way to come and help us with our house. In particular, putting up the WALLS.

As we anticipate their arrival, we're busy handling those last minute details. Ivan's working on the casita right now, ensuring that there will be a functioning bathroom for the crew to use while working on the house. I just finished making up the last bed, minus pillow cases which are drying on the line. There's a lot of cooking and baking going on too, in an effort to get a head start on the weekend.

To say we're excited -- and grateful! -- would be an understatement.

The floor was poured yesterday, and Ivan spent the night at the casita just to make sure nobody could mar the surface before it had a chance to fully set up. Without a fence on the property, we were concerned it would be too tempting to kids or teens who might want to record their names (or something worse) in the cement. This is a pretty hefty investment for us and we just felt like that was the smart thing to do. Thankfully it was a quiet night, and other than a stray dog or two, Ivan didn't have to chase anyone off.

We are thrilled with what a great job the crew did on the floor! It's sooooo smooth and level.

Monday the man who owns the company making our wall panels assured Ivan they were starting immediately and would have the first batch ready by the end of the week. So we'll have at least some panels for the guys to start with on Monday. I believe they're doing the garage walls first.

Lots going on this week, as you might imagine, and not enough time to write about it all now. But did want to get a quick post up to share the latest news. ANTICIPATION!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Monday Meanderings

It's been said that if a marriage can survive building a house, it can survive anything. Hmmmm.

So far no major issues, but we've definitely had our moments of miscommunication! It doesn't help that I'm really, REALLY good at being clear as mud.

I'm also really good at running ahead, which confuses Ivan to no end at times. I'll be talking about something that's months down the road and he's focused on what is happening this week.

But overall we make a very good team, and it feels GREAT to be working together on a home of our very own.


We've been enjoying fruit smoothies almost daily. Orange juice, peach juice, a banana, plain yogurt and "ice" cubes made out of more fruit juice. I just finished the one for today. YUM!


As I mention on my P365 blog, we're having some car issues. Some are easy and (relatively) inexpensive fixes. The head gasket is another story. But Ivan was encouraged when he went to buy parts the other day and the store owner told him they hate Ford Galaxies because the engines never break! So far that's been true for us. We came close with the timing belt, but God protected us (and the car) from serious damage. Head gasket, shmead gasket... not going to spend too much time thinking about it. But we do need to get out to Sta. Rosa soon so our favorite mechanic can do his magic.


I just had to stop and clean my glasses. Does anyone else let theirs go until you can barely see two feet in front of you?


Tomorrow we'll be visiting missionary friends who live a few hours north of us. Looking forward to that! Also looking forward to meeting a professor from Hillsdale College on Wednesday. He's visiting a university in Cordoba where students from all over the world come to study for a semester. Over the years we've been able to provide a "home away from home" for some of the students, since we're close enough for them to hop on the bus and come out for a day or two. They always seem to appreciate American-style food :)  Our primary connection has been our home church. Quite a few Hillsdale students attend Countryside Bible Church while they're at college, since it's only about 10 miles from the school.


In two weeks we'll have four men from Countryside here to help put up walls! We are pretty excited about that :) They'll also be bringing a few suitcases full of goodies for us. If you remember, I pre-packed a few bunch ton of them before we returned to Argentina last November. I plan on asking anyone coming in the next year to please, pretty-please-with-sugar-on-top, bring one of the suitcases with them. Hopefully by the end of the year, we'll have them all in hand. They're filled with mostly household items (dishes, pots and pans, a few rugs, towels...) but also winter clothes and fabric. Of course.

In May a group of students from another college will be visiting Argentina and they'll bring a few more of the suitcases.

Hopefully followed by more helpers on the house project from other supporting churches. No for sures yet, but we have several possibilities on the horizon. We're confident God will send exactly who we need, at exactly the right time! I'm especially praying for some finish carpenters in the fall, who can help us build kitchen cabinets... including a built-in china cabinet in the dining room. With a fairly small space, we want to make the most out of what we have.


Saturday we went to Cordoba for just a few hours. We had a very specific goal: gifts for those who are coming to help. And the reason we went Saturday is that it was the last day of the big artisan fair. We picked up one gift and ordered the others. 

Normally I could spend hours wandering the aisles and looking at the wonderful arts and crafts but a migraine ensured that we were in and out of there in no time flat. I think I shocked Ivan :)


I've been battling migraines for a week. I've had problems with them off and on for years, but it is unusual to have them day after day like this. I'm ready to be over them!


My computer has been "in the shop" for ten days now. I miss it. Ivan's really good about sharing his, but we typically have the same time available to be online. He often cedes the computer to me, and uses the iPhone that our son gave him to check e-mails and surf the web. But it makes me feel guilty to hog it, so I'm trying to not be so greedy.


Do you ever stop and wonder what you'll think in ten years about what you post on your blog? I started the blog for one reason, have continued it for multiple ones, but mainly it has served as a journal of sorts. I'm careful about what I write concerning ministry things because of the whole privacy issue, but I do want the blog to accurately reflect our every day lives. I still wonder what I'll think though...


I also wonder how many of my blog friends I'll get to meet in person. I'm hoping to connect with more of you next furlough!

Which by the way, will be next summer. We're going to start going on furlough every two years, for a shorter amount of time. Six months was TOO long to be on furlough, and three years is TOO long between visits to friends and family. So we're going to do four months every two years.


I have deleted at least a dozen "free" books from my Kindle recently. Talk about dreck! Trying to read some of it hurt my eyeballs.

Hey!, maybe that's what brought on this round of migraines.


I started reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan over the weekend, and am enjoying that. But I'm only half a chapter into it. The other day they had three of his books for free via the Kindle, and I took advantage of it. Has anyone read Crazy Love? What were your thoughts? This is the first "interactive" book I've read that directs you to online videos and other resources. Which would be a lot cooler if our internet worked at a decent speed. It took me fifteen minutes to get through a three-minute video. I haven't tried to watch the fifteen minute video yet since I'm guessing I'll need a really BIG block of time for that.

I'm also reading In The Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming, which was another free-for-a-limited-time offer.

I like to have several books going simultaneously, so I can read what I'm in the mood for. Besides Crazy Love and In The Bleak Midwinter, I'm also slowly working my way through Climbing the Mango Tree, a memoir of growing up in India. I really like this book but the food descriptions have me running to the kitchen, meaning I have to read it sparingly.

So I have a devotional-type book, a mystery, and a memoir "on my nightstand". What are you reading? I'm always on the lookout for good books. Tell me your favorites!