From time to time, my life is not all roses and chocolate. Sometimes bad things happen to me. Things that make me angry, things that make me sad, and even things that discourage me. Last week, a bad thing happened. For those of you that have a weak stomach, you might want to stop reading now. I have forewarned you.
Last Thursday started off rather well. Everyone in our household was ecstatic because it was the last day of school—no more teachers, no more books—you know the routine! The kids finished their last papers and tests of the year, and we put away our pencils with a huge smile and a sigh of relief. Summer vacation has arrived!
I spent a good part of the day baking and decorating Abigail’s birthday cake, while the kids rode bikes and played out in the oppressive heat.
I must mention that living in an RV has its share of challenges. One of those is the need for dumping our sewage regularly. Our trailer has two bathroom areas, although only one shower, so there is a sink and toilet in the kids’ bathroom as well as in the main bathroom of the trailer. This is wonderful because it means that I can finally take a shower without someone pounding on the door as soon as I turn on the water. However, it also means we have twice as much trouble to dump, since there are two “black water” tanks to empty. Also, the children have not yet deciphered the meaning of , “Don’t use that toilet—it’s full!” On more than one occasion now, they have “forgotten” and caused a major problem by overfilling the black water tank. I never understood how they did this until last Thursday night.
The tank was full, and they had been good about going in the church bathroom, since they were forbidden to use their own. I walked into their room in the afternoon, and it really smelled terrible. I opened the toilet lid, and saw, to my great dismay, things that I will not mention here. Then the inquisition began. Who had violated the rule? One guilty party spoke up, but there was more than one person involved, I was sure, just because of the volume of black water visible in the bowl.
I informed my husband that he would need to try out his new macerator pump that evening. This pump was given rave reviews on all the camping websites because of its ability to chop the sewage into tiny pieces and shoot the offending substance through a garden hose into a sewer cleanout. This was an ideal solution for our current situation, since moving our trailer closer to the sewer cleanout at the church was an impossibility, due to the fact that another RV was parked between us and the cleanout. No problem, we thought. My husband hooked up the pump and turned it on, and we blissfully in the kitchen talking, when all of a sudden, he shoved me aside, ran into the back bathroom, and then headed for the door like a shot. I hurried into the bathroom to see what was wrong, and to my absolute horror, I saw that the black water had not only backed up into the toilet and was overflowing, it had also backed up into the sink, and was now pouring over the edge like a dark version of Niagara Falls! I screamed and started searching for old towels to sop up the mess and keep it from seeping into the carpet in the kids’ room. I cried, and gagged at the stench, while my husband frantically worked to disconnect the pump that was filling the tank even more. It was a bad thing… a terrible thing… probably the worst thing that has ever happened inside the walls of our trailer. But we survived.
Several hours later, we went to bed. We had the inestimable blessing of having some friends who were able and willing to help us. Those are true friends indeed. The bathroom was clean, the towels were in the trash, the ventilation fans were running, and the kids were asleep in the living room. We figured out that the kids’ sink drains into the black water tank, not into the gray water tank like ours does. (For the uninitiated, gray water is water that drains from the shower, sinks, and washing machine. Black water is sewage.) That is the reason the tank was so full. The kids had been washing their hands and brushing their teeth, further filling the tank. We are not yet sure why the pump filled the tank more instead of emptying it, but when we tried it on the front black water tank, it worked just fine. We still sat and watched the toilet, just to be sure.
Yes, bad things happen. Things go wrong, sometimes at an alarming rate, but we can survive. So, just relax and remember that you are not alone!