A Stinky Situation

Our house is, shall we say, vintage. Which suits me just fine. I have said for years that I was born in the wrong era… the 1950’s would have suited me much better. The cars had class and substance, the appliances were just cool, the fashions SO much more my speed, the pace of life and culture my comfort zone. And our house is from that era. Along with its septic system.

Now. When our house was originally built, it was tiny. One bedroom, a galley kitchen, one bathroom. Some industrious person in the ’60s or ’70s added on two good sized bedrooms, making the tiny cottage into a 3/1. When my family got ahold of it five years ago, we knocked out the wall between the living room and kitchen, so the kitchen doesn’t feel like a closet any more. But there is still just one bathroom.

When I lived here as a single mom with six kids, the one bathroom was an adventure. But the antiquated septic system just kept trucking… I knew I would have to replace it one day, but just not TOday. So I babied it along, kept my fingers crossed, and prayed a lot. It held.

Enter my hero and the brown eyes. Overnight, the little house’s occupancy doubled. The bedrooms sprouted more bunk beds, the yard grew bicycles and stilts galore, and the septic system screamed in terror. We made it a few months, but back in December I noticed a smell. Ick.

When my hero went to investigate, he didn’t investigate for long. Without going into disgusting detail, we will just say that it was obvious that the time was NOW for some drastic measures. Like, a new system. Oddly enough, the system designed for one or two people was simply unable to keep up with the demands of 13 people. 

The adventure of finding a contractor, permits, inspections and the attendant red tape began. We put up a temporary fence to keep small people out of the leak zone. And waited. Weather- family issues- more weather- and finally, yesterday, the work began.

Our contractor is so neat. He handles a disgusting job with humor and fun- the kids love watching the heavy equipment rip through the dirt effortlessly. I bet the septic guy has never smashed the old tanks to more fanfare… the cheers from the peanut gallery were resounding. And it was not without educational value: the kids learned about grade and drainage and the awesome power of machinery. Getting them to do their regular schoolwork while the drama was going on outside… that was another story. I’ve herded cats more easily.

This looks like the kids are close to the action, but they were restricted to the back porch. Matter of fact, they mostly lived on the back porch yesterday…probably will today as well. He set the tanks yesterday, and today will finish the drain field. And I am so very thankful. The septic system was one of those quiet little concerns that lurked in the back of my mind for years. It was a bummer when it happened, but at least now we won’t have to worry about that any more. Who knew that septic tanks could look so beautiful?

Cheaper by the Dozen

So amazingly, caring for and schooling a family of 11 kids keeps me kind of busy. Blogging has most definitely taken a back seat. But the holidays are over, hubby is on a three month seven days a week work jag, and we are finding our groove again. Well, we were. Life’s most predictable attribute is its unpredictability.  Just when I was beginning to get my game face back on, figure out how to school and homemake and farm like a boss… morning sickness kicked in.

Yes, you read that right. Our dozen will be complete in August. And right now, this tiny little person who isn’t even big enough to make me look pregnant is kicking my butt. Tired, nauseous, tired… well, let’s just say I love my naps these days. The kids have been great helpers,  and my inability to stay upright all day long has forced me to do what the older kids have been begging me to do for a while: let them cook.

I love cooking for my family. I love making healthy, filling meals for everyone. My hero complains- he says I am making him fat. But he doesn’t stop asking for seconds, so I don’t take his complaining too seriously. Anyway, with my sense of smell on overload and *ugh* raw meat too much for me to handle, I have had to press the older kids (12 and up) into a cooking rotation. They love it. Undoubtedly,  it goes better if I am able to coach from the sidelines- but the food is usually edible, and the experience for them is priceless. 

They are all excited about the new baby. They all think THEY should choose the baby’s name- THEY ALL are going to be the new baby’s buddy (I’ll come back to our buddy system later)- and they all can’t wait to meet him or her. I am so thrilled that they are happy. And my favorite quote from my favorite movie sums up my feelings on the subject:

“You see, this baby won’t have to worry if he’s a Yours or a Mine. He is just… OURS.