NOVEMBER 25TH, SUNDAY 2007 “MY MOTHER AND THE SEPTIC TANK”

Hello my friends,
It’s a few weeks after the fire storms and my mother and I and her tenet Sharon The Masseuse are sitting on Mom’s new deck, on Mom’s new patio furniture at her new wrought iron table with the two massive umbrellas.

It is also several weeks before my sister Barbara, (who looks after Mom’s money,) will tell my mother that our sister Polly is wrong in telling her that she is a wealthy woman, that, in fact she is Not rich and that she has spent way too much on the new deck and repairs to the big white house where Sharon lives. Barbara will tell Mom that her account is shockingly small and almost over-drawn.

This will cause my mother to fire the house keeper that we have worked so hard to find for her and will cause her to stop buying ice cream, beer and other food necessities. Mother will also lapse into a black state of constant worry about being impoverished.

Polly will remind all of us ‘kids’ that Mom is indeed land rich; that her property is worth millions and we can keep borrowing money against it. Since Mother plans to live to be 102 we feel that with all this borrowing there won’t be any inheritance left for us to get and that is OK.

“Live it up, Mom,” we tell her. “We’re glad you don’t have to put our inheritance towards an old folk’s home or nursing care. Drink lots of beer and eat lots of ice cream and chocolate. And, for gosh sakes, live comfortably!”

I’m thinking about all this as we sit on the fancy, solid new deck that’s just been built, (pardon the following words,) off her truly crappy, rusty rotten mobile home.

She likes the mobile home and she doesn’t want to live, anymore, in the 100 year old, two-story, cold and dark white farm house that she rents to Sharon and many of Sharon’s kids and grand-kids. Mom has had enough of that old, historic home and needs the rent from it, to be able to keep the 13 acres she lives on.

So, it is now several weeks before Mom’s mental ‘financial collapse’ and she is sitting on the patio with Sharon and me, loving the eight new beige chairs with the puffy cushions, the bright orange umbrellas and all the new potted plants on the new deck with the thick, strong stairs and the white, wooden railing.

It’s a clear, vast blue-skied late afternoon and we’re sharing a bottle of red wine and it’s 14.5% alcohol. What could could be finer?

We lift our glasses and I say, “Here’s to beauty, Mom. To your beautiful outdoor Party Place.”

We each take a big sip of wine and we hear, “So, where’s the septic tank?”

What?

There he is, leaning on the deck rail, The Plumber, a greasy-haired man in his 50’s, part of what, since I have had dealings with them, I privately call The Dumb and Dumber Team.

I look at Sharon and my mother with a question on my face.

Sharon says, “Oh! Here you are. Did the rental manager call you? I told her my septic tank is full and poop is in my bathtub and every-time someone uses the toilet, upstairs or down, we get more poop in the bathtub!”

“We don’t pump out septic tanks,” The Plumber says.

“Well, you’re a plumber, why don’t you pump out septic tanks!” Sharon shouts. “I told that woman to send someone to pump out the tank. I know what’s wrong with it. It’s full!”

Sharon is clearly irritable and tired of hosting growing piles of poop in her bathtub.

“We’ll take a look,” says The Plumber.

My mother points out where the underground tank is, about 12 feet from where we sit.

Great. This will be fun..

The Plumber scratches his head.

His partner, the Younger Plumber, ambles up.

“We don’t pump septic tanks,” he says.

We then proceed to watch a version of the 3 Stooges, (minus a stooge,) at work.

As we drink our wine, we enjoy the view.

The Two Plumbers kick the dirt where they think the underground tank may be.
They whack at the ground with a pick axe.
They use a shovel.
One gets whacked in the leg with the shovel.
They bark at each other and mumble.
Up comes the lid off the tank along with a monstrous smell.

“Here it is,” Younger Plumber says. “It’s full. It’s full to the top.”

Yep, I guess we knew that.

Sharon shakes her head and her eyes roll around.

The mess reeks but we’re not going inside. We are determined to enjoy the new deck, the new furniture, the wine and each other’s company.

The Two Plumbers shovel and hack around in the deep tank.

“You need to have this pumped,” says The Plumber.

We know that.

“But, we don’t pump septic tanks,” he reminds us.

The Two Plumbers look at each other and shrug their shoulders.

(As historical background, these are the Two Plumbers who came to my house several years ago to put in a garbage disposal and fix some pipes in my garden.

They couldn’t agree on how to put the disposal in and I had to get down on the floor with them and partially under the sink, to confer.
It took them two hours to get the disposal hooked up and working without spitting water on my wood floors.

They were tired, I guess, and agreed that they would come back another day and look at the garden pipes. They never came and they never billed me, either.)

“Just send them away,” I now whisper to Sharon.
“They don’t know what they’re doing and anyway, they don’t pump septic tanks.”

The Two Plumbers are now on their stomachs, hanging over the pit in the ground, staring into it’s depths, appearing to be inhaling the contents.

The Older Plumber stands up and ambles over to us.

“We don’t pump tanks,” he says.

“Then go home,” Sharon says. “I don’t know why you’re doing all this since you don’t pump tanks.”

“You need to get this tank pumped,” The Older Plumber says sagely.

“Oh for God’s sake!” Sharon whispers. “I’m going to call Sludge Busters, they pump tanks!”

“Good idea,” agrees Younger Plumber, who has just idled over to us.
“You really need to get this pumped.”

Dumb and Dumber finally leave and later, Mom, Sharon and I finish up our day, while drinking wine and smartly saluting the two enormous men who arrive as The Sludge Busters. They roar into yard, set up a massive hose…and Pump The Septic Tank!!!

We had a great afternoon.


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