A Date That Will Live In Infamy

I’m sure you’ve heard that phrase before.

It was spoken by FDR about Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.

I always remember December 7, it was my grandmother’s birthday and I always thought how horrible that year must have been for her.

But, I digress.

December 7, 1941 was about the Japanese attacking the US at Pearl Harbor. After today, I firmly believe it was all about septic tanks.

Please, take no offense, this is tongue-in-cheek and yes, sarcasm. But also true.

Read on.

It started yesterday, Monday (of course) at 12:50pm. Ok, technically it started on Sunday night when the toilet wouldn’t flush, but I’ll let you guess the consequences of that.

So, yesterday, I called Roto Rooter, left a message. Waited an hour and called a local plumbing company. No answer. See a theme going here?

Finally, local plumbers call back. What’s the problem? Oh, I said, I think we need snaked. You have a snake don’t you? Of course, we have a snake. (as in, you idiot in order to be a plumber you HAVE to have a snake.) (please follow the bolded words, it will help in the long run) They asked various questions (no, we don’t have a child that would stuff a rubber duck in the toilet…yes I think it’s somewhere in the line) and said ok, we’ll be out late today.

Suh-Weet! Rejoice! Jack Daniels!

4:50pm. The local plumbing truck IS COMING DOWN THE ROAD! WOOT! the local plumbing truck IS DRIVING ON PAST! crap! (another of my favorite words lately) quick cell call, all is good. local plumbers arrive safely.

4:52pm. local plumbers enter home with their snake. Their 5 foot long, baby, wussy, can barely be called a snake, snake.

ah. well. I say. completely underwhelmed.

We’ll just check this out, fix it and be on our merry way.

But of course.

4:54pm. Ma’am, where’s your basement?

Downstairs. (I’ve always been helpful that way, and yes, did let him wander into the spare bedroom first before pointing him in the right direction)

4:55pm. Second plumber emerges from bathroom. You have bigger problems than my snake can handle. Where’s the basement?

All men descend into the basement and discuss manly things. All arrive upstairs, tracking mud and poop (please, I’m going to be using poop, shit and crap a lot in this post) across my ivory berber carpet.

“Where’s your septic tank?” (like this went so well with the where’s your basement routine)

I point out the front door to the yard. “There.”

They both look out at the horizon.

I bet, even those of you who DON’T have one, realize a septic tank is buried. UNDER THE GROUND.

I point down. “Four feet approximately.”

Their horror cannot be contained. They start walking simultaneously backward to their truck. “um….I suggest you call someone to dig up your septic tank. It would be cheaper.”

Not so quick to let them escape, as I’ve now been peeing in the woods for 24 hours straight in high winds and cold temps, I ask…”do you have a snake?”

“Nope, didn’t bring that.”

“No. Snake.”


I was pretty sure I mentioned snake in all previous conversations. “So you’re saying you didn’t bring a snake?”


“Don’t you think calling in someone with a backhoe to dig up our yard and pumping all this poop is going to cost more than a snaking?”

“That’s the best way to go.”

And they jumped in their truck and left.

Hubby and I were in our truck in less than 15 min., to rent a snake from Ace Hardware. $50 later, in possession of the snake, a quick stop at wal mart to use the “facilities” and we’re off.

Problem is, nothing to snake. No plug. No blockage. Crap.

This morning 8am. Cordell pumping. “Exactly what do you want ma’am.”

“My septic tank pumped.”

“Is the lid exposed?”

Helloooo…..”No, the lid is UNDERGROUND”

“You need to dig it out before we’ll come out.”

“You don’t have a backhoe?”


Having seen their ads in numerous phonebooks, newspapers etc. I know damn well they have backhoes.

“So you want ME to walk into that HOLE and dig out MUD to expose the LID so you can pump it.”


“That’ll take days.”

“Call me when you’re ready.”


Nine more phone calls, six more answering machines, three more requests for a backhoe later, and I’m in tears. Where does a woman come up with a backhoe to dig a trench, a tractor to life off a 3 foot in diameter cement lid, a guy to pump poop, the patiently waiting man with the tractor to drop the lid back into place, and the patiently waiting man with the backhoe to scoop all the dirt back in.

*as in, ain’t gonna happen*

Finally, good ol’ boy Kent calls. He says HE HAS HIS OWN BACKHOE.

*cue the hallelujah chorus*

Kent says, just dig out the hole, and I’ll pump it today.

