Saturday, July 14, 2012

Oh, Septic Tank. We Hardly Knew Ye

(Post copyright 2012, Dawn Weber. Image from
Part 2 of the Derecho Fiasco.Go here for part 1, and I should mention this post was actually started last week, so some dates and details have changed.

There is a fine, fine line between "camping" and "homeless."

That line has a name. Want to know what it is?


Ah, flushing - you complete me. Literally.

Yep. Ever since the tornadoes/straight-line-winds/land hurricane/whatever-the-f*ck-it-was blew through Ohio, knocking out the power and plumbing and turning our residence into a gott-dang federal disaster area, what I have really missed is a functioning toilet and the septic tank. Also bathing.

Hahaha! What a fun weekend. The four of us, my family, like stunned, stinky homeless crackheads, hollow-eyed and shuffling between one tiny car, a half-destroyed house, a camper and sometimes a hotel room. It's been weak coffee, warm beverages, spoiled food and repeated pleas to the children: "Do you have to poop? For the love of all that's holy - poop at the HOTEL! Poop NOW while you CAN!"

And I'll tell you something else: I have never in my life been more happy to see my cubicle.

"You're really going to work today?" asked the husband.

Hellz yeah, I am.

Are you kidding me? My cubicle, my office building? It's the freakin' Taj Mahal up in here. There is air conditioning! Electricity! Basic shelter! Cell phone service! Pinterest Internet access!

And again, people - let me direct your attention to the toilets that flush.

That's right. We fancy!

You know, I live in Ohio for a reason. When I figure that reason out, I will tell you. But one thing's for certain: The Buckeye State - and its weather - are boring. We have occasional tornados, but in general, we don't have major natural disasters. We don't have large earthquakes. We don't have tsunamis. We don't have wildfires. We don't have hurricanes.

Until now.

They called it a land hurricane, a derecho, the freak of nature that cut a 700-mile swath of chaos across the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic June 29. And you would think that the storm's major destruction and damage to the roof, two ceilings, two vehicles, one swimming pool, three fences and the entire yard would be enough bad luck for us. You'd think that a week without power, in a tin can camper during 104-degree weather, would be enough misfortune for the Webers.

You'd think that, but you, sir, would be wrong:

  • Five days after the storm, still homeless and powerless, our one remaining car - my pussycat bealeaguered Beetle - was hit, badly damaged and rendered useless at a convenience store as I waited in line to buy oil for the camper generator. Witnesses said the driver tried to leave before I ran outside. Thankfully, someone blocked him in before he got away.
  • Like any good homeless crackhead, I begged a friend for a ride home from the accident only to discover that the oil I'd purchased would be of no use - the generator was completely and permanently blown. Did I mention that it powered the camper A/C?
  • Did I mention the 104-degree weather?
  • Ten minutes into the first day of tree removal, on the Fourth of July, the husband lopped off the tip of his finger with a chainsaw, and we had to go to the emergency room. The ER? On the Fourth of July? 'Nuff said.
  • Did I mention the 104-degree weather?
  • So we went to a Holiday Inn that night, where I promptly slipped in the shower and slammed my head on the porcelain. I received a huge egg-bump on my head and became slightly dizzy and nauseous, but figured one trip to the ER that day was enough, and I went the f*ck to bed. I am still slightly nauseous, dizzy and egg-headed but you already knew that.
  • The next day, the dog and I waited alone in the camper for my husband to return from his finger-checkup when the generator (a different, borrowed one) suddenly stopped. I had been in my underwear - changing clothes - and nearly went outside that way to re-set the breaker. But I decided at the last minute to pull on my shorts before I stepped out the door. This is a good thing, because the dog - who we'll call Suzie Dumbass - jumped up after I left and hit the door latch, locking me outside and herself in the camper. It took me more than an hour in the searing, blazing sun to get back inside, and I was a sweating, panting, hot mess. Suzie Dumbass was fine. Of course she was.
  • I'm not sure if I told you this, but it was 104 degrees.

Hahaha! Good times, all. *Crazy eyes*

And really, I don't miss the roof too much. Or the ceilings in the sunroom and garage. Or the driveway. Or the Honda or Ford. Or the fences. Or the yard. Or my money.

You know what I miss?


But it's all good! Homelessness Camping That which doesn't doesn't kill you makes you stronger! Never, ever give up! And all of that happy horse-shit!

Yes, fellow homeless crackhead campers, in hard times like these, I've learned many things in 104-degree weather. I have much wisdom to pass on to you and your children, and I've pondered several of life's difficult questions, such as:

"Do you have to poop? For the love of all that's holy - poop at the HOTEL! Poop NOW while you CAN!"


