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"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne


Tonight we'll move on from the chicken butchering saga to the septic saga. And, believe me, I really wish there was no septic saga to tell!

Pretty much everywhere in Minnesota experienced a cold snap the last couple of weeks. Up here, the high during the day didn't get over 13 degrees in 13 days (usually it never even got up to zero), and the low bottomed out at -27 degrees. Add to this the lack of snow for ground cover which provides insulation for septic pipes, tanks, mound systems, and drain fields, and you have the makings for a real disaster . . . county-wide.

Because we have the most snow in the county (save maybe further north, as the crow flies), we didn't give this impending problem a thought. We heard of folks whose water lines froze, whose septics froze. If we'd still been at Hastings, we would have been dealing with these problems, and we wondered aloud how the woman was doing who bought it. But, we didn't worry.

We should have.

The plumber was due Valentine's Day to install (again, FINALLY) the shower. That was Wednesday. Concurrent with this was the business trip that Tom had to go on . . . leaving on Wednesday. On Monday afternoon, after a day of using the water like normal, I flushed the toilet. It bubbled . . . and stopped. I flushed it again. No water went down. Matter of fact, the water only rose! Sh*t! Where the hell is the plunger?! (Even tho I'd done nothing to warrant the clog, thank you very much.) I managed to catch Tom at work to ask him to buy a plunger on the way home. "Why," he asks? I explain the situation. "Oh, no! It's not plugged. That's the septic line." I, in complete denial, insist that he still purchase and bring home a plunger . . . which he does.

Upon receipt of said plunger shortly after 5:00 PM, I go into the bathroom to face the offending toilet. I plunge. Nothing. I plunge a second time. Hard. Waste water SHOOTS out of the trap next to the toilet where the guest shower will eventually be (fortunately, a baggie was covering the opening of it). Waste water also squeezes out from the seal around the entire base of the toilet. Umm, yeah . . . it's not a clog. Unfortunately.

So, Tom suits up and heads outside to take the top off the septic line clean-out at the side of the house. It's full of water. To the top. And, the water is frozen. Not good. Not good at all.

A search for the salamander heater and a rigging-up of chimney pipe (to channel the heat through) to try to thaw out the clean-out is next. Except, in the frigid temps we've been having, the fuel in the salamander is like molasses, and it won't catch fire. So, into the house the entire contraption goes to warm up and thaw out a bit. Meanwhile, Tom heads up to the trapper cabin to retrieve the antique commode bought at an estate sale a summer or two ago.

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