Shitty Weekend

September 10, 2006 at 2:07 pm 1 comment

I had a shitty weekend… literally.  I’m not thinking about how after being in the office for 14 hours on Friday, I had to go into the office on Saturday.  And I’m not referring to the fact that I was too exhausted to go on a camping trip I had been coveting since August.  Nope– I’m referring to today’s task:

I cleaned up sewage in my basement.

When I was younger, I attended a magnet school, a high school for the supposed gifted and talented.  I also have a Bachelor of Science in Management Science and Information Technology.  But today my education failed me.  I was never taught what to do with feces and toilet paper in your basement.  So I relied on an amusing quote Sean says from time to time:

“If only… there was this tool…. where I could go to the computer… and look things up.”

I got on the Internet and it appears I’ve profitted from all the families and towns who were victims of hurricanes.  A lot of the sites providing advice on cleaning up indoor sewage spills were on hurricane sites.  It was a less than wonderful process, but fairly easy.  A lot of the steps, I found to be common sense. 

Advice from Seattle Washington Disaster Response:

“Keep children and pets out of the area until clean-up has been completed.”
That was a no brainer.  One of Henry’s favorite past times is rolling in smelly things.  I’m told it’s because he is a hunting dog.  It’s instinct to cover up his own scent. 

“It’s his camouflage,” I had once explained to four-year old Penn.  (Luckily, Penn did not decide to camouflage himself in the same manner). 

Henry’s favorite camouflage tends to be cow and horse manure.  I certainly did not want to give him a chance to “upgrade” to human waste. 

“Wear rubber gloves and boots.”
I think it is an unsaid goal of mine to minimize the amount of poo I touch with my bare hands.  I went through three pairs of gloves today.  Everytime I had to make a trip back upstairs, I removed my shoes and my tainted gloves.  Another unspoken goal of mine– Minimize the amount of poo I bring into the kitchen!!!  

As for the boots, I have too much respect and love for my hiking boots to wear them, but I found another pair of footwear I had no attachment to.

“Wash your hands thoroughly … after completing the clean-up.”
Done, done and done.  I washed my entire body multiple times.  It was a nice, long shower afterwards.

“Launder clothes separately after completing the clean-up.”
Uh…. no.  Those went directly into the trash, thank you very much.

“All hard surfaces, such as …concrete… should be thoroughly cleaned with hot water and a mild detergent (dish detergent), and then rinsed with a bleach solution by mixing one tablespoon of liquid household bleach to one gallon of water. Let the surface air dry.”
Now that I read that again, I realized I messed this step up.  I used laundry detergent, which seemed to work wonderfully.  I doubt I could have used our dish detergent anyway.  We get those gel tablets for the dishwasher.  I can’t quite see myself piercing those packets to drip the contents in the basement.

Also my bleach rinse was noticeably stronger than one tablespoon per gallon.  I eyeballed my measurements but aimed for 3/4 cup of bleach per gallon.  I’m not going to loose sleep over the bleach proportions– every site I went to recommended a different ratio. 

I pretty much dumped my Tide on the floor and used a brush to spread it and scrub debris down the drain.  I used the bleach rinse, scrubbed some more, more bleach rinse, more scrubbing, more bleach rinse and then finally I dragged a garden hose inside to rinse everything down the drain. 

I also appeared to mess up the “let the surface air dry” part.  After hosing everything down, I sacrificed old towels to suck up any remaining moisture.  Now I have a dehumidifier on the job.

“Disinfect clean-up mops, brooms, and brushes with the bleach solution.”
I faltered on this step too– With the exception of my bleach bucket, everything went into the trash.

Advice from Lake County, Florida’s Hurricane Guide:

“Proper hygiene is important for cleanup workers. Hands and fingers should be kept from the nose, mouth, eyes and ears.”
I learned a hard lesson about rubbing my eyes at Bethany Beach.  That untimely act lost me a week-old pair of expensive glasses.  Despite the monetary loss— I still consider rubbing feces into my eyes a much less desireable outcome.

“Workers should thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water before eating or drinking and after cleanup.”
Eww… Even though I wore gloves and scrubbed my body multiple times and made use of a bottle of Purel– I instructed Sean to cook something for dinner that you eat with utensils.  I will not be eating anything with my hands for the rest of the day.

“A shower is advisable after each workday.”
Advisable???????  Seriously?

It wasn’t terribly difficult job (less physically taxing than weed wacking), but I’m certainly glad it’s over.  Hopefully this is not a task I’ll have to repeat anytime soon.

Entry filed under: Henry, Penn, Sean, Sewage.

Fahrenheit 451 and TV Personalities Journal Except: September 11th

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Clint  |  September 11, 2006 at 11:44 am

    That sucks. Where are the mexican dayworkers when you need them??


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