Oh what a night!

What do you think happens when a germophobic neat freak discovers an unexplained sewer backup in both bathrooms at 10 o’clock at night, just as she is winding down her day before going to bed?

That’s right: I was up until after 5 a.m. this morning, cleaning and disinfecting everything.

It could have been worse. Back in February of 2011, after a string of below zero nights ruptured a cast iron pipe under the bathroom of our previous residence, I spent the better part of a week shoveling and double bagging the lake of raw sewage that was under the house. I wore a heavy-duty respirator mask, knee high rubber boots, industrial rubber gloves on top of disposable plastic gloves, and a head-to-toe rubber rainsuit, my “home made hazmat suit.” Now, THAT was the hardest job this germophobic grandma has ever done. And, I did it all by myself. We didn’t have the money back then to hire somebody like Roto Rooter, and I was the only one who could fit through the narrow trap door.

Here’s a picture my husband took at that time, when I was reaching up for a much needed bottle of water:


I added the caption several years ago because yeah, it’s amazing what you can accomplish when you have no other choice! By the time we discovered the broken pipe under the house, a number of days had passed and every toilet flush during that time had gone straight down into the crawlspace. Eeeew, it was GROSS. What was really sad: just when I thought I had shoveled out all of the sewage, I found a second lake of sewage on the other side of a foundation wall that ran down the middle of the crawl space. Augh!!

What’s the hardest job you’ve ever done? I would love to hear from you. Thank you for stopping by. Here’s a big grandma ((HUG)) if you need one. (Don’t worry, I scrubbed really good with antibacterial soap!)

God bless. Oh what a night! πŸ˜‚

44 thoughts on “Oh what a night!

  1. simplywendi October 23, 2019 / 1:32 pm

    wow! that sounds aweful and I hope you have had some sleep since then! I think the worse “job” I have ever had was when the entire family ended up with the stomach flu and I had to take care of 4 kids also being ill……..I will spare the details but laundry was going 24/7 for a week. I thought is would NEVER end. πŸ™‚
    but, compared to being in a crawl space shoveling sewage, mine was easier……..

    Liked by 3 people

    • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote October 23, 2019 / 2:32 pm

      You know what, Wendi? I think your job was harder. Four kids with the stomach flu, plus you had the flu? That’s too sad. No, I would rather be shoveling sewage out of a crawl space, than go through that.

      Although I did have to get a tetanus shot, after getting hung up on a rusty nail under the house, and I really hate getting shots, it’s a PTSD trigger for me. Long story. But, four kids with the flu, while you were sick as well? You definitely win the prize! πŸ˜‚

      Liked by 2 people

      • simplywendi October 23, 2019 / 2:44 pm

        Oh no, I don’t want the prize πŸ™‚ but I have to admit, I have prayed that will never happen again. πŸ™‚ It was a week of hell.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote October 23, 2019 / 2:53 pm

          I know it was. When I was twelve and the eldest, at that time, of five — the other four were all preschoolers, then, the youngest still in diapers — we all got the stomach flu. The wall to wall carpeting had to be ripped out after that. But, as I was one of the sick kids, not an adult in charge, I don’t count that as one of my hardest jobs. I was just lying around being sick, along with everyone else.

          However, I was the one who made the unilateral decision to rip up and throw out the carpeting, afterward. And I did that all by myself. The parent in the family was drinking too much back then, to take any notice.

          Liked by 2 people

          • simplywendi October 23, 2019 / 3:28 pm

            God bless you for taking such amazing care of your siblings and taking out that carpet. So, you do understand what I went through…..it was so bad and we had to throw things away as I was scared to put some of it in my washer for fear of infecting laundry in the future.
            Isn’t it amazing how at those moments we wonder how in the world are we ever going to get through it and somehow, with God’s grace, we do! πŸ™‚

            Liked by 1 person

  2. ibikenyc October 23, 2019 / 1:37 pm

    Not so much “liking” as “acknowledging.”


    I am without words, or at least adequate ones, but I will say that I am humbled by your fortitude.

    Liked by 2 people

      • ibikenyc October 23, 2019 / 3:58 pm

        As Ralph Kramden would say: Hommina; hommina! Thank you kindly πŸ™‚

        (Some consider it stupidity; others, feeble-mindedness!)

        Liked by 2 people

          • ibikenyc October 24, 2019 / 6:18 am

            Hommina; hommina!

