Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

June 27, 2013

FROM THE VALLEY: A flush beats a full out-house

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Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — If you’re a regular reader of this column, let me just say: Really? Thank you. And if you ARE familiar with my whining, then there’s a good chance that you know that my wife and I like to spend time on the St. Lawrence River in our hometown area of Ogdensburg, N.Y.

Over the years, I’ve chronicled some of the (perceived) tough situations I’ve encountered while at the river. I try to put a lighter spin on the stories in an attempt to make it easier for me to cope. It’s therapeutic. And it’s cheaper than seeing a shrink. (I’m sorry if ‘shrink’ is offensive to those in the field — as if they’re reading this gibberish — but I’m not sure how to spell ‘psychiatrist’ and I don’t trust that ‘spell-check’ ginkus.)

I’m back at the river now, pounding out this column. I’ve traveled north – by myself — in an attempt to rectify problems before we (my family) come back later this summer. We want to be able to return to a smooth-running operation. 

There are two situations that I came here specifically to fix. One is a malfunctioning water pump which isn’t pulling the river water into the camp – a must. The other is a non-functioning toilet which isn’t sending it out – an even more ‘muster’ ... you know what I mean. And obviously, the problems are inter-twined.

After a couple of hours of doing this and trying that, I had an epiphany. It suddenly dawned on me. Normally, when I’m faced with a challenge that requires problem solving, I never seem to get things right. Not this time, buckaroo! I was absolutely dead-on correct-a-mun-do with my experienced analysis. 

But I have to be honest and disclose that I’ve been thinking about both predicaments since they arose three weeks ago (when I came here the first time).

I had to call my wife – back in Medina – and tell her just how smart her husband was. 

“Hello, Kath, yeah, it’s me. Guess what? I was finally right for once in my life! Woo-hoo! I was absolutely correct about those issues with the water pump and the septic tank.”

“You fixed them?” came her animated and surprised reaction.

“Fixed them? Heck, no! But remember I said I’ll never be able to figure out what the hell’s wrong with ‘em? And that I’d probably have to call your brother, Bill, over to figure it out? Well … I was right! That’s exactly what I did. I had no idea what to do ... so, I called him. Can you believe it? Just like I said. C’est moi was right … finally!”

“Say what?”

“Aren’t you proud of me?! I called Tiny (Bill’s nickname) and he figured it out. Now I can go golfing with MY brothers, Tim, Mike and Tim’s pal, Bruce, the mad Canadian.” (Bruce is the only Canadian that Canada refuses to recognize as one of its own. Maybe that’s why he’s mad.)

“Hang on there a minute, Mr. Fix-it,” my wife chimed in. “Before you go and end this column – I know you’re writing everything down as I speak — how’d Bill fix the water-pump?”

“Oh … he pulled a white sheet over that old hunk of crap, whispered a small prayer and told me to ‘go buy another one’. And the new one didn’t come cheap – but at least, it’s up and running.”

Case closed … for now, at least.

Seriously, it’s a good feeling to be able to – finally — flush ALL of my problems down the drain. Flush the problems: yes; a thousand dollars: not as easy.

And for now, that’s the way it looks from the Valley (Labor Camp).

Tom Valley is a Medina resident. His column appears every Thursday. Contact him at tvalley@rochester.rr.com.