This house selling business is not for sissies. Let me tell you about my relations with Roto Rooter this week. They came out to inspect our septic system and our hot water heater. First, the septic. They dug two whopping holes in my yard and opened the tank holding all the shit we have produced for 17 years. Then they proceeded to pump it out into a truck. (I vacated the premises during this procedure, wondering how people get into this trade. I can’t recall ever hearing a child say, “I want to pump shit when I grow up.”) Their comment about the pump-out was that they had never seen any septic tank so full of dental floss. I said, “wow, that means we have very clean teeth.” Upon reflecting on their description of what kept getting tangled in their pumping machinery, I realized it wasn’t dental floss but hair extensions from 10 years of raising a Black daughter with braids. After the pumping, they tested our leach lines and told me that they appeared to have failed. Failed leach lines can cost a lot of money. After chewing my leg off and running screaming down the hill (in reverse order because you can’t run with your leg chewed off), I ate an ice cream sundae to cheer myself up. But the next day Roto Rooter came back to dig more holes in my yard, only to discover that, woo-hoo, the leach lines were not the problem. The person who built the septic system had put in 3 feet of pipe between the septic tank and the leach lines for an unknown reason and the pipe was completely overgrown with roots. Apparently all our shit has been draining into our yard behind the bedroom and not leaching into the leach field. Yummy. How did that escape notice? Roto Rooter cut out the pipe and the roots and put in a new little piece of pipe. Then they ran water from my garden hose down the thing for awhile and finally proclaimed my leach lines “capable of carrying a full load.” Sounded to me like a toddler with a messy diaper. With the septic squared away, they turned to my hot water heater, which they replaced with a brand new version. The new one sounds like a truck coming down our driveway whenever the gas turns on, and at intervals it makes a crash like cymbals when it finishes reheating the water. What fun. All systems go.