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    updated 8.29.11

    We do what we do as missionaries supported by people like you.

    We also prefer to give away as much content as we can, and not cloud that issue with a lot of public requests. That said, we do have specific needs that are met by people who believe the work we do has value.

    If you'd like a short list of immediate financial needs, you can find it HERE.


    Note: This will be updated regularly

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A Few Words About Sewage

A little over a week ago, we begin to notice that the house smelled suspiciously like a diaper.  This is not an entirely unheard of experience with so many little ones, so we double checked everywhere and found nothing….until one night when we popped a circuit breaker about 11pm.

I went down to the basement to reset it and as I stepped off the landing at the bottom of the stairs, I realized that I hadn’t replaced the burned out light bulbs in the mechanical room.  A few minutes later, flashlight in hand, I stepped gingerly in my socks across the concrete floor until….squish.  I stepped in….something.

It astounds me how quickly the human mind can process an event.  Within .0235 seconds, I was aware of several things.

My biggest problem was not electrical.

I needed a plumber.

I had a sock full of poop on my left foot.

Thus began the journey that continued today.  A plumber snaked the line to 100 feet.  It worked 24 hrs.  He snaked it 120 feet.  It worked another 24 hrs.  Then he began to explain that he really needed a cleanout closer to the street.  His suggestion was to dig a very, very deep, very, very expensive hole just outside the picture window of the living room and add an access tap to the sewer drain so he could snake a little further.

I asked him “how much further?”  He figured 30 feet.  I did the math, and it was going to cost me $83 per foot to snake those extra 30 feet.

I asked “Why not put it further from the house?”

“We always put it right by the house…..”.

I called another guy.  His initial quote was about 1/5 of the first guy and suggested we put it about halfway to the street so we could clean out both ways from the center.  Didn’t need to pray about that one.

Yesterday, Plumber II and his helper, hereto referred to as UnLucky, tore the snot out of the yard and a corner of the drive way to install a tap.  Once tapped, another guy with a snake and a camera investigated.  They were astounded at what they found….

In addition to my sewer pipe reducing from 6 to 4 inches at the point they tapped it, on the side that runs to the street, it is intact (I suspected it was crushed).   It was horribly clogged – no shocker there.  No tree roots tough – the culprit was baby wipes.  This is especially interesting because there is not a soul in my house who will admit to flushing wipes down the toilet.  From this, I assume that strangers are coming in to my house at night and flushing wipes.  Who knew?

The real surprise was this – forty feet from the manhole where my sewage becomes Kansas City’s sewage, the line is 3 1/2 feet from the surface.   Thirty feet from the manhole, the line is 2 feet from the surface…where it continues to within a few feet of the manhole and cascades ten feet nearly straight down like some septic Niagara Falls.

Yes, folks, welcome to The Compound, where poop flows up hill, but not very well.  It seems that because we have 200 feet of pipe upstream, the pressure will force most things downhill and over the hump into the sewer, assuming nothing goes wrong….except, stuff goes wrong.   Objects larger than should go down the sewer find themselves there (enough said).  Wipies get flushed by intruders.  Stuff happens, and the sewer backs up like the beltway in DC.  And that can be applied in multiple ways.

All that to say, we are operating right now, although tentatively.  Each flush is paired with a hail mary for good measure, knowing that each time we ask the sewer to do the impossible.

This too shall pass, but it might not flush.


6 Responses

  1. Thank you for bringing a smile to my face! You have such a way with words that I have a perfect visual of your delimma. When we moved to our current house in Sept. 1996 we had no idea that in January 1997 Mike would be outside in 20 degree weather digging a hole to access our septic system. The woman we bought the house from neglected to disclose a discrepancy in the size of the septic tank as well as the fact that it hadn’t been cleaned out in 18 years. What worked for her did not work for the five of us (baby wipes or no baby wipes). We paid a hefty sum (gladly) to get someone to come dig a 540 ft long trench so we could tap onto the city sewer system. Thankfully everything goes in one direction from our house down the hill. The only dread is a prolonged electric outage which would keep the sewage from flowing over hill and dale into Kingsport. Have a wonderful week! J Yeager

  2. We are living the same dream (or nightmare…)! Just paid the septic guy another $535 to pump out our tanks for the third time in 4 months. Just bought the house in October and apparently the last guy neglected to mention that the entire leech field is no good. Yup, we are paying to have them pump out ground water that seems to run from the leech field backwards into the tank. Great fun today while we waited for Septic Saint to arrive. Five children, no one allowed to shower or flush and one of the five was just prescribed laxatives yesterday.

    I’m totally with you on the hail mary and this, too, may pass…maybe.

  3. oh my goodness! what an awful ordeal for you to have to tend to. and yet so grimly comical at the same time. I especially loved the pun, “this too shall pass,” whether it was intended or not!

    You don’t know me, Kara recommended your blog.

  4. May the Lord provide a crew the dig up the 4 inch old pipe. May they then slant the new 6 inch pipe downward & connect it five or six feet lower than the current one.

    I’ll try to stop flushing those wipes. It was so much fun. Pray for my self control.

  5. I may be wrong here but Ezekiel 46:9 says whoever enters Jerusalem through the south gate goes out the north and vice versa. Well, I believe the gate in the south wall is the dung gate. So Randy, look up, you are on your way out the north gate, the Damascus Gate, the most magnificent as one commentator says. A silly comment I know. Enjoy your writings.

  6. It became the dung gate, when the Romans trashed the Temple & made the Temple mount the city dump.

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