  1. Farther north in Winfield, Illinois where a friend of mine lives ,they got two huge trees blown down and enough large hail to fill several ice chests sitting by the garage door when they opened it. They had a portable generator they used because they lost power for about a day or so. But they had toilets! 2005 we had our last hurricane sweep through, but that is a story for another time.
    Now I have another woman to worry about!

  2. Holy Mother of God, you've been through Hell! I'm So sorry, but am laughing at your toilet misfortune. We a broken toilet one and had to use a coffee can. Of course, both boys had to poop immediately. You're hilarious Dawn--that alone will get you through this!

  3. Good God, woman! You've been through it.

    But at least you didn't lose your sense of humor. Actually, I feel sort of guilty chuckling at your recap of the disaster. As funny as you make it sound, I know it's truly been horrendous for you. Hope all is back to life as usual (notice I didn't say "normal") for you soon!

  4. Well, all-in-all, while creative, I think this one goes down in the anals of pretty poor excuses why you didn't come to school or do your bloggy homework. Land hurricanes? Why I never.

    Srsly, sorry for the mayhem. As a Hurricane Katrina and Loma Prieta Earthquake survivor, I feel your pain. But, I fortunately have septic tank and used buckets of pond water to flush. I also have that new fangled invention called propane.

    P.S. Why are these mutha-uckers always ucking with my shit? NOw you have the insurance adjusters to bend your mind.

  5. Oh god.
    So sorry for all of it.

    But I'm not sorry I laughed, although I've heard the depths of hell are reserved for those who laugh at the misfortunes of others.


  6. Oh dear God, woman. Better you than me because I would never be able to write such a pants-wetting hysterical post about it. I know people say LOL a lot, but really LO-fuckingL!

  7. Oh my god, Dawn! Oh. My. God. I can't believe the luck you've had!!!! I'm sooooo sorry. Wanna bring the fam to NYC? We live in 7 square feet, but at least we can flush!

  8. You definitely win the prize for the most (unflushable) crappy stuff to happen to you in one week! When it gets to that point, all you can do is laugh... I admire your fortitude in continuing to put one foot in front of the other!

  9. Oh dude, I could cry for you. If I were a rich girl, I'd pick you up in mah private Christian Grey helicopter and take you somewhere Dayton, for subs and brews. Or room service pizza at an exclusive, three story Marriott with gorgeous parking lot views.

    Le sigh.

    You are more than welcome to come visit Cow Hampshah if you want to get away to a balmy...88 degrees. I's got a blow up pool and AC! :) (And Walmart.)

  10. As a fellow Ohio blogger, the only good thing about spending 9 days without electricity in 104 degree heat is the material we now have for our blogs. Although painful for you, this blog post is hilarious!

  11. Oh lordy, I googled derecho and I may never visit the midwest again. Crap and super crap.
    You have more than enough blog-matter for the next year. Run away from home. You need a vacation. Of course you need a vacation. I toss Florida into the mix, 3 spare rooms, a fishing boat, flushing commodes and wild bunnies on the lanai.
    How can we help? What can we send?

  12. Oh my goodness! The other lady is right, at this point, all you can do is laugh.
    I do hope your troubles are now over, so the rebuilding can begin.

  13. Well, I feel all flushed after having read that. It always makes me feel satisfied to stand up, turn around, and watch everything disappear down the poop chute. Plus, if you stand up right away, no excremental splash can reach you and leave a mark.

    Hope it's all working out well now!

  14. Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my GOSH!!!
    I laughed myself silly through reading that....

    ...but I feel so DIRTY about doing it!!!

    So dirty, in fact, that I think I might better treat myself to a long, luxurious, hot in lovely air conditioned Taj Mahal of a house.

    You have CERTAINLY reminded me, once again, to count my blessings.

    Asking God to end your run of bad luck NOW, and send you some wonderful blessed help, and repairs that leave you and your life better off than ever.

    Hugs, hon!!!

  15. Hate to tell you Dawn - I think you are cursed. However, this is a riotous recounting of said curse!

  16. fantastic post and Thanks for sharing this info. It's very helpful.
    B&B in Jaipur

  17. Oh my word. Dawn. That is some crazy Friday the 13th kinda luck right there!! Sheesh! Hopefully things are on the upswing! Because really, you need a boatload of good karma coming your way.
    Where's the nearest decent hotel? Let me treat you and your fam to a good, clean night or two...

  18. Truth is always and by far stranger than fiction. Honestly you just could not make this kind of shit up!

    I hope things turn around for you soon. They can't possibly get any worse- right?

    You definitely have a way with words and I would invite you guys to come stay here for a while but our weather is not much better. Sad but true.

  19. Flush toilets make us better! Neither set of grandparents had flush toilets or electricity for many of my growing up years. I'm no "Little House on the Prairie" kind of person so it would shake me up when I stayed there.
    You have my unending admiration for your pluck in such difficult circumstances.
    And yeah, OH is supposed to be boring...
    And you are very funny, woman...

