I went to the laundry room yesterday here at Mom's to do laundry. I noticed a large digging machine in her back yard (a Bobcat to be exact).
"Why is that digger in the backyard?"
"Because they are fixing the septic tank."
"But I need to do laundry. And dishes. And I need a shower."
"Well, the water will be shut off soon."
"But MOOOOM!! What about Shit Creek??"
My mother is not very good with seeing the big picture. She was completely forgetting that we have a wedding coming up this weekend, and we are moving out of her house finally. In order to move, we have to have the back door accessible for the pickup. The septic tank is directly behind the back door. Where there was once concrete, there is now a large, dirty, muddy mess. Moving our stuff out of the house will now be very challenging.
Possibly the most disconcerting effect of this short-sighted digging in the backyard is the loss of our beloved "Shit Creek."
Between six months and a year ago, my mother's very old septic tank decided it had enough of our shit and went on strike. The resulting mess amounted to a large lagoon of sewage water in the lot behind the house, and a stream of sewer water going from our septic tank to the lagoon, above the ground. My son, Colton, affectionately named it "Shit Creek." We have had several months of laughs and jokes about shit creek at our house. One night while visiting with my friends Amanda and Cory, it was decided that Colton should be the first person to navigate Shit Creek. We had a boat picked out and everything. The kids have a large plastic sailboat, which used to be a sandbox, then a wading pool. It was moored by the tree next to Shit Creek. I tried to talk Colton into making the maiden voyage down Shit Creek in the boat. I told him he would be just like Lewis and Clark, and would be able to plant a flag or someting where Shit Creek meets Poopy Pond. In several years, people will build a monument in his name and will visit it and tell their kids and grandkids about their trip on the Shit Creek Trail. Cory, being a photographer and creative guy that he is, came up with several ideas for photo ops, my favorite being Colton and his brother, Tyler, on the bow of the boat doing a reenactment of the scene in Titanic were Jack says, "I'm the king of the world!" Colton was not interested.
Colton is getting married this Saturday. Cory agreed to do Colton's wedding and engagement pictures. Part of the arrangement made for Cory to do Colton's pictures, was that Colton would navigate Shit Creek in the boat, and we could take pictures. This gave birth to so many ideas. A pirate flag? A viking outfit? Should he recreate the picture of George Washington on the Potomac? We were giddy with excitement and I imagined the night of Colton's wedding, getting pictures of him and his bride sailing away into happiness down Shit Creek. We even had talks of holding the wedding on the banks of Shit Creek, but the bride to be vetoed this decision. Something about a white dress and dirty sewage water did not strike her fancy.
All of this excitement came to an end yesterday with the arrival of the digger. I watched in horror as they dug out around the septic tank, lowered the new one into the hole and covered it back up. Shit Creek ran dry.
As I was watching my dear brother putting the last pipe in place for the inaugural flushing of the toilet, I thought about how perfect this timing actually is. For over a year now, our family has been "up Shit Creek without a paddle." We have been stuck, mired, in this mess of poor decisions (mostly mine) and bad luck with seemingly no way to paddle out of it. This week, we have finished most of the work on our house so that we can move, Tyler has a job, Mother has her new septic tank, Colton moved into his own home and is getting married on Saturday, Mike's disability finally came through, and I have finally made peace with my new career as housewife/mom/babysitter. I suppose it is only fitting that with the dawn of the changes in our lives, Shit Creek should go by the wayside. I guess we no longer need it.
I said my private goodbyes last night and made the silent wish that our next year will not be spent navigating Shit Creek again.