            Aww, thank you so much! Wish I knew how to create a blushing emoticon πŸ™‚

            Hope you’re doing well today!

            Liked by 1 person

            • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote October 24, 2019 / 12:25 pm

              I’m doing great now. Yesterday afternoon, I had to make a trip to the ER when something sharp and very painful flew into my eye, when I was brushing our big dog after she had been rolling in our recently mowed yard. I think it was a piece of a goathead sticker, which we get a lot of. But yaay, the foreign object was flushed out, the pain is gone, and then I got seven whole hours of sleep last night. That’s a lot for me.

              I hope you are doing well today. It’s snowing here now. Four days ago our high was in the low 80s. That’s New Mexico weather! How’s NYC?

              Liked by 1 person

              • ibikenyc October 24, 2019 / 5:40 pm

                Just looked up “goathead sticker.” Oh, my GOSH! That musta hurt! I’m sure I’m nowhere near so glad as you that it got flushed out.

                Seven hours! I’m jealous πŸ™‚ Good for you!

                Today it got up to the high sixties (low 70s?) with super-low pressure: Literally not a cloud in the sky. I had stuff to do so I was out in it and walked about 2.5 miles.

                I intensely dislike cold weather, but I love snow. It’s so pretty.

                (I, too, would love to see photos of all that wild weather you described!)

                Liked by 1 person

  3. Sue Cass October 23, 2019 / 2:12 pm

    My new room mate and I just went through an up all night due to smoke alarms screaming throughout the house. The fire dept. was called, found nothing on fire, thank you Jesus! and left because they turned off while the fire truck was screaming to my house. They no sooner left and I dozed off to sleep when the smoke alarms came screaming back on. Back comes the firemen. No it wasn’t because I had old batteries because they were just here three days before changing out all my batteries because I’m old and do not need to be on ladders. $150.00 bill for an electrician to come and change out a smoke detector. They’re all wired into the house so if one goes bad they ALL scream! We got to bed at 4:00 a.m. Thank God it wasn’t septic!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote October 23, 2019 / 2:38 pm

      Screaming smoke detectors all night, yikes! I remember reading something about that on your blog. Fire is something I really, REALLY don’t like, so that would put me over the edge. I’m so glad it was a false alarm. What caused the problem, did you ever figure it out?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sue Cass October 23, 2019 / 3:14 pm

        There was a short in one of the units, in the attic of course, and had to replace the whole unit. They’re all tied into one line and if one goes bad or has a bad battery they ALL go off. Grrrr

        Liked by 2 people

  4. @PreacherBiker October 23, 2019 / 2:16 pm

    Love it

    Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bruce October 23, 2019 / 2:34 pm

    Years ago we bought a house from my wife’s brother. It was a split level house where half of the basement was as per a normal basement and the other half was basically a crawl space. Only problem being, that is where my brother-in-laws large dog used to do his thing. As I recall there were about ten wheel barrels of the stuff that had accumulated over the years, not to mention other crawly things that grow in that stuff (you really don’t want to know). I’m thinking that was the worst. Never bought anything but a home with a finished basement after that. Fun times! Blessings.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote October 23, 2019 / 2:47 pm

      Oh my, ten wheel barrels! I grew up in a split level house just like you describe, plus my husband and I have two dogs, one is the size of a large Labrador Retriever. I clean up after them every single day. So I can imagine, exactly what you’ve described…. Ewww, shudder!

      We don’t have a crawl space or a basement here, this place is on a slab. The plumbing all seems to be working fine today. We’re on the city sewer system, so it’s not a septic problem. I’m kind of tip toeing around, hoping it doesn’t happen again!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Looking for the Light October 23, 2019 / 3:23 pm

    I would have done as you did but after much gross out, what is can I possiblly do and probably throwing up.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. tidalscribe October 23, 2019 / 5:37 pm

    My son had his friend and the friend’s friend over for a sleep over when they were about 13. I had to get up very early for work. About 3am our bedroom door flew open and my son said – name forgotten – been sick in his sleeping bag!I think we all know that cleaning up after someone else’s child is worse than for your own! But better than digging up raw sewage….

