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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

Final Installation of Valentine's Day (Week!) Saga

Okay, I'm going to finish this story if it kills me!

With cold temperatures prevailing, Tom gone on a business trip, and the plumber and #2 Septic Guy gone, I sat down with a hefty Whiskey-7 that night to process the emotional ups and downs of the past 48 - 72 hours.

Once the concoction had done its soothing magic and I had alerted all the appropriate people to the happy news ("All systems GO!"), I toddled upstairs to run the bath. I was definitely eager to take the first shower, but there was no point in doing so in that filthy water that had been sitting in the water lines for months. So, I would simply run the water in the tub, clean out the lines, let the water heater re-heat, and then take a shower. I had a plan! So, drain at the bottom of the tub open and both hot and cold faucets wide open with glorious water gushing out, I headed back downstairs.

Listening to water rushing through the waste pipes of the unfinished house (what a happy sound!), I putter-putzed. Then, I heard a gurgling in the downstairs toilet. A quick look showed air bubbles popping up into the bowl. "Hmm, that's weird. Must have something to do with the new, unused water lines and waste pipes working air out."

I continue on with my putter-putzing.

Then, suddenly, I hear a horrible, massive PSSSSSHHHHTTT followed by the running water sound of a babbling brook . . . INSIDE THE HOUSE!! I tore into the downstairs bathroom again, and the unfinished drain of the shower had a TORRENT of waste water (oh, yes) pulsing up out of it and flooding the bathroom.

I FLEW up the stairs, and dropped the drain in the new tub and shut off the water.

WHAT THE ----?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

With the dogs excitedly at my heels and hammer in hand, I ran outside to the septic clean-out and ripped the top off. It was full to overflowing again. AGAIN! In the 4 hours (tops!) since the septic guy had cleaned out the pipes, it was newly frozen.

I was exhausted. I was done. I was emotionally spent. I couldn't even cry.

After I cleaned up the bathroom, I dressed to face the outside temperatures, and, with tools, flashlight, and headlamp in hand, headed out to the septic tank for the second time that day. Only this time it was pitch dark at 8:30 at night.

I shoveled the insulating snow back off the septic tank. I rummaged through the garage to find the right sized bit to unscrew the 2' wide lid from the tank. The incoming line from the house was still, this time, thawed and open. "Well, that's good, but where's it frozen?!" I go back to the clean-out. Yep, still full to the top.

Investigating all that I know to do, I made a late night phone call to #1 Septic Guy. He is floored. Baffled. He's apologetic that he couldn't make it out that afternoon and had to send his 2nd-In-Command. But, that guy's trust-worthy. So, what's happened? He says that he'll call #2 Septic Guy and then call me right back. #2 Septic Guy says he got it running free and clear. I agree - I was right there helping him. #1 Septic Guy says that he's going to make his own late-night call to the septic system installer. Could a pipe have heaved and broken in half? He'll call me right back.

Ultimately, I end up having to search our 40 acres for one of summertime's garden hoses (I couldn't get ahold of Tom to find out where they were). But, fortunately, I was fairly confident that they would be one of two places . . . but both were covered by camouflaging snow. Latest Challenge #1: Successful.

However, the hose is frozen stiff, and the female end encased in ice. It has to come into the house to soften up, and the end needs to soak in hot water. Latest Challenge #2: Successful.

Now, at #1 Septic Guy's suggestion (who, ever the gentleman himself, is completely dismayed that my big, strong, strapping husband is gone and I need to do this myself), I attach one end of the now-warmed hose to hot water in the house. The other end is shoved - through the waste water - down the appropriate T towards the septic tank of the clean-out. I am to shove it as far as I can. I do so. The theory is that the jamb will be cleared. Latest Challenge #3: Failed.

Fast forward to about 10:30 PM. I am exhausted (or did I already mention that?). I need a shower. (HA!) I have just finished many phone calls with my folks, the - no less than appalled and stymied - #1 Septic Guy, the plumber (on the off chance that the problem is inside the house), and a very concerned and sympathetic septic system installer. Everyone has offered to come out still that night, but I know how far out we live and what that would be to ask. There's no need. I've peed outside before - I can do it again. The lid is secured back on the septic tank (I didn't even tell you about all the screws I stripped in the cold) and the insulating snow shoveled back on. We will all attack things anew in the morning.

When Tom calls to check in that night I don't answer the phone. I couldn't tell him what I've been dealing with on Valentine's Day when there wasn't a single thing he could do about it except beat himself up for not being here.

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