$#!T happens (or not)

Wait, you were expecting part two of the beautiful fall colours weren’t you. Oh well. Shit happens.

Just be happy this blog doesn’t broadcast in Odorama! You see, up here we live on the edge. A fabulous existence, yet a fragile line separating us from nightmarish events. Like discovering a nest of carpenter ants that will eat your cottage. Or a big gust of wind that knocks a tree onto your hydro wire and being without power for days.

And then there’s plumbing.

Most of us up here are on septic systems. It’s a very efficient way of getting rid of all the water, pee, and poo that drains or flushes away. Ick. I know. So we all want to be sure everything is maintained and in good working order. And that visitors don’t flush paper towels or unmentionables down the toilet. Every 4-5 years you have to call the ‘honey wagon” to pump out all the glig that doesn’t get naturally pumped away.

Septic pumping truck

I booked the honey wagon to pump out my tank so that I would be in good septic shape for the winter. Believe me, there’s nothing worse than the septic backing up when your tank is not only two feet under ground, but also under mounds of snow.

A few days after I made the arrangements, I noticed my toilet was acting funny. Oh gawd…this is one of those potential nightmares. Lucky for us on Stewart Lake Road, Paul the plumber is a neighbour. He came to take an initial look at it, and said the pipe coming out of the toilet was full and somehow clogged.


I told him the honey wagon was coming the next day, and he said to call him after they did the dirty deed.


We tested flushing the toilet after the pumping was done, and dammit if it wasn’t only a trickle of water into the now empty tank. UGH! (I know, I’m repeating myself.) Paul the plumber was going to have to come back.

Now a lot of folks up here have built new cottages/homes from the bottom up. Me? I bought a cottage and didn’t rebuild, so there are wires, pipes, foundations that I have to trust, that I didn’t oversee when the cottage was built 30 years ago. What did Paul the plumber find?

roots sticking out of plumbing pipe

Yep. The output pipe was full of roots! No wonder flushing had become a game of Russian Roulette (or maybe Flushin’ Roulette?) I told Paul the plumber that I had a new septic system put in 8 years ago and how could those roots have gotten in there? He told me this wasn’t done 8 years ago. When the new septic was put in, they attached the new system to the old output pipe and mustn’t have checked if it was in good shape.


You see, we are at the mercy of others. All the time! When I lived up here before, I had two things happen that made me very proactive in my plumbing: my hot water tank gave way one New Years morning, and my old septic tank backed up one March. Both times, I had to leave for a few days. Luckily I could stay with my folks in Orillia. Now? I can’t stay with them as they have downsized, and I don’t have an apartment in Toronto to escape to.

Now that I live up here again, I consider worse case scenarios for EVERYTHING so I’m not in deep shit…ahem…in the winter, homeless and cold.

I am happy to say Paul the plumber fixed the problem. Phew! As for the leaves and part two of the fall extravaganza, I’ll catch you next year. In the meantime, if you can stomach it, some lovely pictures of the day Paul the plumber came and took care of my “business.” Enjoy!

pipe in ground leaking water

cat looking in hole in the ground

pipe in ground leaking water