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote October 23, 2019 / 6:45 pm

      Yikes, throwing up in a sleeping bag, not cool. And you’re right, cleaning up after other people’s children is a lot harder. I was a nanny for about a year, so I know!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. seekingdivineperspective October 23, 2019 / 10:27 pm

    My respect for you has gone up even higher than its previous level… yikes …
    I remember late one night when my husband was out of town, wading knee-deep through backed up water in the basement, trying to rescue my son’s stereo speakers and unplug the washer and dryer. I’m less germophobic than … electricophobic??? Anyway, I’m grateful I got that done without electrocuting myself. Thank You, Jesus.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote October 23, 2019 / 11:09 pm

      Oh my… wading through a flooded basement to unplug electrical appliance? Now that takes grit! Definitely more terrifying than germs.

      If I weren’t so tired right now, I would tell you about the time I climbed an electrical pole when I was a 6 year old tomboy. It was the old fashioned kind of utility pole, with metal spikes up the sides. Monkey that I was, my intention was to swing from the wire! I don’t even know what was wrong with me! But my plan didn’t go the way I expected, at all… Thank You, Jesus, indeed. 😊

      By the way, your book on prayer — do you plan to make it available on Kindle?


      • seekingdivineperspective.com October 26, 2019 / 8:09 pm

        As far as I know, all my books are available on Kindle. Let me know if you have a hard time getting it, and I’ll check into it. (Thanks for asking!)
        Just in case you forgot the 9ratrher long) title, it’s:
        “BARRIERS (So, if prayers are so powerful, how come mine don’t get answered?)” by Ann Aschauer

        Liked by 1 person

      • seekingdivineperspective.com October 26, 2019 / 8:10 pm

        Your utility pole story sounds like a good one. Maybe you can write it as a blog in the near future? πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Nyssa The Hobbit October 24, 2019 / 12:41 am

    Ugh! Nothing compares to your fun of 2011, but I’ve been through my own backup: Back in 2003, while we were preparing to buy our condo, we’d had a rough winter which kept busting a water main out front of the apartment building. They finally replaced it, but there were a lot of shutoffs that winter. That might have had something to do with one of our pipes bursting months later.

    But we didn’t know it was busted, because it was hidden in a closed furnace room in the basement; we rarely went in there.

    Then one evening, the hubby uses the upstairs bathroom and then leaves to go through the new condo with an inspector. I start hearing weird noises in the plumbing, go in the downstairs bathroom, and raw sewage is coming up out of the toilet!

    It was after hours so I had some trouble finding a plumber. I don’t even remember how or when the spewing stopped, just that I had to put towels underneath the door. Oh yeah, and I was pregnant at the time…. This little incident made it into one of my books.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote October 24, 2019 / 10:55 am

      Raw sewage spewing into your house, while you were pregnant?!?!?! I believe that takes the prize right there. πŸ†

      Liked by 1 person

  10. bornagain732 October 24, 2019 / 4:33 am

    Oh wow! Praying all is well!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote October 24, 2019 / 11:01 am

      Thanks! It’s all good now. Although weirdly it is snowing here at the moment, and the temperature is well below freezing. Just four day ago our high temp was in the low eighties. That’s New Mexico, for you. The weather here is many things, but never boring. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

      • bornagain732 October 24, 2019 / 11:03 am

        Yay! Glad it’s all good now!!
        Lol! That is some silly weather!!!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote October 24, 2019 / 12:14 pm

          No kidding. I grew up in what they called tornado alley in Missouri, in a town that had been mostly destroyed by a tornado back in the 1800s. I thought I knew what a serious storm was like. Ha! Here in New Mexico, we’ve been pounded with hail larger than baseballs, we’ve had blinding dust storms that come in like a massive wall and turn day to night within seconds (free dermabrasion!), we’ve had snow drifts ten feet high from a Goliath blizzard — that storm blew an entire freight train off the tracks about five miles from where we lived at the time, plus it blew down three big grain silos a quarter mile from our house. They were rescuing people trapped in their cars by helicopter. We’ve had hurricane force bomb cyclone winds that blow all day and all night long, and my hubby and I were once caught outdoors in the middle of a mesocyclone that had a funnel cloud tail. WEEEE that was wild!!

          Another time, a massive supercell cloud about a block wide hovered over our house. It looked like a mothership UFO, as it rotated very slowly overhead, with lightning shooting back and forth inside the cloud. That was right before the baseball to softball sized hail hit.

          We get long periods of drought that sometimes leads to terrifying wildfires, and occasional monsoon rains which produce equally terrifying flash floods.