Dig. Out. The. Hole.


granted, hubby is no Jack Lalane. No Arnold Schwarzenegger. He’s english.

I head off to work, confident that this is going to take days. weeks. get used to peeing in the woods.

hubby calls in the middle of lunch. He’s scooped FIVE count ’em FIVE shovelfuls and given up. He’s having a heart attack. He’s dying.

“Ok, well take a tums, and I’ll be home in a bit.”

Tums cures everything.

I come home. DH is in the house, no equipment on the front yard, but a message on the answering machine.

“Hi, this is Kent. I know you said don’t worry about it, but I’m coming up this afternoon with my backhoe and I’ll fix it today. It’s pert neer (swear to God that’s what he said) 1 o’clock and I’m coming in now, and I’m fixing your problem today.”

Well. You go Kent.

Kent showed up with his backhoe, tore apart the yard, and about 2:15pm, all noise stopped. “Wow,” I said. “He must be done.”

DH pipes up. “I bet he ran out of gas.”

We both laugh hysterically at this point, because – wouldn’t that just top things off?

We both run for the door, knowing he’s run out of gas.


Broken hydraulic hose. No more digging out with the backhoe, he’s doing it by hand.

What a man.

I love this guy.

At 4:15pm, we tell Kent we have to leave. Work. He says no prob, got any 2 by 4’s?

why yes. yes we do.

Laughing hysterically (still), we throw ourselves into the truck, dressed in our going-to-work-clothes and drive (cuz what the hell….tire tracks in the yard? no biggie!) to the hog shed at the top of the hill, load a ton of dirty 2 by 4’s and drive them back down.

because kent, wonderful beautiful kent, is DETERMINED to clean the septic tank tonight, but the backhoe is broke, so he can’t put the septic tank lid back ON.

Oh, did I mention that before we left home the toilet was burbling and actually bouncing up and down in it’s place. Chris said um…the toilet is making these odd blurping noises.

I peek into the bathroom. Toilet is dancing, blurping.

“I’m sure that’s normal.”

*insert more hysterical laughter*

So we head to work. Knowing darn well when we come home, the septic tank is going to be holding the body of Kent, innumerable cats, various raccoon, one humongous skunk and possibly the backhoe itself.

5 hours at work slide by at a snails pace. A snail trying to motate through poop.

We pull into the driveway at Mario Andretti speeds. New land record.

No backhoe in the yard.

No pickup in the backyard.

There’s a good chance the septic tank guy has lived through the procedure.

We creep into the house.

No septic tank smell.

I designate Chris to be the first to inaugurate (such as is) the bathroom.

It works.

I am no longer constipated, I no longer have to pee in 50mph wind gusts, I no longer have to read a newspaper with the paper fluttering in the breeze.

Thank God.

Thank Kent.

He’s coming back tomorrow to finish the job. I don’t care what he charges. Really.

But wait until I tell you about the rest of my day.



8 Responses to “A Date That Will Live In Infamy”

  • Jen:

    Whew! It wasn’t even my house, but I’m glad your ordeal is OVER! I was afraid you were going to say Kent came back with a porta-potty strapped to a flatbed truck…


  • That could still happen – successfully flushed the toilet last night at 1030pm! woot!

  • Linda Middlecamp:

    Kent is THE man, huh?
    Isn’t it funny when you actually get hooked up with the guy that can solve your problem when others have run away. Not only is he up to the challenge, he takes it on as a personal affront to his abilities as being the “Septic Tank Guy”. Great story, Carrie thanks for posting it!

  • Oh, he was so proud of his work. To him (ok, and to us) it was an EMERGENCY and he was GOING TO TAKE CARE OF IT.

    Almost like a hero on a white steed….lol…but a slightly skewed version of it.

    Although…come think of it, his truck was white.




  • Oh, Carrie! This was a good one.

    Perhaps you left out the part where you promised Kent carnal favors if he would only…ahem…roto your rooter?

    So glad you’re all fixed up – LOL.


  • Kelsey, I’d have promised ANYONE ANYTHING just to get a backhoe and a pumper out there! lol…having to “do your business” in the woods isn’t all fun and games!


  • Kent is THE man, huh?
    Isn’t it funny when you actually get hooked up with the guy that can solve your problem when others have run away. Not only is he up to the challenge, he takes it on as a personal affront to his abilities as being the “Septic Tank Guy”. Great story, Carrie thanks for posting it!

  • Kent is definitely The Man. I’ve put him on speed dial…lol….Thanks Emily!



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