How to Turn Your Lake House Into a Spa

After 6 days with no shower, and only being able to use the toilet in the guest house 130 feet away — which, and I might add, involved encounters with raccoons and opossums along the path at 2 a.m. — my definition of “spa” has changed dramatically. I am now grateful for the little things that make a spa so pleasant — like a shower that can actually be turned on without water backing up and filling the basement. Or perhaps being able to brush my teeth and rinse the tooth brush under running water. Or, my favorite, hand washing the dishes, and not having to carry the washtub outside each time to dump it into the weeds. And, of course, finally being able to flush. The septic guy told us it was all fixed. He ran the washer — and said everything was fine. So I ran the washer. What happened? The entire load of water and soap that was in the washer was pumped directly onto the basement floor of the house – nice and soapy — everywhere.


These things are finally possible, thanks to these wonderful men.Who, I might add, worked tirelessly over several days, and simply solved the problems wherever they found them. They are good men to know. On day one, you need to crawl down, under the foundation and check out where the problem is coming from.


Then, you take out these old cast iron pipes.


And replace them with PVC.


But, we’re still not done yet. It will still be days before you are dabbing your fresh clean toes dry with a soft terry cloth towel. Now, this is where the story starts to get funny. If that’s what you can call it at this point. We have already paid someone else to clean out the septic tank — lots of money. So, we call him and he comes out to check on the problem again. We are still assuming at this point, that he knows what he’s doing. He explains to us that that the problem is not the septic tank — but that this entire brand new PVC pipe we have just paid the plumbers to put in, is actually our “problem.” I will translate this for you – he does not want to clean out the septic tank. But, yet, this is his job.

So, at this point, my husband whips out his cell phone and gets our plumbers on the phone. And the plumbers explain this to the septic guy: “You’ve got to crawl in there and clean out the septic. There are tree roots in there.” What happens? The septic guy pretends he lost the connection on the cell phone and couldn’t hear a word the plumbers said. (“Can you hear me now?”) We completely give up on this guy and start a new search for a septic guy.
Over the next several days, we finally find some willing participants. We find this truck to come out and to completely empty your septic tank.



Job is done – it’s Thursday. We call our plumbers and give them the news. They PROMISE to come out first thing Friday morning, don a haz-mat suit, and crawl into the septic tank to clean out the tree roots.

But it’s noon on Friday, and still no sign of them.

Now, my husband, who has not showered for 6 days, and is sore from a cheap ladder that fell out from under him several days ago, and, as a result, is taking Vicodin, literally picks up his cell phone every twenty minutes (in between painting strokes) to call first, the plumber’s receptionist, and then followed by the plumber’s cell phone. No contact. The weekend is looming large — we know that if we don’t get it taken care of today — we’re stuck with no toilet for the weekend.

But, when you hear this husband’s cell phone ring, and then you hear your husband actually say the word, “GREAT.” You know that the ambiance around here is about to get better — very soon. And it’s 1 p.m. and the plumbers are on their way. It’s time to start smiling. And look who’s back. Our trusty, favorite plumbers.


And, here’s what they found.


That’s nothing but tree roots – nothing else but the biggest bunch of tree roots these plumbers have ever seen in a septic tank.


And bless his heart, here’s him cleaning up – with a smile on his face.
And so, as I sit here with my freshly washed hair, clean toes and face, I feel like I’ve been to the spa – and I didn’t even have to leave the lake.



, , ,
9 comments to “How to Turn Your Lake House Into a Spa”
  1. I’m glad everything is fixed. It’s funny – we have trouble finding service people who will actually come and do the work they’re supposed to do here, too! It tooks us months to find someone that would actually keep the appointment to show up and fix our roof.

  2. What an adventure – I’ll bet that first shower felt like a little bit of heaven raining down on you.

    We didn’t get to shower while we were camping for two days – the first shower when we got back was delightful.

    I’m so glad they finally came out and fixed it up properly – did you know going in that you had septic/plumbing problems?

  3. No — we had the place inspected by the “septic guy.” He said everything was fine. Our first trip there revealed the problem. The septic guy “fixed” it for our next visit. HA HA!

  4. Oh my goodness, Susie- there is something about septic tank stories that always give me the heebie-jeebies…
    You deserve a medal or an award!
    Well, things can only get better from here on out!

  5. I’m going to need to start over at the beginning of your lake house posts. We’ve had so many similar experiences including the septic. We only have holding tanks so we use water judiciously, collect and dump sink water and have been known to go days without showers. It’s worth it though.

  6. Pingback: One Last Summer Fling: Great Summer Reads — Susiej

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *