Tuesday, January 04, 2011

A Christmas to remember!

It was a season to remember! Beth ran into a high school chum, married, with three kids, in a bit of a bind. Housing was an issue, as the chum was running into problems with his insurance company with regards to payment for his house that burned down. It looked like the family would be spending Christmas in a homeless shelter. So Beth invited them to stay in the "big room" out back. Kenny moved in with his girlfriend, Beth, Tom and I all cleaned the place up, and the family moved in the first part of December.

All went well, for about three days.

December turned out to be the second wettest since recordkeeping started in 1887. This compounded a problem we didn't know we had. Apparently the septic tank had never been drained in all its fifty year existence. We found this out when it backed up into the only shower in the house. And stayed.

The landlord sent out the plumber, as always. The plumber got the rooter machine out, to once again remove the tree roots from the main drain. Except... it didn't help. That's when we found the entire system was full, and with all the rain, wasn't draining. And no one knew where the clean-out was. The landlord called the previous owner trying to locate it. No luck. Meanwhile, we have no shower. For three weeks, we have no shower. There are now six adults and three teens living on the property, with no shower. I thank all the Powers that it was December and not July. Several of us made repeated visits to friends and family to use their showers.

A plumber with the proper tools was located just after Christmas and the two-weeks-without-shower mark had been passed. There was much fidding around with equipment and on December 31. The septic tank was unburied late in the afternoon, thus rendering our front yard more of a wasteland than usual. No one was going to come out on January 1, or on Sunday, January 2.

And then, one of the people living out back died two days before Christmas of complications of alcoholism. In the back yard. The family thereof descended upon us, with weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. And raiding of the refrigerator, eating anay and everybody's food without replacing it, using every pot and pan we collectively had and not washing the dishes. Charming. Not. Washing the dishes was taken as permission to get them dirty again, and eating what little still remained in the fridge.

Meanwhile, this poor family of five is living in a house with no shower, only one toilet still working, the back bathroom sink only having cold water, the kitchen sink piled with dishes, with all these crazy people mourning the dead guy while simultaneously deciding they should be cheerful "for the kids" for Christmas. The family had continued negotiations with their insurance company, and a few lawyers, and it looked like they were going to be able to move into their new place in January.

January 3 dawned bright and clear. The family in the "big room" moved out so fast you could hear the thunderclap of the air closing in behind them. I'm sure they wished they had stayed in a homeless shelter. It would have been less crazy. Mid-day, the septic tank company showed up, drained what they said was probably 50 years' worth of stuff, and we had the shower and second toilet back in operation. The first toilet kept working, and we found out it had been an add-on, and so drained into a different septic tank. The family of the dead guy decamped, including the remaining resident out back, leaving the three of us alone in the house once more.

Happy New Year!