Poop Problems Near Seattle, USA

Rails to Trails

When you spend any amount of time conversing with me about random topics, the conversation will inevitably get around to poop and poop issues. It’s a weird topic, I know, but I have a lot of intestinal worries and I have no problem talking about them with anyone. With that in mind, let me tell you about the craziness that happened with my in-laws’ septic system while I was house sitting. It’s a prefect storm of events.

Living with the in-laws

Okay, okay… so you know how I told you I’m staying with my in-laws east of Seattle for a bit? Well, they decided now was the prefect time to take the RV and travel across the country for a few weeks. Smart! We get along great but it allowed them to take off with someone watching the house. I decided to invite friends up and also have a party (with past co-workers) while they were gone. What could go wrong?

Twin Falls Trail
Went hiking with friends! This is along Twin Falls Trail.

Some of my favorite people from Oregon drove all the way up for a weekend of catching up, hiking, and drinking with our feet in the river. It was truly lovely and I’m so glad that they made the effort. I have other wonderful people in Oregon, but I just don’t do that well in cars and couldn’t figure out a reasonable train option to visit everyone. Maybe once the light rail gets out this way.

Just about two hours after my friends head back home, I start hearing this really loud noise coming from the garage. WTF is that!?! Time to investigate. There’s this big air compressor in the back that I was sure was about to explode. Why was it making that noise? I unplugged everything I could think of, but it was still so very loud. I texted the owners and left the space, just in case.

What’s a septic system?

Unfortunately, they were out of cell phone range, so I didn’t hear back from them for several hours. Bad news. It was the septic alarm. The alarm that goes off when the pump stops working. The alarm that goes off when the septic tanks are full. That alarm! The in-laws informed me I should not add any more liquids (or solids, if you know what I mean) down the drains. Um… but… guess I’m peeing down by the river.

Septic tank truck
Our septic tanks are finally empty! The license plate says it all.

I started calling around to find someone to fix it. I left so many messages! Stupid Sunday evening. I also turned off the breaker for the alarm so that it didn’t burn out. Sweet-sweet silence! The internet said I should definitely not add anything more to the drains. I got the neighbor’s number, and they said I could use their bathroom when they were home. I was not looking forward to hiking out to the river to pee at night. They have bears here. Land sharks!!!

The next morning, I made more phone calls. I learned more than you would ever want to know about pressurized pump septic tank systems. Turns out there is one company that pumps out the liquid sludge and a completely different company that fixes and replaces the actual pump part. Nether company will dig the holes to get to the tanks, so you might need another company for that. FFS.

I need to poop

After texting the neighbors and waiting for a bit, I started to get desperate. I’ve pooped in the woods many times while camping, but this is a bit more suburban. Plus, loads of neighbors have wildlife cameras. That would be an awkward conversation. Once (many years ago) when we were remodeling our only bathroom and they removed the toilet, I resorted to dropping a turd into several bags while in the bathtub. Then I plopped it in the outside trash with the bagged dog-poop. Now I’m an expert!

I finally communicated with a company to drain the tanks, but not until Thursday. They let me know I could use a bit of water, just not much. So now I was only flushing once a day and putting the toilet paper in the trash to avoid clogging anything. I also stuck a large bucket in the kitchen sink, which I would dump in the yard when full. You can use as much water as you want. It just can’t go down the drain.

The neighbors were so nice. They let me use their shower and they found someone to dig out the septic tank covers (each two feet deep). There was some confusion with the hand-drawn map, but they eventually managed it. This was all the while it was raining. Thanks, Neighbors! That was a tremendous relief because my back/neck was not up for a bunch of shoveling. During the digging, they thought they uncovered a rat’s nest…

Baby bunnies!!!

Turns out the rat’s nest was a bunny nest! Baby bunnies! OMG! I could die. They were so freakin’ cute. Plus, I had to hold them because otherwise they would fall into the septic tank once opened. That would be a bad way to go. With the help of a contractor (who was working on the deck), we managed to scoop them up and put them in a box with a bunch of their nesting material. They each fit into a single hand with these adorable ears and teeny-tiny poof ball tails! Hope mom comes back to feed them.

Baby bunnies
Baby bunnies!!!

Now this whole time, I’m washing my hands and dishes only in the kitchen sink containing a bucket to collect the water. Then dumping that bucket in the yard. No dishwasher. No laundry. No showers. Flush once a day. Thursday (pump day!) could not come soon enough. The pump replacement guy was giving me the runaround, which was not making me happy. Have I mentioned that next Sunday was potluck day and my parents were flying into town?

With all that going on, we heard from a neighbor that pumping peeps cost less if you pay in cash. Sweet. Let me get my ATM card. Crap, it’s expired. The bank said they would send me a new one but never did. The new one would get here in five to seven days. Well, let’s move some moneys to my brand spanking new travel ATM card. Crap, that will take three days to clear. My backup travel ATM card has higher fees, so I don’t want to use that. Maybe I have enough cash?

