We live in a house that predates indoor plumbing. So when septic systems were invented, I am pretty sure our house had the honour of getting the prototype installed. It is old. It is cantankerous. In fact, the word can-tank-erous was probably invented right here on our premises.
Every couple of years, we need to get our septic tank pumped out. We know it’s getting to be that time again when the downstairs toilet gurgles every time someone flushes the upstairs toilet or has a shower. We know it’s getting to be more of an emergency when the downstairs toilet erupts every time someone flushes the upstairs toilet or has a shower. (Oh, for the love of Vesuvius – LEAVE THE LID DOWN, PEOPLE!) And of course we always wait until it’s an emergency. Hey, why pay $250 now when you can maybe put it off another week or two?
Getting our tank pumped means that we have to uncover the lid. The lid is a slab of concrete approximately 3’ x 5’. It is buried 2’ under our yard. That’s always a fun job. Digging…yay.
Last week presented us with our biennial septic emergency. So we made the appointment for our regular poo-guy to come for a visit. We dug the hole the night before his arrival. The next afternoon, poo-guy arrived and didn’t like how we’d dug the hole. In previous years, he would pry the concrete slab up a bit, wedge a rock or brick under it to hold it open, and stick the hose down into the tank. This time, however, he thought we should dig the hole double-width so he could instead slide the slab over. He was afraid he would get splashed if he tried to pry up the lid and dropped it.
I told him to just not drop it.
He thought I was trying to be funny. (Oh my little pony, you’ll know when I’m being funny.) He was not amused. I opted not to ask him if his hip-waders were simply a fashion statement. He told me to tell Pat to dig the hole twice as large and he’d come back tomorrow. It was not an overly pleasant conversation and I was glad to see him go. I mean, leave. I shouldn’t say go in this context.
If you’ve met me before, you would know that as soon as poo-guy left, I grabbed the shovel and dug the stinking hole.
The next day, I had non-toilet-related things to do and non-toilet-related places to go. But alas, I had to stick around and wait for poo-guy to return. By two in the afternoon, he still had not arrived, so I had Pat give him a call (as he had been the point of contact for booking the appointment in the first place). On the phone, poo-guy grilled Pat about whether or not the hole had been dug to his specifications, to which Pat replied, “I don’t know. I didn’t even look at it. Anita’s a smart girl; I’m pretty sure she’s capable of following your instructions.”
Again, poo-guy was not amused. But he did agree to come back to the house.
And what to his wondering eyes should appear, but a large hole dug exactly as stipulated! Imagine! Well, now he knew that I had dug it and he decided to launch into a little speech about my wussy husband making me do the dirty work.
And that’s when the poop would’ve hit the fan – except that instead of getting angry, I found myself feeling incredibly sorry for this miserable poo-guy. (Also, there was no fan.) I tactfully explained that I was home all day yesterday and my husband was at work, so I just dug the hole. I am capable.
“Why-y-y-y am I not surprised?” was his acidic, sarcastic response.
That wretched little poo-guy. He must hate his job so much!
I desperately wanted to tell him to just suck it up. No, that wouldn’t be right. So then I wanted to tell him to get the crap outta here. Again – literally, yes, but it would still come across as abrasive. How about this: a crappy job is better than no job.
I couldn’t tell him that. (He was not finished abrading me for my feminist tyranny.) So I’ll tell it to you. You might be in a job that really stinks. You may feel like your life is going down the toilet. Or maybe your home erupts in a crappy mess way too often. But there is still so much to be thankful for. Stop and smell the rose-scented disinfectant once in a while.
While we’re on the topic… In case you’ve lived most of your life in blissful naïveté and don’t know what all the cool acronyms stand for, allow me to inform you that, contrary to what my gentle husband once told me, SOL does not actually mean, “Sorry, Out of Luck”. So you shouldn’t use that in your missions committee meeting.