Friday, August 26, 2005


The downstairs toilet in Montauk won't flush. The basement is always wet. When I run the dishwasher, the toilet blubs. I call the plumber.

He comes in, takes one look, and says "how old is your septic system?" Uh oh. That's the first thing you never want to hear. We go outside and he shows me an escape valve pipe. The waste pipe has a vent on it. Every time I've plunged the toilet, it's just caused the water and stuff to be shoved out the vent and into our little side yard area. There's toilet paper hanging off the vent. Everything's nasty.

The plumber starts poking around for the septic tank and finds it in the front yard. He digs it up. It's clogged. He looks at the tank and says that it holds about 40 gallons. Never saw one that small before. I ask him if it needs to be flushed. He says that it's only 40 gallons, so it doesn't matter. Then he starts rootering it from the tank end. He pulls stuff out. More and more stuff. Tons of stuff. He calls out to me that people shouldn't flush feminine protection. I told him that I can guarantee that it wasn't me. Then he asks me to flush all the toilets.

Everything starts moving again as the pipe belches forth the last of its clogs, into the miniature tank. All clear. Since it hasn't rained out here in five weeks, the dirt covering the tank doesn't look much different from the rest of the lawn.

Then the mowing service comes and mows our inch-high field of brown straw for the week so they can charge us $40.

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