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This Blog Is About What?

Dull is relative.

Me, I kind of like dull.

I have this theory.

If I never call a repairman to come look at something, I will never know how broken it is and the checkbook will stay intact. Like, this is not the time I want to be raiding my savings. And, had I known about THESE issues, I never would have done the wood floors. (But I really like the wood floors.)

The heat pump as a back up heating system now that the nights are nippy is difficult to ignore. Right now, the jury is out on how much that will cost us. We're starting with "clean the coils" which isn't particularly difficult, but involves freon or refrigerant and capping and removal, and so we will leave that to the folks trained in it. Whether that will fix any problems is Not Known at this point in time, but it's a lot of money and we won't know if we have to replace anything until we do it.

It's a good idea to pump a septic tank once in a while. Especially if you're fond of the 2-ply stuff and have one or more children. When you do, you don't really want to learn that your tank lid is 3 feet below ground level. And you don't really want to hear that current county code requires a riser for that. But at least you have a guy that's really good at finding it. True, you had a map given to you by the crazed groundwater engineer that used to own the house. But still. The septic guy's the one who interpreted it correctly when The Dude hadn't and stuck the probe in and found the tank all the way down there. And then said he'd be back in 2 days with his Kubota.

But there are things you don't want to hear your septic guy say.


"Uh-oh? What's 'uh-oh' mean?"

So he digs this really cool hole with his Kubota, calls me out of the house and then puts a chain around the bucket (which it says on the side of the machine you're never supposed to do) and pulls the lid so I can see what it looks like inside. Because he still has to go get the truck that does the actual pumping, so this is just supposed to be for show and tell. Which I like. I really do. I get into poop and messy dirt and stuff and it looks like we just dug up a sarcophagus.


Like, what 'uh-oh'?

Like, the level is not where it's supposed to be.

Ok, I'm staring into what looks like an empty tank that is all dried up. As if no water has seen the inside of this thing in a long time and there are streaks of mud on the bottom. Later I learned what I was looking at was a lot of 2-ply on top of, well, what went through the system. I am sooooo sorry I like the 2-ply stuff. Sorry Mother Earth. I'll learn to like the stuff that actually breaks down. I promise. Because this just isn't right. It's not exactly breaking down very easily and I'm a person that likes to treat the earth gently.

He explains the level is a few feet lower than it should be. He demonstrates with his shovel.

Which means there's a leak.


So now I'm waiting for another expert to come and tell me what he proposes should be done. In the meantime, here are some pretty pictures of the hole because The Dude is in Florida and wants to see them. And the lid is back in place. When they lift it tomorrow, I'll take a photo, I promise.

Maralton came out and held her nose, but there's no smell at that distance.

In the first place, the trees are a bit close to the tank. In the second place, these trees were full and green when we bought the house. Evergreens (these were hemlocks) do not like being constantly wet. So if I could find a photo where they started to look very ill, I would have a good idea of when the leak began. I think it was about 4 years ago. Two are now thoroughly dead.

Here's the lid and the grave-like hole. So cool and so deadly to the checkbook.

Now when a guy leaves a map that says 3 at an angle and 6 straight ahead from the outermost of the three trees, you're not thinking it's this close. You're really not. What were they thinking, whether it was one or two owners ago, when they planted three trees that would get huge almost on top of the septic tank??? (Here you go, Dude. It's this close to the tree. Really.)

The thing is, the previous owner was Chief Muckety-Muck of Groundwater. He cared deeply about groundwater. There is no way he would have pumped his tank and then closed it up again if the guy told him he had a leak. He just couldn't, even if he was about to sell the house to some poor couple from the suburbs. So my theory is that the leak was so small that the less competent poop sucker didn't realize it was there. Or didn't say it was there. Or it wasn't there at all 7 or so years ago.

But I still think I should stop calling repair and maintenance people.

And now because I can't leave everyone in a poop, here are photos of the rooms with furniture back in them and far less clutter...

Dining room shot into the living room with its windows and woodstove...

with the doors closed to show Miss E's color choice (6 coats of paint with G Dude muttering about it)

Other direction, back into the sitting room, we're still considering all the wall hangings.

Sitting room towards fireplace, complete with child

Back towards the dining room and kitchen

The family really likes the lack of clutter. But since we're all clutter-attractors, it's going to be a battle to keep going with our de-clutter initiative.



( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 9th, 2008 12:59 am (UTC)
The de-cluttering is hard. The tv room is still full of things that were moved out of the other rooms. The bookshelves have stuff as well as books on them. And we don't really need all the books we have.

The living room is nicely picked up, but cluttered still with furniture. You can't quite see that in the photo. And some boxes are still in the corners from my mother's place. With all her wool and looms and such.

