It was a long and busy Saturday with my little family.   My husband and I were spent and so were the rugrats.  I put together a gourmet dinner of leftovers and then tossed all three kids into the tub.

The kiddos were having a good time in the tub.  This included draining and refilling the tub to keep the water warm.  As I sipped on coffee while sitting on the closed toilet (No judging, long day remember?), it happened.   The toilet started independently gurgling.   The drain in the sink quickly chimed in with spits and sprays.

Now, I am an educated and reasonably logical person.   However in this instance, I was fully convinced that my home was possessed and we were all about to be sucked down into another level of hell.  The best solution at the time was to loudly yell for my husband to come to the rescue.

For obvious reasons, my husband was less than pleased about the situation.   Our vocabulary swayed to the far end of the gutter.  My husband opened the cellar door and went to see if there was any easy fix for our predicament. The answer was a resounding no.   Septic drainage (literally the cleanest way I could think to describe it) was ankle deep.   At this point it was clear that the septic line was plugged.

Now this was not how we had planned to spend this cold Saturday night.   I had visions of putting the kids to bed, cuddling up on the couch (wine in hand), and watching a movie. The reality was we were dealing with a crap filled evening.

My husband is a guy with connections.   Of course he was able to get access to the machine necessary to rectify the situation.  Unfortunately the machine did not come with an operator.   My husband who is considered a Jack of all trades, was going to wing it.   And wing it he did.

I was helpless through it all.  Since all I could think about was the extreme level of filth in my basement, I cleaned.   I cleaned so hard my kids were asking if we were expecting company.   At least the house would look good while we waded through the crappy situation.

Then came my time to shine.  I was finally given a job that directly pertained to the situation at hand.   I was the Poop Gush Look-Out.  I had to stand in the frigid Wisconsin air and stare at our own septic tank, hoping to see a burst and gush of poo.  So there I was,  glitter scarf, cute gloves, parka, and flashlight staring into the depths of my family’s waste.

I wasn’t alone, far from it.   The kiddos were highly entertained by the entire situation. They watched me out the window, dancing and laughing in their jammies as I experienced the heat of waste decomposition waft from the septic.  The barn cats joined me and hovered close.   They were clearly confused as to why I was out in the cold when I had a purrrfectly good home.

Well, my poo gush never came.   Our first attempt at freeing the poop was unsuccessful and the feeling (and smell) of defeat was strong.   My husband made multiple follow-up attempts but we (and the poo) were still stuck.

At this point the kids were sleeping and I had our dinner cooking.   Then I realized, I had to pee.  After 3-kids my bladder does not allow me the luxury of time.   The toilet was sitting in the hallway and any plumbing use increased the problem in the cellar.   The only logical solution was to pee outside.  Now, remember the whole freezing cold Wisconsin winter thing?   It was -12 degrees Fahrenheit… without accounting for windchill.  I thought to myself, “You’ve got this, you’re a badass.”  Nope.   Pants around my ankles, in freezing temperatures, peeing in my yard was not badass.  I squeeled, I rushed, and I’m pretty sure I peed on a barn cat.

The night ended with dinner, whisky, and a call to our friendly local Roto Rooter plumber.   The rest of the evening involved a lot of poop related jokes and nerves regarding the uncertainty of how difficult this problem was going to be to fix.   We both slept like crap (ha!).

The plumber arrived bright and early the following morning.   It took him only minutes to fix the problem we had been battling since the previous evening.   We immediately cleaned and mopped to erase any evidence of this smelly adventure.

Once everything settled we had a little family celebration.   We cheered for using the plumbing and our ability to pee inside.  I have never appreciated using the dish washer, washing machine, or toilet more in my life.

As crap-tastic as this mini disaster was, I am so thankful that we kept our humor through it all.   This kind of stress can easily seep into a relationship and start an argument.   To the credit of my husband and myself, we proved just how much crap we can handle… about ankle deep in the basement.


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  1. I love this site I am not a mom but I think i must carry the atavistic mom knowledge in my genes because I sure can relate to these stories – thanks for sharing!

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