It’s a dirty job…

It’s a dirty job…

It was our understanding that José would be coming by in the morning to empty the septic tank, so we hung around and cleaned house all morning. We did some more rearranging of furniture and got the place spic and span.

Downstairs lounge

Cozy corner in the downstairs lounge

View from my upstairs desk where I work on my blog

View from my upstairs desk where I work on my blog

It was a good use of the day, but I was getting frustrated because as the day was going by and José was not making an appearance, I was thinking that we could have gone to the market in Albox that morning. People always talk about the “mañana” attitude in Spain… meaning that when you need something done, it happens “mañana.” Now whether mañana is actually tomorrow or not is debatable… I’ll be the first person to admit that I have a very loosey-goosey attitude about time and don’t like to live by a clock, so I was trying hard not to be too annoyed. Still, tick-tock, tick-tock. That’s the sound of our vacation passing by.

A knock at the door! Excitement! Was it José?? No. Theresia. She had come by to say that José had called her and when she asked if everything had gone well he said, “Oh I’m going this afternoon.” Obviously there was a bit of miscommunication somewhere, but he was calling to make sure he knew where our house was and to ask if we could meet him behind the grocery store and lead him to the house. He wanted to meet after siesta. That meant 5:00 that evening, and we wondered if he would arrive at five, or if he’d be casually late.

We were excited to drive over to the grocery store. We parked in the back parking lot, and sat in the car, craning our necks around at the slightest sound: “Is that José?” “Do you hear a truck?”

At 5:15, a tractor pulls into the parking lot. It was pulling a big tank type thing, which Curt called a Honey Pot. Seriously?? That is NOT full of honey, Honey. We waved to José and pulled in front of him, leading the way. Getting into our row of houses is a one-way operation, so Curt parked in what is a common parking area at the end of Bob’s house. (This was once a threshing circle, but now is just a grassy area for parking.) I went ahead on foot and motioned to José where the septic tank was. José realized that he needed to back the vehicle in, so he went back out of the drive and backed the tractor and tank in like he was maneuvering a Mini.

Emptying the septic in Spain

There’s no honey in that honey pot, Winnie!

I dashed upstairs to take pictures of this, our first major home maintenance activity. I wanted to document this but didn’t want to be like some freakish American paparazzi tourist, taking snapshots of this poor guy doing what I thought might be a disgusting job. Plus, I wasn’t too keen on being nearby when he opened up the lid of the septic. I was hoping that being on the upstairs balcony would keep me and my super sniffer far from any smells.

Surprisingly enough, while I was imagining myself retching in disgust, the whole operation was quick and relatively clean! He first opened up the main lid, gagged a bit, then opened up the interior lid.

Opening the septic tank

Opening the outer lid

Full septic

Eeek! Full septic!
**cough, cough**

The black bag in the picture was on top of the inner lid. I have no idea what is in it, however I do know it was not a dead cat or a big piece of liver! José said he thought it was on top of the lid to make sure it was not letting any smell out. We took his word for it. He attached the huge hoses to his transporting tank, put the other end of the hose into the septic tank, and turned on the pump.

Getting the septic tank emptied in Spain

Emptying the tank

Emptying our spanish septic tank

Chug, chug, chug…

In no time José was done. We paid him and he went on his way. We offered to let him wash sus manos, but he said he had more work to do, and said adios. We were quite happy to have gotten this accomplished because it was one of those things that we knew we were going to have to take care of, and thanks to Theresia, it was no problem. Hopefully we won’t have to get it done again any time soon. The problem with our septic is that it is not a “drain away” type because of where it is located. If it had a drain field, it would be draining into the back of our neighbor’s house, and that would stink — literally! But that also means that all the water we use goes into the septic tank. After this ordeal we will be a little more mindful of how long we take in the shower or just how much water we use in general.

Now that chore was done, we were ready to go out and explore. That’s the wonderful thing about summertime in Spain: daylight seems to last forever!

One Response »

  1. I think it’s better that you don’t have the drain away septic tank. Better to have the honey pot come by every once in a while instead of smelly summers in Spain!

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