The man stepped down from his truck cab, lifted his baseball cap, and scratched his forehead. Huh. How was he going to squeeze a very large septic-pumping truck through an very small space?
Let me explain …
Several days prior to the septic truck’s arrival on our yard, my husband borrowed my ex-husband’s trailer. What has one to do with the other? Well…nothing and everything.
Our plan was to get a load of black dirt to augment a flower bed in dire need of rejuvenation. The bed in question sits on top of our septic system. Eleven years ago when we moved to this house I was determined to disguise the ugly white plastic septic tank caps that look like a failed Wal-Mart version of Stonehenge, and planted a massive sea of daylilies over them. Over time, and after perhaps one too many dog-squirrel chases through the foliage, the bed was looking rather tattered.
Since my husband’s SUV doesn’t have a trailer hitch, my ex offered to drive the trailer and my husband over to a local landscaping business, get the dirt, and drop husband and trailer back at our house. The two of them (heaven knows what conversations took place on that little road trip) drove off and a short while later returned with the dirt. My ex generously said we could keep the trailer until we unloaded the dirt at our convenience.
Unfortunately, when my husband and my ex parked the trailer, they failed to consider the size of the septic-pumping truck that was scheduled to arrive a few days later. My husband realized the error long after my ex and his trailer hitch had departed.
But here’s the part that fascinates me—the way men interact with each other:
Husband to septic truck driver, “I may have parked the trailer a bit too close to where you need to be. But don’t worry, I’ll stand in the yard behind your truck and guide you back. Just watch my hands.”
Septic truck driver looking at huge truck and narrow space to back yard, “I’m not sure…”
Husband, “Naw, it’ll be fine. Just watch my hands.”
Septic truck driver guns engine, backs up, takes off several tree branches. He pulls forward. My husband continues to wave him back.
Septic truck driver cranks wheels sharply to the right and backs up. More branches come off. Truck almost hits very solid, very spiky, evergreen tree. Truck driver pulls forward. My husband gives him the thumbs up. “Almost had it that time!”
Truck driver tries a third time. Misses trailer by inches and now his cab looks like a dog sniffing a tree. He stutters the truck back and forth until he is able to pull forward again. My husband moves his hands about a foot apart expectantly. It was at this point the driver stepped down and took a good look at what he was attempting to do.
My husband gives him the “you can do it” smile. “Don’t worry about the trees,” he says. Resigned, the driver gets back in the cab. After two more attempts he hits the gas in a do-or-die run. Multiple branches screech across the trucks exterior and break off. The driver decides he’s close enough. So what if he has to use a football field length of hose to pump our tank?
I notice my husband quickly and discretely pulling tree limbs dangling drunkenly off the back of the truck before the driver sees them.
“Hey, nice job. There was plenty of room after all,” hubby says blithely. The driver gives him the manly one-nod acknowledgement head move.
But wait! There is more to this man-bonding experience. Septic truck driver tries to find access pipe caps under all my daylilies. Husband tells him not to worry about killing a few daylilies. I frown. Driver ends up having to dig about two feet down through heavy clay soil as our dog Booker, helps. Husband tells driver dog is friendly. Booker jabs nose into driver’s groin. Driver grunts. Friendly indeed.
Meanwhile some sort of alarm goes off in our crawlspace. My husband comes in, does something, and alarm stops. “What was that?” I say. “I don’t know,” says husband. “But I disconnected it.” My mind is telling me alarms go off for reasons other than needing to be disconnected, but I stay quiet.
After septic truck driver leaves, my husband reconnects alarm. Alarm continues to go off. He disconnects. Repeat. Husband calls septic company. The driver says, “Have you tried disconnecting and then re-connecting the alarm?” Husband says he’ll try that. Alarm continues to go off. Husband calls driver again.
Septic truck driver returns but keeps his truck in the driveway this time. Apparently as he was digging the small, yet scenic, canyon to access the septic cap he dislodged important septic tank wires. (I never knew there were important septic tank wires.) He re-digs and re-connects the wires. Booker helps once again. Alarm stops. Septic guy leaves. My husband watches him go. “Nice guy.”
I give the one-nod acknowledgement, and think to myself, “That driver’s a freak’n saint.”