Monday, April 25, 2011
Trailer Life: Anthony versus the Poop Monster
In the life of a trailer dweller, few phrases inspire more fear than the utterance, "the toilet tank is full."
With those words comes blame and recrimination.
"Did you put enough water down the tank, Sandy?"
"I always put enough water down the tank, Anthony - maybe you didn't!"
And after a few more rounds of the blame cycle, my husband will volunteer, like a true hero.
"Fine. I'll deal with it."
"Oh, good! I'll cheer you on. From inside."
For any of you non-trailer dwellers, you lucky people with toilets that actually flush, let me explain how the toilet tank works. Basically, our trailer bathroom sits on top of a 20-gallon septic tank. When you use the toilet, you push a lever with your foot which opens a hole directly into the tank and sends all the bodily fluids and solids and a lot of water down into it.
Theoretically, the bacteria and the water in the tank will break down the solids and they will move out of the trailer into the pipes and eventually out into a real septic tank, where the poop can never be seen or heard from again. Theoretically.
What actually happens sometimes is that a poop mountain will begin to form directly beneath the toilet, refusing to be broken down, growing bigger and bigger, until the smell enters our living area and lets us know that there is something terribly, terribly wrong. We have to deal with this immediately, lest the poop mountain develop sentience and take over.
This is when Anthony will bring out the septic tank turner, a bent lightning rod attached to a drill motor, which we affectionately refer to as the "poop stirrer." He will insert the poop stirrer into a special hole on the side of the trailer and turn it on, which will fling all the fluids and solids against the walls at lightning fast speeds.
From inside the trailer, I flush as much water down it as it can hold, and shout inspiring cheers at my hero.
"You stir that poop, baby! You can do it!"
"Poop mountain, go away! Go to your home!"
The contents of the septic tank empty out into the pipes and so disaster is averted yet again. Until the next time the toilet tank gets full.