Once again, I awoke to the lilting sounds of our septic alarm. Our sewage system has been giving us fits since the first winter we moved in. We do not live in an area where we receive city water or sewer OR CABLE TV, so we make due with well water, a septic tank, and a wobbly antenna attached to the roof.
The problem with our finicky septic system may or may not have something to do with 6 well-fed members of my family flushing toilets 24/7. At any moment of any hour of any day, someone is using the bathroom. I will refrain from pointing fingers at the many house guests with irritable bowel syndrome who have stayed with us on a regular basis over the years. I refuse to discuss the myriad objects that my twin daughters have tried and/or succeeding in flushing through the sewer line. My point is: the septic system feels abused.
It punishes us each winter. The spiteful stinking cavern of our tank waits until two feet of snow covers the ground and the temperature drops to a balmy 8°, then stops working. And when the septic system isn't working, I can't work. The clothes go unwashed, the dishes go unwashed, my hair goes unwashed. We are forced to severely limit our use of water, until we can get the septic pump operating again.
Until today, my husband has always been able to figure out the problem and set it right. He's fixed the wiring, replaced the switch, replaced the outlet, replaced the pump . . . I don't know what all he's been required to do, and I don't ask. Our relationship is safer with my remaining unaware of where he's had to crawl and what horrible sights he's had to see. He burns his work clothes in the woodstove when he's done and takes a scalding shower, while I run giddily about the house, starting the washing machine and running the dishwasher and flushing toilets.
This morning, my husband's attempts to coax the septic pump back into operation were fruitless. Nothing he tried worked. We finally had to break down and call a specialist to come over and help us figure out what's wrong this time. I'm praying it won't involve digging up frozen ground, because then we're looking at some major expense. A working toilet may be the only gift my kids will receive this Christmas.
Dinner last night: pot roast, veggies
Exactly two years ago: