Crappy Excuse

A few eagle–eyed readers out there noticed I skipped last week’s post. I have a really good excuse. No, I was not incarcerated, hung-over, or wrapped in a hug-me jacket and confined to a padded cell—thanks for asking. All of those weak-assed cop-outs would have been preferable to what actually went down, (or, more accurately, came up), but I’m warning you right now, this tale is not for the squeamish. If you can’t change a diaper or use a port-a-potty without gagging, trust me, you don’t want to go where I’m about to take you. I’ll see you next week. Okay, my hearties, I think I’ve mentioned in prior posts that I live in Malibu. Many know Malibu as a celebrity hideaway, a source of reliable waves, or a picturesque stretch of Pacific Coast Highway. There is a dark side of the ‘Bu. We have no sewage system. That’s right. We’re all out here sitting on our own shit. The local no-growth contingent insists a sewer would be the first step down a slippery slope leading to such horrors as a hardware store, a Target, or, I don’t know, ocean water that won’t give you Hepatitis. I really don’t buy the whole un-checked growth argument. Malibu isn’t off the grid. Not by a long shot. I don’t have my own generator, for Christ’s sake. Hubs and I don’t trek to the town well every morning balancing clay pots on our noggins. We enjoy electricity and running water just like everyone else in California. Hell, we even have Fios. Separating sewer from the other basic utilities sounds to me like a big load of you-know-what.

Outhouse 1

I secretly believe our lack of sewer is less an anti-growth thing and more a money thing. If a smaller sewage project in lower Malibu serves as any indication, we can’t put a proper, centralized sewer in Malibu for a penny less than all the money in the world. Instead, most homes, including ours, have septic systems. Fine and dandy. Flush the enzymes. Get the tank pumped once a year, and everything works…except when it doesn’t. But don’t expect a lot of advanced warning when things fail to flow. I heard a funny gurgle coming from the toilet last Sunday night when I drained the tub after the little guy’s bath. Later, while we sat in my bedroom watching “Go Diego Go!” I noticed a distinctly funky smell. The four-year-old swore it wasn’t him. The dog gave me an innocent look. Then I went to my bathroom for something or other, and discovered…the unspeakable…gurgling up from the drain in the shower.

I immediately called a local plumbing and pumping company, which was closed, of course, and left a semi-articulate message. Apparently I relayed my call-back number clearly enough, because a very calm woman contacted me after not too long and assured me she could send someone between nine and eleven the next morning, provided I was willing to pay for an emergency visit. My response went something along the lines of, “Lady there’s shit backing up into my shower. If that doesn’t qualify as an emergency, I don’t know what does.” We made it through the night. I won’t give you details, but, suffice to say, it wasn’t pretty. By ten a.m. the next day, I was on the phone with the plumber, sounding like a stalker girlfriend. “Where are you? What are you doing? How soon can you be here?"

They came, they snaked, they pumped, and they told me not to flush paper towels down the toilet anymore. I don’t, I assured them. The little guy just looked up at the ceiling and whistled. Hmm.

Sooo…still want to give me shit for missing a blog post? I didn’t think so.

Happy Martin Luther King Day. In case you were looking for something more inspiring than my crappy excuse, here’s a link to the full text of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech,