Update: March 26, 2012. Today, I am linking up with ‘Blog Bash Link Up!‘ This opportunity given to us bloggers by Ado and Alison is in honor of their 1yr Blogoversary. The requirement is simply to share your favorite post, along with a brief introduction explaining why the post is your favorite.
My favorite post is this one: My Marriage and the Septic Tank. I started blogging in January 2010, because I was at a crossroads with my life. Depression and divorce was heavily on my mind. A year later, thanks to writing, counseling and medication, I found myself in a better place. This post reminds me that crap exists but maintenance can keep the pipes of life clean.
Septic Tank Man arrived this week, and he is a super hero. Armed with an excavator, an empty tank and a long hose, Septic Tank Man was here to pump out our tank. Septic Tank Man was here to clean up our crap.
When I started this blog over a year ago, I wrote to save myself and my marriage. I was battling depression and pushing back advice to take medication, and I was ready to leave my husband. (How very logical of me to decide to leave my husband while depressed, don’t you think?) Writing gave me a place of my own, where I could freely express my thoughts in a way that allowed me to deliberate and navigate my way through the maze. Today, I have my depression under control and my marriage is solid.
Of course, even solid marriages get clogged sometimes. After all, the pipes in life are long and winding, if you do not address the weighty matter, backups and spills may occur.
Rob and I had not had our septic tank pumped since we bought the house, nearly 10yrs ago. Prior to buying the house, the inspector required the tank be pumped. According to the previous homeowner, the tank was pumped as required. However, preventive maintenance is highly recommended for proper septic tank management. Same is true for marriages. Preventive maintenance is highly recommended for proper marriage management. Septic Tank Man found our tank had not been properly maintained (or pumped) 10yrs ago. Interestingly enough, our marriage had not been properly maintained either.
As Septic Tank Man pumped our tank, he told us we needed a new baffle (which prevents solids from entering the pipes to the field lines). He also suggested we have the drain field lines jetted out. (Jetting out is when pressurized water is pumped through the lines, clearing away any solids.) If we agreed with everything the super hero suggested, we would be out around $2,500. (I’d make a septic joke here, but honestly – I’ve made enough already.)
Generally speaking, if a hired hand suggests something needs to be done, I will push to get it done. Ignorance may be blissful, but once I know a problem exists and/or a potential problem exists, I worry until the problem is solved or averted. My spouse? He is the exact opposite. He deals with life as it happens, remaining calm, cool and collected the entire time. So, when we were advised to have the lines jetted, I said, “Let’s do it!” And Rob? Rob said, “Let’s hold off.” Folks. Please step back, our marital pipes may backup at any moment.
After Septic Man flew off into the sunset, Rob and I sat down to discuss the options. $2,500 is not a small bill for anyone I know, especially us. Still, fearing an apocalypse if we didn’t take our super hero’s advice, I was ready to take out a loan, sell a kidney or do whatever was needed to get the money for the job. Seeing the alarm and panic in my eyes, Rob decided it would be best for him to share his opinion before me. I listened, as he took his typical stance with his calm, cool and collected nature. When he was done expressing his opinion, he asked for my opinion.
Suddenly, a peace came over me. I looked at Rob, and I could tell he genuinely wanted my opinion. No doubt he knew what I was going to say, but his facial expression showed me he was open to what I had to say. I was going to be heard. Wow. This was big. I’m not saying Rob never hears me, I am merely saying we’ve done this dance countless times. I know when he takes two steps to the right, I pull him two steps to the left; he pulls me back two steps, I pull him back, etc. But this time, I didn’t have to pull him. He stepped with me.
Realizing Rob was really listening, I started off by repeating what he said. I wanted to let him know that I had heard him. When I began expressing my thoughts, I surprised myself. Yes, I was leaning toward the ‘do it all as suggested’ decision, but I was not certain that was the right decision. I was questioning my typical response, and I didn’t feel anxious! Knowing Rob was listening (again, really listening), I felt safe. Amazing what having a real two-way conversation can do for decision making (let alone a marriage), eh? A final decision was not made, but a productive dialogue took place.
Later that day, Rob joined me outside. He said, “Do me a favor. Ask your friends and family about getting the lines jetted. Check with anyone you want, and get an opinion outside of me. Then we’ll talk about it again.”
My heart races with joy now, as I relive that moment. I heard him. He heard me. Neither one of us ‘freaked’ or acted disrespectfully (as we have in the past). And, to ice the cake, he asked me to get feedback from friends and family. Again I say, “Wow.”
Rob and I will call Septic Tank Man early next week to schedule a second visit. However, we will not get the drain field lines jetted out. Rob heard me. I heard him. Rob gave me the space I needed, and I gave him the practicality he needed. Septic Tank Man will return to replace the baffle – only.
Be kind, take care of yourself and each other, and keep your pipes clean!