          A few years ago we had a tumbleweed invasion in this area that literally buried houses. People were calling 911 because they couldn’t get out of their homes. Airmen from a nearby Air Force base were sent out to dig people out of the tumbleweeds. Seriously, there are YouTube videos about that, taken in the Clovis, NM area.

          Nothing drives you to your knees faster than a tornado-warned storm destroying the roof directly above your head! It sounded like the bottom had fallen out of a lake right over our house. At the time, the barometric pressure dropped so low, so fast, that I felt like I was walking on the moon in zero gravity. Now that’s an eerie feeling! Afterward, there was ankle deep hail as far as the eye could see in every direction, and both the roof of our house, and my car, were totalled.

          In the summer we frequently get temperatures in the 100s. In the winter, the lows sometimes go below zero. I love it here, though. This is where I met my best friend hubby, sixteen years ago this month. Some awesome people live in New Mexico. πŸ’˜πŸ’˜

          (I think I need to turn this comment into a blog post. I took pictures of most of these wild weather events. Later, when I have more time, I will put a post together, complete with my pictures.)

          Liked by 3 people

          • bornagain732 October 24, 2019 / 12:32 pm

            β€œ This is where I met my best friend hubby, sixteen years ago this month. Some awesome people live in New Mexico. πŸ’˜πŸ’˜β€
            Loved this comment! Yes to a post with your pictures!!!

            Liked by 2 people

  11. Diane Stephenson October 24, 2019 / 7:47 pm

    All I can say is “YUCK!” I don’t think I could have coped with that. I can’t recall anything of that extreme happening to me, but then I have never owned my own home. I have always lived in an apartment and there is always someone to look after those things. Though I have had water pouring through the ceiling on several occasions, once in between the walls. On one of those occasions it was in the middle of the night and I was leaving for vacation the next morning. Another thing that happened years ago when I was at a retreat in Florida that was a little scary. I was staying in what they called a dorm but was just a trailer filled with bunk beds. One night after a lot of rain and going from the church to the dorm, I had to take off my shoes and socks and wade through ankle-deep water in the dark wondering if there were any snakes in that water–or anything else nasty. I made it there without incident. I admire you for tackling such a chore, but it is amazing what we are capable of when necessity calls.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote October 24, 2019 / 11:13 pm

      Wading barefoot in the dark through floodwaters in an area known to have snakes… I think that might be worse than cleaning up sewage. At least the sewage doesn’t bite!

      We do get rattlesnakes here in New Mexico. One day I was doing yard work when I heard the distinctive sound of a rattler. I froze, looked all around, knowing that a neighbor two houses down had recently killed a 6′ rattlesnake in her yard. I couldn’t see a snake, but I heard it loud and close. It sounded like it was coming from overhead.

      I was standing under a big old elm. Carefully I looked up. Two mockingbirds were directly above me! I had heard them mimicking my phone’s ring tone, many times. That was the first time I heard them mimic a rattler!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Diane Stephenson October 25, 2019 / 11:29 am

        I would have been terrified. Glad it wasn’t an actual snake. On the lighter side, many years ago I had a friend who was pregnant and the baby’s father wanted nothing more to do with her. I invited her to go out of town with me to my parents for a weekend. Because of lack of space, we had to share the double bed in my old bedroom. In the middle of the night (when the only thing I wanted to do was sleep) she woke me up because she had wet the bed. Well, that just struck me as so funny I couldn’t help laughing even though I knew she was embarrassed.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote October 25, 2019 / 12:58 pm

          I probably would have laughed, too. I say that, even though I did the same thing once when I was pregnant with my third child. Baby kicking full bladder — there’s not much you can do. And yes, I was embarrassed! 😳


  12. marianbeaman October 25, 2019 / 7:34 am

    I’m glad this is all behind you – what a stinky MESS! The closest I’ve come to this is wearing a mask in the attic when we rummaged through 90 years of rubbish (some treasures though!) cleaning out my aunt’s large stash of stuff. It was smelly, but it wasn’t WET!

    My favorite line in your post: It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you have no other choice! That’s true in art (writing blog posts) and in life.

    Have a blessed weekend, Linda Lee!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote October 25, 2019 / 9:07 am

      Thank you, Marian. Cleaning out an attic with 90 years of stuff? Yes, I would be wearing a mask, too.


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