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.


The Bug said...

Your life is just one household (or auto) adventure after the other - whew! But at least you had fabulous cakes to eat in the end :)

Mari said...

Oh man - I feel your pain. We had that happen with the washing machine in the basement, and it was a huge disaster. Water made it into the finished family room, and of course all the stuff we had in the storage room. I'm glad it's fixed and you could still have your party!

skoots1mom said... go thru so sorry to hear you had to get so worn out before your group arrived.
i'm very thankful no one fell thru the floor while on the toilet though.
God was watching out...

paper tubes said...
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Robin @ Be Still and Know said...

Oh my stars...that would have sent me over the edge! You are amazing in your ability to meet the unexpected challenges!



Anonymous said...

We had septic issues a couple of springs ago, and it was not pretty. Not pretty at all.

I like how you use industry-accepted plumbing terms like "connecter-thingy."

Lhoyt said...

I hope (and am assuming) that you have more space on your lot at the new home to keep all the septic system separate from the house. I read the other day that people in China get along on under ten gallons of water per person per day, while Americans use about 150. I would suppose the system in your house is sufficient for only half that much. I feel for you, but I also know you can remedy that in your new house, and that it is a wonderful blessing to have had this happen in a rental rather than in your own house. I wish you the best!

rita said...

¡QuĂ© desastre!
Pero que lindo grupo. Seguro que lo pasaron muy bien, ¿no?