The heater makes me nervous because the Dude has always wanted to do a geothermal system which will be very expensive. As long as the heat pump still works, it's not time to do it. But it's 8 years old now and we didn't change the filter regularly. Still, I'm crossing my fingers that cleaning and charging the coolant will have it working again. It was working a few months ago when we were cooling the house. It just doesn't want to go in reverse.

And the septic is just more and more exciting. The guy feels sorry, it's expensive, but this is one of those "it is what it is" situations. You have to do your best to get people you can trust to tell you what you need vs. what is nice vs. what you don't need at all. I'm relying on my good vibe about the poop guy for the septic expert I meet tomorrow. Who, after all, is my age. And Hawaiian, of all things. But may be a misogynist, based on the vague warnings the poop guy is giving me. I can deal with that. Better a misogynist than a crook.
Oct. 9th, 2008 12:42 am (UTC)
If I wuz you, I would have them raise the lid to the legal height for now (it is done with bricks or cider blocks) and let it go a year unless they say it is about to cave in. Decide where you want it during that time. You know, some place without trees.
Oct. 9th, 2008 12:52 am (UTC)
This thing is leaking in a serious way. Trees will come out from this location, regardless, at least two of them. New tank will go right next to old tank, if that's what's called for. Right now we need to know how many distribution boxes I have.

The reason to raise the lid is for convenience and sale of the property. No point in raising this lid anymore. It's a goner, I suspect. But the expert has already told the septic guy that he may not recommend replacing the cast iron pipes with pvc back into the house.

I'm really looking forward to the discussion tomorrow. It's not about to cave in. It's just not going out to the dranefield where it belongs. Heck, I got well water around here too. I'd rather the stuff went the other way out to the dranefield further away from the well. Right now, nothing is going out to the dranefield. It's all draining into the ground near the house. Too near.

There aren't any trees close by the tank except RIGHT where they didn't belong. Even if evergreens do have shallow root systems. I can't wait to find out if that's what broke through the walls.

Don't like the money going out the door, but it's fascinating stuff, this poop and how it's handled.

Oct. 9th, 2008 02:50 am (UTC)
The house, as others have said, does look majestically serene, like a writer's house. Like the kind of place they build in movies to represent where the well-t-do writer who's made his/her fortune lives, out in the countryside now that he/she's so incredibly successful. You will just have to deal with that angst. Those of us in cities who dream of such houses will have to make do with the cheap scotch...

Oct. 9th, 2008 10:39 am (UTC)
Four rooms out of many more. My office is a disaster still. But that will meet its destiny yet. We persevere here. The key is to have shown ourselves what it could be like, living here in less clutter. And then to continue the fight.

Is it better than your space? I don't know. I haven't seen the winterized porch area photos yet. Guess we need to do another "where we write" series in the blogs.

Oct. 9th, 2008 10:54 am (UTC)
And it's more than a "writer's house." It's also the house a Weatherdude can come home to after a long commute and feel the stress melt off of him as soon as he walks in the door. For some people clutter and chaos de-stresses. I don't think it does for us.

But it's cool to have the changes appreciated...
Oct. 9th, 2008 06:00 am (UTC)
Oh no. It's times like this I am genuinely glad that we rent! Poor you--and poor trees!

But--the house looks just fabulous. The wood floors are beautiful, and there's a feeling of continuity from room to room. And the fireplace!

On the clutter issue--I feel like I'm proselytizing a religion here, and honestly I'm not, but have you ever been to the flylady.net website? When we were living in the tiny house with little furniture and 3 kids, a friend referred me to this site and I picked up a lot of good tips on cleaning and decluttering that I've been able to integrate into my chaotic personality. It is a bit of a Middle-American cult, but if you can get past that you might find some methods.
Oct. 9th, 2008 10:21 am (UTC)
I've never heard of the site. A friend did tell me about a site or a book that said you start with something small, like never leaving the dishes unfinished, which in fact, we almost never do. It just piles up if you do and it's a nice feeling to get up in the morning and the dishes are at least ready to put away.

I'm working on keeping the counter clear, the sitting room picked up, the dining table clear. Working on asking E (at 9) to make sure she picks up when she's done playing or drawing. I find the extra step to put things away now makes such a difference in the long run.
Oct. 9th, 2008 12:33 pm (UTC)
Too bad about the septic tank. One of the houses I looked at when I was shopping around had a septic tank in the driveway that had been covered by, yes, the cement driveway. I'm like, "How do you pump it out?" and the owners, who'd only been there a year, were like, "Oh, we weren't ever going to." Hello?

The floors look very nice! Your home is spacious and inviting. Clutter is inevitable but can be vanquishes (she said, noting her cluttered desk!)
Oct. 9th, 2008 01:33 pm (UTC)
The house looks very sunshiny and cheerful. I look forward to seeing it! The septic tank not so much.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )