Sunday, January 4, 2015

Guest Blogger 1/4/2015


Part I:

Wednesday Night

I was sleeping so beautifully.

It'd been a nice evening. One of my friends came over, bringing dinner for us from Boston Market, and then we watched a movie. After she left, I did my evening tasks and went to bed. And I was dreaming of the Bahamas, sultry air and chilled drinks and the waves lapping on the shore...

Wait. Those waves are here.

I awoke with a start to the soft, intermittent sound of water. Tink. Trrtlrrr. Tink.

I stretched and got up, looking at the clock to see that it was 12:24 in the morning. Expecting to find the dog into something wet, or that the cat had managed to turn on a faucet, I followed the sounds into the master bath.

And stepped into a lake.

The master bath floor was awash; the water sounds emanated from the lip of the floor vent in the master bedroom, just outside the bathroom door, and the shower had a merry mostly-silent waterfall cascading into Lake Master Bath. As I stood there, in shocking wet feet, I realized the water level was rising.

Aaaah! The water poltergeist was at it again! I cursed H-2-Uh-Oh and got a bucket and a beach towel. That didn't soak up everything on the floor (but it did stop the water from getting into the bedroom) and I quickly found I hadn't the strength to wring it out, either. So I got another, smaller towel.

That one, too, was unwieldy wet, so I went looking for a hand towel. And as I searched for one, I thought about Physics. A stable body of water cannot overflow unless it has more water coming in. The river doesn't flood unless there's a nasty local storm, or too much runoff from upstream.

Our septic tank has been in trouble for about a month, since we discovered one of the covers had fallen in. The tank is apparently the original one that came with the house and is made of wood. It's beginning to crumble. We had a septic place out and they will replace it - when the ground dries out enough to support one of their trucks. Since we've had so much rain since then, there's been no chance to do that. Today (er, yesterday) was the third sunny day in a row and that's been a long stretch compared to what we've had. The ground is still not dry enough.

But even so, unless more water was coming in, the tank shouldn't be backing up. And the water in the master bath didn't smell bad, either.

I looked outside through the master bedroom window. No, it wasn't raining.

I followed the hidden-underground pipe trail. The bathtub in the hall bath had standing water in it, about six inches deep. I set the stopper to closed. The sink was fine. The kitchen sink was fine, too.

Aha! The garage sink was about half full. This one holds a *lot* of water. The water softener must have cycled, sending its weekly overflow into that garage sink. (I certainly wasn't doing laundry or anything in my sleep! Who does laundry while they're in the Bahamas?)

If I didn't empty the garage sink, the water would simply find its way out onto the bathroom floor. I got my bucket and a coffee can and started bailing. One full bucket, and I paused. Today (er, yesterday) I'd received what I think is a junk email saying someone close to me has taken out a contract for my death (one of you, perhaps?). It was to my email address, but didn't have my name, just "What Ever You Call YourSelf" so I think it's junk. Maybe. Sort of. But I kept it in case I should suddenly die and the Feds need a clue. The note said not to come outside after 7pm.

And here I was, way after 7pm, standing in my robe and bare feet in the garage with a full bucket of water and nowhere to dump it except outside. A death threat, and a flooded bathroom. Coincidence?

I stood there a moment, weighing options (not many) and beliefs (was it junk?) and decided to do what I must.

I opened the door and invited the dog to step outside.

He refused to go.

I pushed the dog outside.

Nothing happened to Bounty, so I stuck my head out and peeked around. No black-clad assassins waited for me. So I gathered my courage and stepped out, then dumped the bucket and went back for another.

Two full buckets. Then three, and a fourth. The water in the garage sink went down, and down and down. Finally I was getting only half a coffee can per dip and I expected to start scraping the bottom of the sink soon.

But it didn't happen.

One half coffee can full at a time, I filled the bucket a fifth time. And then a sixth. I began to wonder if I was in a bad horror movie, or a Candid Camera episode. A seventh bucket. The water level in the garage sink was NOT going down.

I took the seventh bucket full outside and dumped it. Then I studied the garage sink. The water was bubbling back in so fast I could see the current at the drain!

So I came in to check the house. The bathtub looked unchanged, which was good because I'd stopped it. But the shower! The shower level had dropped about two inches and was no longer coming over the edge. Apparently I had stabilized the water level, and our house isn't as sloped as I'd thought.

I figured I'd finish the task in the morning, then after the sun was up I'd investigate whether my septic is finally full (after that partial dirt/wood collapse) or if the pipe is clogged. I got a glass of water (why not?) and I went back to bed to try to return to the Bahamas. But I couldn't sleep; this Drivel was running around in my head. So here I am, writing to you what happened. Now I'm off to bed once more and I'll finish my tale for you tomorrow (er, today).

Part II:

Thursday Morning

It's been over twelve hours since I stumbled out of the Bahamas and into Lake Master Bath. The septic tank is not full, but a lot of muddy muck is visible, so I think the entry to it is plugged. I've called the septic company and they'll be out to look at it (and probably snake it clear for now, since they still can't get a truck in to replace the tank) sometime today. I've got a call in to our water softener folk, too, so they can tell me how to turn off the cycling in
case it's a nightly thing (that would be bad).

So for now, it's handled. And this Drivel wouldn't leave me alone until I finished it, so now it's done and I can go back to my business PC and get some work done.

Anybody want a poltergeist?

Copyright 2014 Michelle Hakala


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