Wow what a week we have had and can I just say the evil one is not going to win the war but he may have won some battles. Day 75 was actually Tax Day here in the U.S., April 15th, 2015. It was a couple of Wednesdays ago and nothing out of the ordinary happened. I had work and the wife did homeschooling. That evening we had a week off from our kid’s ministry at church and had some extra time with the family. It was nice because our neighbor was able to give the kids a box which they in turn used for fun by makingtheir own version of “Flat Stanley”. Once they had played for a while as Stanley we decided we needed desert and to celebrate. We don’t do the tooth fairy so went out for froyo (frozen yogurt) to celebrate my son loosing his 2nd tooth by pulling out. Day 75 was done. Day 76 was similar but with prep work for moving day on the morning of Day 77 (my favorite # by the way). While cleaning off the roof of pine needles and small branches I was able to take in a beautiful evening sunset. And with that the sunset of peace in our HOW came to an end. I knew it was bound to happen sometime, I just expexted it to be about a year in, not months into our new adventure. Not many people will guess this nor do they want to k.ow about it but lets just say Howard was baptized into the world of black tank overflow. Call it lack of fucus from doing to many things and having a neighbor stop by for a quick hello. That and I had changed the flow of water into the tanks by rerouting the hose I usually use. You know you have a problem when you hear water flowing in areas where it should not be flowing… Like the back door.
With an hour of hazmat cleaning and a not so happy wife we got the kids to bed in a well ventilated bunkhouse. We moved that next morning from Thunderbird Resort in Monroe to La Conner Resort in well, La Conner. Nothing exciting but I knew La Conner had small/tight sites and narrow roads so I had a lot of thankfulness for getting there when I did because the sites filled up fast after I got into ours. After unpacking we found our first issue with the site and the park. The sewer hose connection was almost up hill and about 20′ away from our front tank connection. With all of my Eagle Scout’in-Redneck’in skills in hand I got most of it to work with the final thought that the next move should be interesting. You can’t really tell from the photo but there is very little slope in the waste pipe and in some spots it goes up-hill which is the issue. For newbies just remember the secret to plumbing waste is “it all needs to flow down hill”. (Expect an update next week after we move) Ok, so we are set up unpacked and ready to enjoy our new site, which I will say was beautiful in appearance but needs some work on certain communication issues. I’ll post more about the actual park later but for our issues I’ll keep it brief and try not to rant to much. Back to that prior issue, hazmat cleanup from black tank overfill. As one would imagine, we had some laundry to do so we took some loads to the parks laundromat. All was going well untill we went to start the machines. Quarters are needed??? They did not have the card activation like the last 2 parks we’ve been to. So unload clothes and wait for enough cash to show up to run all we need. Well while waiting to start the washers, somewhere in the park a main water line was damaged by another camper trying to maneuver their rig around. Tha means no water for the washers which means no clean laundry for this family. This usually would not have been a problem but we were pretty much out of towels from the cleanup and we were starting to get desperate as it was late in the day and getting to late to go into town. We ended up having to wait for the next day when the water had been fixed only to have my wife run into an error code on all of the machines she tried. For those not familiar with this code it means there is a filter issue, most likely from dirt in the broken water main. So my wife uttered words she did not want to think about “unload the machines kids were going to town”. I felt so bad for my wife as it should have been a simple task that turned into a multi-day all out adventure with four kids in tow. Remember we started this adventure on the Thursday before and the laundry finally got done on Wednesday. There is more to this and I’ll let my wife post about that. So we got home that Wednesday after a great night at our Kid’s ministry night at church only to find a sickish dog that had exploded out of both ends while we were gone. More hazmat cleanup? UUUUUgh!!! Thank goodness for rubber gloves, clorox wipes, flexible cutting boards (later trashed), resolve carpet cleaner and Fabreez, oh and a back door to the rig that was able to allow the wife and kids to come in, get to bed and not have to go through the contamination zone. Day 82 done but guess what, the attack was still on. The next night it appeared that I needed to empty the black tanks again from heavy use over the weekend. Remember the two items from before concerning low slope and higher water flow. Well they got me again. I started the drain, flush, drain, repeat sequence and in mid flush/fill my redneck pipe setup fell over and created an even bigger flow issue as in it probably would not flow. So while trying to fix that issue the front tank was still filling until I heard a trickle of water and my wife shouting my full name. Again my mind raced with “oh crap, this is not good”. Litterally it was exactly that again but this time it was caught with very little overflow and a new knowledge on what to do and all of the cleaning supplies on hand. So hazmat cleanup done, again, and again I’m off to the park’s laundromat which now has water and finctioning machines. But if you thought there were no issues you would have been wrong. Remember, this place doesn’t take debit and evidently it does not have a cash machine that takes newer bills that have color on them. So off I go to the front office to report that the change machine had eaten my $5 bill only to be told “yeah, it doesn’t take the colored bills” and that a guy will have to go and check on it and will get back to us. So now I’m short on money again and have to wait hours until my wife returns with a roll of quarters. And with about 10 loads of laundry done over the 10 days of #75 to #85 we survived. Just like Andy Dufrane in Shawshank Redemption we had litterally crawled through what seemed like a mile of the grossest, most foulest moments so far of our journey, only to come out clean on the other side. We prayed a lot that 10 days and communicated very well as a parenting couple and learned a lot about a lot of different things, like – don’t leave the valves when flushing the black tanks – always have quarters on hand for laundry because you never know. – always ask the staff about laundromat procedures and most importantly ALWAYS, always take time to enjoy what God has put into your life no mater how bad it may stink. He usually has so much more in store for us. There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV)