Launching The Swamp Shuttle

We finally got our new home – hooray!

The movers come tomorrow so we’re “camping” with our bed, a couple of folding chairs, and minimal cooking gear until then; but at last we’re IN!

We’re already discovering some of our new home’s quirks.  Such as:

Our water filter’s controller periodically takes the system offline and forces water back through the filter to clear it.  When it’s backflushing, we’re not supposed to run water or flush toilets because that would allow untreated water into our system.  So the cycle is programmed to run at 3 AM when everybody’s asleep and unlikely to be using water; and it’s supposed to run for about 15 minutes.


It’s directly underneath our bedroom.  And the backflush sounds like the space shuttle launching out of a particularly viscous swamp:  A cacophony of high-decibel roaring, sucking, and gurgling.

And it’s “about 15 minutes”.  Which equals roughly an hour and a quarter.

When the first eruption rocketed me out of bed at 3:08 AM, I clung to the ceiling hyperventilating for a few seconds, then slowly lowered myself back to the mattress after I realized what was creating the godawful racket.

“Fine,” I thought.  “It’ll only run for 15 minutes, and then I’ll go back to sleep.”

But after my violent awakening and subsequent adrenaline surge, I needed to pee.  But I couldn’t because if I flushed, it would suck untreated water into our system.

I realize now that I could have peed without flushing, but in my sleep-deprived state I somehow confused the knowledge that if the water level drops in the toilet bowl (as with a flush) it will draw more water in; while if the water level rises in the toilet bowl the excess will just dribble harmlessly down the plumbing stack.  So I was afraid to pee in case it somehow sucked untreated water into our system.  No, I’m not at my best at 3 AM.

So I lay there thinking, “I can wait.  Fifteen minutes is no big deal.”

Except it wasn’t fifteen minutes.

I dozed fitfully.  Every ten minutes or so I’d wake to another barrage of borborygmi from the nether regions (the house’s; not mine, fortunately).

Check the clock.

Think, “Gawd, I’ve gotta pee.  Isn’t that thing done yet?”

Repeat in 10 minutes.

And repeat.

After an hour I was cranky and exhausted, and my back teeth were floating.  And still the infernal rumblings continued.

Finally around 4:15 AM I couldn’t take it any longer.  I got up, scurried outside into a spectacularly starry (and damn chilly) night in the silent peace of the country, and marked my territory with intense relief.

Just as I crept back into bed at 4:23, the goddamn backflush stopped.

Clearly its programming is more sophisticated than I realized:  It must have a sensor under the bed to make sure the occupants are fully awake by the time the cycle ends, and it may even have some advanced technology to determine exactly when a human bladder reaches maximum capacity… after which it runs for another 10 minutes.

Needless to say, we’ll reprogram the system.  One nocturnal shuttle launch was enough for me.

So does my swamp-shuttle experience make me an ass-tro-not?

Or only a space cadet?

36 thoughts on “Launching The Swamp Shuttle

  1. Pingback: This Week’s Been A Gas! | Diane Henders

  2. Congratulations on finally being moved in! Your home is beautiful and the setting is perfect – looks like it was always there and the trees grew up around it. I love seeing new homes where the homeowners have kept as many mature trees as possible. Make sure you unpack your lawn chairs first so you can relax outside in those gorgeous surroundings! Well, toilet paper first, THEN chairs 🙂


  3. Great place – the new house looks wonderful, space boosters from the black lagoon notwithstanding! Congrats! Also – that was hilarious, as always!


    • Thanks, I’m glad you got a chuckle! We’re loving the peace of living in the country, and once we get settled in the house will be great. But first I have to find places for all our stuff… 😉


    • Aha! That’s what it was. I just hope the other appliances and systems don’t join in. That could get ugly!

      And yes, we’re thrilled to finally be in. I keep expecting somebody to arrive pounding on our door and telling us to get out – it seems too good to be true. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Bahaha! Ah Diane, you never cease to make me crack up. One would’ve thought I’d learn not to drink my morning coffee when I read your posts, but still, there’s spit covered spray over my keyboard again.

    “Every ten minutes or so I’d wake to another barrage of borborygmi from the nether regions (the house’s; not mine, fortunately).” – I’m glad you qualified this statement!

    I’d have to say space cadet sorry after the whole ‘brain fog at 3am’ incident stopping you from peeing without flushing. I’d expect more from my ass-tronots.


  5. Well the house looks fabulous! You clinging to the ceiling with your teeth floating, not quite as pretty.I hope you can get the system working in a less nuclear explosion like way. Hang in there. Literally if from the ceiling.


  6. Every new place will have new sounds to deal with- the refrigerator and furnace cycling on and off, rain on windows and the roof, but the launch cycle of the filtration? That sounds like it will take some doing to fit into the classification of “normal house sounds.” And as a previous commenter noted, when would be a better time to do the backflow thing? If about 15 minutes equals 75 minutes in a home that has had almost no water use to date, how long will the fifteen minutes actually take on laundry day? It certainly could be scheduled if you both were out every day during normal business hours, but when you work at home…
    Congratulations on getting the permit to move in! I’m sure it will be a while before everything is in place and you feel settled, but I’m sure each step along the way is a new joy. It looks so nice and I’m happy to sense that you’ve already known you are at home even before being allowed to move in.

    I had pictured a detached garage and workshop just like Aydan has in your books, but this will be more convenient in inclement weather. I had also pictured a tiny deck upstairs- the real deck is very worthy of virtual book clubs and painting disaster recovery zones. Is that where you are likely to plot out your next books? How fantastic!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I’m looking forward to some high-quality plotting on the deck; and if it’s not nice enough to sit out there, I’ve called dibs on one of the upstairs dormers. I’m SO looking forward to having my own space again after all this time. Hubby and I get along just fine, but it’s very hard to concentrate when we’re cooped up in the same room with a TV.

      I had originally thought the workshop and garage should be detached, too, but even after the short time we’ve been here, I’m already loving the fact that they’re all attached. It’s so convenient to just zip through and grab what we need!

      And I think the backflush is only supposed to run every couple of weeks, so I guess we’ll see how it shakes out after we’ve been using the system for a while. At least I know what the noise is now, though. 🙂


  7. WOW!! What a BEAUTIFUL new place you have! I add my own heartiest congratulations to all the rest. Gad, your new home is lovely! And the setting! From the outside looking in, so to speak, that certainly was worth waiting for!

    Yeah, I know. Easy for me to say, right?

    I was in the Army a hunnerd or two years ago when we got married. When thuh missus finally got to come to where I was stationed, all we could afford was Apartment 3 in a tiny little, er, four-holer is how I think of it. One building divided into four little bitty apartments, all in a row. And ours was furnished. Ish.

    The plumbing worked well in all the apartments. But it worked *really* well in the guy who rented Apartment 2 next to us. His plumbing must’ve been FABULOUS. Four nights a week–at least four–we would hear his headboard banging against our common wall and some female voice yelling, “OH, JOHN!! OH, JOHN!!” And not just once a night and done. Oh, HELL, no. Four times was the average, but he hit six more than once, yelling and all. Which was odd. by the way. His name was Larry.

    So did we complain? Nope. We were newlyweds ourselves, remember. A sort of a challenge, you know. Er, rising to the occasion, and all that.

    And if nobody complained about us, I’m sure it was because they couldn’t hear us over John. Uh, Larry. Yeah, that’s it, Larry.

    And plottage ith at a hunnerd perthent! Thooh, thiter!! Thweet!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pee Eth: For when the Book Club fires back up again, I’d stake my claim between two of your trees in your back yard. Don’t care which two as long as they’re pruned up a bit, cleared between, and precisely one hammock apart. Just sayin’… 🙂


      • Would that be the spot right next to the creek? We can hear the water running from our deck, but a hammock closer to the water in the shade would be very nice indeed.

        And that’s a hilarious story about Larry! I’m glad to hear that you held your own against him, though… erm, so to speak. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  8. YEAH!! Congrats on getting in your house. I know what that’s like. Did it myself a year ago and it was a pain. I kicked the dog off of his bed and claimed it for the night. Poor dog … NOT. Hope you get used to your filtration system soon. Well, one can hope for that, right?

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! Poor dog. Right now my greatest desire is a desk and chair, with a couch coming in a close second. I’ve been working from a folding camp chair with my laptop on my knees since December – I’m SO over it now!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Congratulations 🎊 on being in the new house 🏡

    It looks huge!!!!

    Bet your so happy to be in. Though I don’t think the water thing is good, if your resetting it is there a better time?

    I’m life is OK just getting on with things and still showing I’m keen for the new job


    • Thanks, Karen! The main floor is about 1500 square feet, and we’re hoping to finish the upstairs this summer. That’ll be my office and gym area, and it’ll give us quite a bit more space. I can hardly wait to have it all done(ish)! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wow that’s huge, the upstairs we be great once it’s finished I bet.

        If we ever start the virtual book club again, I want my spot on the upper balcony, a nice inflatable chair with a sun umbrella a nice big cool box full of cold ones. Yup I can picture it now.

        If I ever built my own place I’d want something similar not that I could over in the UK it would cost squillions


        • Your spot on the deck is reserved! It might take us a little while to get the sun umbrella up, though. 😉

          And you’re right, we’re lucky to be able to afford this – prices are going through the roof here on the Island so it’s a good thing we didn’t wait much longer. As it is, most of it came in almost double our budget. Ouch! Fortunately we had included a large ‘fudge factor’ in our calculations so we’re not going to be too deeply in debt. I hope. But it ain’t over yet…

          Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Nelson! Despite the disruption of the backflush cycle, we’re still very pleased with the filtration system. Our water was orange before, and now it’s beautifully clear. Hopefully our tweaks will solve all our issues!

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Hilarious! We’re laughing our heads off, Diane. Glad to hear you’re finally in your new palace and we hope you’re able to sort out the quirks before they drive you crazy. In the meantime, we’ll enjoy your posts!

    Liked by 1 person

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