Stashes of cashes

Right when I started researching living out of the country, loads of websites suggested storing money in various places. If your place gets broken into, you will still have cash somewhere. I went a little crazy with that and ended up with more stashes than I could keep track of. No need for a trip to the ATM. I got this!

Finally, Thursday arrives. Pumping day! Plus, the pump fixer person decided to show up. The pump was definitely broken. The dude was not thrilled that I was the only person who was small enough to crawl around the air-compressor to get to the plugs for the pump and alarm float. Sorry! I was not thrilled that he was charging me for emergency service when he said he would be out here on Monday, but didn’t come until Thursday.

Barred owl
This barred owl caught a bunny in our yard. Poor rabbit.

He ordered me a new pump and left with promises to install it the next day. Right. You better because, otherwise, on Sunday my parents and my potluck guests will be peeing by the river or get really cozy with the neighbors. I was getting nervous about the whole thing. At least the people who pump out the septic tanks showed up right on time. After all three tanks were emptied, he said I could do dishes and such, but keep showers to a minimum until they replaced the pump.

Hang in there, baby bunnies!

All this time, I’m watching those adorable baby bunnies get bigger and bigger and start to venture out into the sunshine. So cute! Lots of neighbors don’t like the rabbits eating from their gardens, but everyone thought the babies were worth saving. At least to keep the local coyotes, bobcats, and owls alive. The bears only seem to eat the apples from my in-laws’ trees.

Friday comes and goes with no pump replacement. Sounds like he had some kind of medical emergency and couldn’t make it. Saturday? Yup, finally we have a new pump and I can take a shower. The pump-fixer-dude accidentally spilled glue on the driveway but managed to clean it up with a flamethrower and a pressure washer. Poor guy was having a week, I tell you what.

Snoqualmie Falls with the parents
It’s so misty from the waterfall! I took my parents to see the famous Snoqualmie Falls. You should see it during spring runoff.

My parents made it with only a slight delay due to ‘Avoid Highways’ being accidentally turned on with the maps app they used. They saw some gorgeous country on the back roads, that’s for sure. The potluck was a lot of fun and I’m glad people made the journey. I made pico de gallo and Mr. ItchyFeet made kimchi fried rice and spam musubi. Noms!

Parents and the Pacific Northwest

I had a lovely time with my parents, and I hope they did as well. We went hiking up at Rattlesnake Lake, toured some historic train fields, and marveled at the wonderful Snoqualmie Falls. My mom is waiting for a hip replacement, so I can’t take her too far. My pops had both of his hips replaced already. That bionic man seamed happy enough to go on a few hikes without us. Fall is such a beautiful time to be in this area.

My parents drove me into Seattle for my ocular oncologist visit. Cancer-free for two more years!!! My insurance doesn’t cover the visit because my doctor isn’t in network. Unfortunately for me, he is the only doctor of this type in the entire state, so it’s not like I could go in-network. However, I discovered that if you pre-pay before the visit, you can get an extra 10% off on top of the 30% off for not having insurance. It was an enormous pain to find out the cost in order to pre-pay, but it worked out and saved me about $500.

Flower sculpture
Check out this amazing sculpture near my doctor’s office in Seattle!

The parents headed back for the wintery depths of Colorado, where their world will soon be covered in snow. I’m trying to get them to visit me in the tropics, but they are not huge fans of the heat. Makes sense. Maybe if I can find a lovely place in México (or Costa Rica!) that has reasonable temps, they will come explore with me. They would have loved Portugal. I’m very glad to have spent time with them. Plus, they took me out for food. Thanks, Parents!

Doggo sitting!

One of my friends saw this blog and realized that I would be in Seattle at the same time that she would be in need of a dog/house sitter. I’m in! Her condo is gorgeous and right in the heart of the Greenlake neighborhood of Seattle. So close to everything, including the light-rail. Plus, her doggo is absolutely adorable and such a sweetheart.

The problem was the truck I was borrowing from the in-laws while they were out of town didn’t fit in the parking garage (per HOA regulations). That meant I had to take the fancy red collector’s edition MG. Fifth gear (‘overdrive’) is like this weird switch on the dashboard. It’s like driving a go-cart! But it’s so small that you can park it anywhere. Not so good for hauling anything, but more better for city driving.

Sleeping doggo
I got to house-sit this adorable puppy!

I managed to make it out to see some friends, and some friends managed to come see me. I love you all! That is the main thing I miss while traveling. Friends mean so much and it’s really hard to keep up with them all when you don’t get to see their lovely faces on the regular. I also miss the really great new friends I’ve made during my travels. It’s wonderful to catch up.

Well, my friend’s puppy had a fabulous time wondering around Greenlake… until the deep dark rains of Seattle started. It begins!!! Then she was kind of upset that I kept making her go for walks. We played a lot of fetch with the stuffed animal or squeaky ball in the condo. Sorry downstairs neighbors! It was a lovely time and I hope I can do it again. Maybe next time I’m in town? I’m off to México at the end of the month. Adventures await!

OMG! The poop saga continues! Click here for more.

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1 Comment

  1. We love your poop stories, bunnies and that you got to hangout with your parental units! missing you
    sending hugs

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