When we were little, people always "pitied" my father for not having boys. 3 girls, they'd say and then do the nudge, nudge, wink, wink and my father always said he didn't have patience for boys.
We did some tomboyish things when we were little and my father encouraged playing with tractors and trucks (toys and the real thing) but he never tried to make us into boys. Or scorned us if we were being girly.
We each drove the same pickup when we got our licenses and to this day, I still prefer a truck or SUV over a car. We each had our share driving the dumptruck and I think we each had a few turns at plowing.
Basically, physical work wasn't something we avoided but it wasn't something that we had to do day in and day out. Sometimes just driving the dumptruck was physical work!
During summers in college, I started working in the campground, mostly mowing the grass, but also picking up debris to go to the dump, cleaning up after hurricanes, etc.
If you read my blog, you know that most of my summer is spent in and around the campground, keeping an eye on things and still cleaning up crap.
After mowing dead grass today, my father suggested that I go over and find someone's pit. Do you know what that means? It means their cesspool.
For those of you who live in places where you have sewer hooked up to some magical sewer place and all you have to do is flush and never think about it again, let me give you a quick lesson on cesspools. If you know all about them, feel free to skip right to the bottom and see my amazing arms.
The original theory, as I understand it, was that you could create this little brick well/cave type thing deep in the ground and have your sewer piped from your house (in this case, trailer) into it. Because it was dug into the ground, and our ground here is mostly sand, eventually, all of the liquids would seep out into the ground and be "cleansed" by the sand and all of the good microbes in the soil, before it hit our aquifer which is a fancy word for "drinking water source". The solids? Well, I guess they thought the solids would break down too and those that didn't could get sucked out by these trucks that driving around pumping cesspools. Cesspool pumping trucks are big business around here.
Oh, who am I kidding? No one knew what the hell a microbe was back then. I'm sure someone, in a drunken stupor, suggested that this might work and someone else three sheets to the wind said "yep, sounds great" and thus, the cesspools were built. Human waste out of sight, out of mind.
And for a long time, everything was great on our little island. But over time, the cesspools fail and break down and scientists have noticed that maybe we are all drinking what we've flushed and now maybe cesspools aren't the way to go. And people flush bad things and now we're all drinking cocktails of other people's meds and diseases.
But a lot of us still have cesspools and if they behave themselves, they remain. When houses are sold, or the cesspool totally fails, then new things are done and people have these ridiculous new concrete things as yard decorations and that's just how it is if you want to live around here. Until sewer is mandated and they figure out how to do it.
So, back to today. We have lots of cesspools in the campground and they pretty much behave themselves. However, some have now had decks built over them, or trailers are on them, so when they do misbehave or need to be pumped, it's a big fat mess.
And of course, we don't have maps of how this is all laid out. That would be genius. And a lot of work. And we like scavenger hunts and difficult tasks in the moment. Why create maps of underground things so in emergencies, we can just reference them? Isn't it much more fun to look for the water bubbling up?
I have vague notions of where the cement covers are at various places around the park, but those are only the exposed ones. Those that have been covered by dirt, decks, trailers, those are the difficult ones.
So, I was off to find the pit. I had a notion of where it might be. I looked under the trailer to see which direction the pipe went. And then I had to just dig around where I thought it might be. As we both suspected, it was NOT under a trailer or deck, so it was open for digging. That reduced the workload tremendously.
Between my father and me, this is what we accomplished. The pipe had broken and was clogged and needs to be replaced. MMMM. Lots of fun. See all the roots across the trench? That makes it extra fun to dig. Along with the rocks and claylike soil, the likes of which I have never experienced in my life!
This is the cement cover over the hole. People think they are "cleaning up" or being "helpful" when they cover over the "unsightly" cement covers, but that just makes things really difficult.
This is a piece of the broken pipe. There's a lot of this pipe which is not made of plastic, and over time, it has broken down with the help of tree roots. It needs to be replaced with plastic.
The tools of my trade. Because the soil was so clay ridden and the roots were so awful AND I was afraid of breaking any more of the pipe with the shovel, I opted for the trowel when I got close to the pipe. The shovel works well, but when it starts to get tight or the roots just won't stop interfering, it's a little easier with the trowel.
I didn't stick around to help with the new pipe because I had to be fresh and energized to teach my spin class at the gym, so he did have a man come help him with that. But that was the easy part.
I work out so I can keep my girlish figure and be ready to dig up sewer pipes at a moment's notice, right?
Linking up here.