However, like every other prego I know there was still my looming to-do list and on my "must accomplish before this baby is born" list there was a looming script that read septic tank. Oh yes. We lived in the sticks--read in a thriving metropolis with a blinking red light and sometime about the beginning of January Paul and I started noticing that hey, there's a rather large puddle of standing water in the middle of our snow -laden backyard. Paul being the handyman that he is informed me that something was wrong with our septic and we should probably fix it before the baby was born. (emphasis and addition of said timeline by ME) So that brings us to the night before, which is consequently the title of this little tale. The night before Isabella was born.
I felt like I had gotten run over and was sitting in our basement perusing cloth diaper chat rooms and probably waiting for the next episode of The Bachelor to either load on my computer or come on TV. I don't remember which it was. Paul's outside working on the septic tank, which frankly is a little embarrassing that our septic had issues, but whatev, I was over it. About nine pm Paul comes in the front door in search of what every young, twenty-seven year old man wants at nine o'clock at night,
"Hey Tanner (he calls me by my maiden name), do we have an emergency ladder?"
What the? I know. I moved my large self upstairs, retrieved the ladder because there was no way he was tracking his septic tank self through my house for a ladder. "Call me if you need me." I said as he returned to his work, ladder in hand. Little did I know how stupid that comment was.
It was another hour or so before Paul came to bed and I was completely out of it because as we all know now, I went into labor at five AM the following day, but as I was clutching my stomach and timing contractions the next day, this is the story I was told to keep my mind off the mind-boggling pain that was threatening to rip my body in two...okay, truthfully, this was just to entertain me so I didn't freak out on the bad roads while we were trying to get to the hospital. The "rip my body in two" pain wouldn't happen for another few hours. anyways, here's my take on what happened.
Paul leaned over the edge of the septic tank putting the finishing touches on the newly installed pump. Reaching just a wee bit further he tightened the last knob as he saw, as if in slow motion his cell phone fall past his face. Splat. The phone landed in the inch or two of sludge still lining the tank.
For any other phone, this would have meant certain and irreversible death, but not for this phone, no, knowing his proclivity for dropping and submerging his phone, Paul had thought ahead and purchased a waterproof phone. But poop-proof? He wasn't sure they made them poop-proof.
Never mind, he thought to himself. I'll just get a new one, but at that very moment, he saw the purple light flash as he stared at his death-sentenced phone--a new text message. He had to get the phone now. He stared, longingly at the phone now sitting six feet below him, covered in slime and headed into the house. He was sure they had an emergency ladder and that would be just the ticket.
Opening the door to the house he called out to his wife, "Hey Tanner, do we have an emergency ladder?" About ten seconds later his wife's swollen abdomen appeared, followed shortly by the rest of her body.
"Sure, let me go grab it." she answered and he watched her waddle up the stairs hoping that the baby stayed put for just a few more days. She returned in just a few moments with the emergency ladder and handed it to him.
"How's it going?" she asked referring to the septic work.
"It's just about fixed." he said.
"Ok, well don't fall in. Call me if you need me."
If only she knew what I needed this for, he thought.
Turning back out side he unfurled the large ladder into the tank and descended down the ladder. The tank was dark and dank. Disgusting would not even begin to describe the belly of this huge aluminum system. He could see the phone, just lying there and tried reaching it, but even balanced on the last rung of the metal ladder he couldn't touch the phone. He climbed back up the rungs careful to hold tightly to the cold and slippery metal. He grabbed the shovel and proceeded back down the ladder. Balancing precariously he reached out the shovel and scooped up the phone. Don't drop it. Just don't drop it.
He drew the shovel back to himself and began the climb out of the septic tank. After throwing the shovel and the phone onto the ground he pulled himself out of the septic tank and surveyed the damages--repaired septic tank, gross shovel, disgusting phone. He picked up the mess and headed inside to sterilize the phone, but first, that message. With the tips of his fingers as to not touch as much of the phone as possible he lifted it apart and read the message for which he had descended into a filthy septic tank.