  20. Dawn, I sincerely wish I could offer you and yours a place to stay whilst your lives got back on track.

    Because you're right: it's dang hot (here, too!) and flushing is a must.

    You're a little fireplug of a gal. :-)



  21. Holy crap! What a story! We're in a total drought here...I don't feel so unlucky now after reading your story. Sounds like we need to orchestrate a telethon for you. Good thing that falling on your head didn't take your sense of humor away. Hang in there!

  22. First time to your blog, and I really enjoyed it. Will definitely be popping by again. Thanks :)

  23. I'm sorry for the disaster that occurred, but the first few lines of your post had me laughing out loud. Someone who can make camping/homelessness hilarious deserves indoor plumbing with all its perks, ie. flushing.

  24. I used to ask my dad what he thought was the greatest invention of all. Without a moment's hesitation he said "indoor plumbing." Maybe you should take a nice trip to India while you're still in the mood.

  25. RJ - I can't emphasize enough the importance of toilets.
    Heidi - Of course they had to poop immediately! Of course they did. :)
    Linda - Please - laugh. :) If I don't laugh at this, I'll cry. And what good does that do?
    Ron - The insurance adjuster has been a whole 'nother nightmare indeed. Thx for all the offline advice. :)
    Ami - Thanks for the hugs. We will be fine, eventually - the power is back on, so that's something, huh? The toilets flush now.
    Jayne - If you're laughing, I'm doing my job.
    Jen - I def. want to come see you sometime in NYC! I don't think you want all four of us though. You wouldn't be able to move! Thx, sweetie.
    Boom Boom - If you don't keep moving, you fall over, right?
    MTM - You had me at Walmart. And blow up pool.
    Jen - What the Sam Hill is up with the freaky Ohio weather? Isn't the mind-numbing boredom enough here?
    Diva - You're a doll. A nice box of wine would suffice! Haha. We will be OK.
    Dawn - Things are SLOWLY returning to normal. I was supposed to get my Beetle back last night. Note that I said "supposed to." Didn't work out.
    Fragrant - Yes. Flushing is so...satisfying. As well as sanitary.
    Susan - Thank you for your prayers - so appreciated. And please - laugh! That's why God put me here, I think. :)
    Barb - I'm starting to wonder.
    Jess - We are back in, power on. Took me a while to get this posted due to lack of time and wifi. Thank you, dearie. :)
    Pixie - the weather is FREAKY this year in the midwest. No rain, hurricanes. It makes me edgy.
    Darlene - Yes. Again, i cannot emphasize enough the importance of flushing.
    Pearl - a 'fireplug'! I like that. Thank you, my friend!
    Teri - how about a boxed wine telethon? Jerry Lewis, maybe? "Dawn NEEDS your boxes of wine..."
    Simone - Thank you! Yes, please come back when there are less in the way of natural disasters. Things are much less serious then.
    Sandra - Please - laugh. It's all i can do it this point!
    Murr - Your Dad was a wise, wise fellow.

  26. I've said it before and I'll say it again: GREAT GOOGLI MOOGLI! What a saga! I'm sure we'll find out if everything is back to "normal" but my God. All you can do is laugh, right? And put a little direct pressure on that lopped-off finger.
    Piece of advice re: flushing...
    If it's brown, flush it down. If it's yellow, let it mellow.
    Or couldn't you even do that?
    If that's the case....
    I always thought that about Ohio, too. The worst thing you have there are the Cavaliers.
    Guess I was wrong.

  27. You poor thing! I'd be totally unfit to live with. Hang in there!

    Btw, when you do have functioning toilets, please do flush that 50 shades of grey piece of shit.

  28. Penwasser - Exactly. Ohio's boring weather kind of makes the rest of the never-ending dullness here bearable. Now, we don't even have that.
    Candice - Once I get out of the fetal position, I may be OK. Hahaha! *crazy eyes*

  29. It's absolute that tragedy has struck when going to the office is the preferable option.
    Oh holy hell what a nightmare Dawn. I kinda want to go take a poop right now just so I can flush in your honor.

  30. Vixen - Yes, yes - you have pinpointed the real tragedy here: The cube was preferable to the house.

  31. Wow - another example of truth being stranger than fiction. The Hollywood movies filled with events like this are not supposed to really happen right?
    Good to see the power of humor at work - just a damn shame it can't flush the poop.

  32. Yes, Bill - parts of this were definitely like a movie - especially watching the car wreck while my hub was calling me about the "tornado" (part one). Very, very surreal.

  33. Oy that must have been downright awful. I really sympathize with you. I hope you get back to normal pronto.
    As to Flushing, my spouse grew up in Flushing N.Y. Don't know what that has to do with anything, but there it is.