Sunday, October 10, 2010

My Bowl Runneth Over: On Our Land Days 28-30

Sewage is one of those things we don't usually need to consider with all our modern conveniences. You finish your business, you flush the bowl, the toilet does its happy swirly thing. If something goes wrong with that process you call a plumber. Unless you're unfortunate enough to be a plumber yourself.

For the past week or more, I've been wishing I was a plumber.  Or whatever the RV tech form of that is. First the little handle on the toilet broke off. There are two handles on an RV toilet, by the way. One is to run rinse water. Which would be lovely to use if the water tank on this thing was full. The second handle is to flush the bowl. That's the one that broke in half. Lucky for us, there's a little prong (previously covered by the now broken handle).  At about the same time (and the two problems most likely aren't related) the damn thing stopped flushing at all.

Since we had a thousand other things to do, the toilet wasn't given immediate priority. In no time it became a piled up cesspool of biohazard. Just peeing is a challenge in dexterity, since you need to balance on the edge of the bowl and manage your stream so that nothing splashes back. Gods the idea of something splashing back! Eww!

Now I'm not unused to outdoor plumbing. I've lived in two places where we had to use outhouses. They were foul as hell in summer, and no amount of pouring lime down the holes could drown the stink. Because of the smell, we left the door open and the chickens would walk by, or even wander into the outhouse with us, clucking at we silly hapless humans. In winter they were frozen and less stenchy, but the idea of wandering out to the cold, especially after dark, was enough to strike fear even into Nanook of the North's heart. The wooden outhouse seat itself, reposed behind the woodstove when not in use. In theory it would be a nice warm seat. However the idea of traversing the snow, passing the pines where who knows what viscious predators lurked, pulling down your pants and baring your bottom to the whistling chill of the still wasn't pretty. Just before sundown we'd all make a race toward the outhouse and hope that would do us for the night.

Today I'm thinking of that outhouse with fondness. At least when someone had to go, the stench didn't roil through the min house. At least the level of poop and urine wasn't mere inches from my bare and quivering butt.

Yesterday Quantum emptied the "black water" tank. That hasn't done much for the level of nastiness in the bowl itself. Perhaps it's a problem with the amount of toilet paper that has filled the bowl. This despite the fact that I've done my diligence to put any toilet paper from mere urination into a seperate garbage bag rather than attempting to flush it. Or it may be a problem with whatever trap-door mechanism shunts the waste from the bowl to the holding tank.

My bowl nearly runneth over. My trailer is filled with the not-so subtle scent of moldering urine and poop. Isn't pioneering fun!

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