The Summer of Septic

This Summer has been a mess. We have been dealing with septic tank issues and trying to get them resolved for over two months.

On Thursday, May 14th we noticed that a toilet would not flush. The bowl filled to just about the top but held steady at that point. After two toilets were still not flushing after attempts at plunging, it indicated the problem was not with an individual toilet but perhaps a clog further in the system.

I headed down to the crawlspace with a bucket, a snake, and some tools. I went to the cleanout pipe and used some channellocks to untwist the plug. Thankfully, I managed some foresight that the pipe could be full. I placed the bucket over the horizontal pipe and reached around to finish untwisting the plug. When the plug reached the last of the thread, it gave way and water came rushing out. The bucket pushed back with the force of the water but I was able to hold it in place. The water rushed out the pipe, hit the bottom of the bucket, and deflected away from me.

After the water finally ended, I looked down the pipe and saw some gunk down the pipe. I got the snake out and worked it down the pipe to clear any clog that was hopefully the cause of the problem. I put the cap back on the cleanout pipe and headed back upstairs. The toilets flushed properly. Yay! Crisis averted, right?

Continue reading The Summer of Septic

Nicknames that Spades has earned while running

Smiley Cyrus – While running ahead, she’ll occassionally look back to check on you with her tongue hanging out and it just looks like a big, happy smile.

Sniffy the Boat Anchor – You’re trying to run but she’s not letting you go anywhere because she wants to stop and smell the roses, particularly after a rain has “refreshed” all of the scents.

Jesus Dog – She intentionally aims for the puddles to walk through to cool off her paws or maybe just to have fun splashing.

NYPD Dog – She has a ‘stop-and-sniff’ policy instead of ‘stop-and-frisk’.

Play-doh factory – It has to do with pooping…

I believe I can fly – A turkey vulture or some other bird might be gliding overhead but for some reason she thinks she can catch it some 30 feet up.

The Weekend Warrior – Anytime we run our new 5+ mile loop together.

Panting Pro V – When she gets to panting quite loudly and you’re not sure you’d be able to hear a car coming.

Trail mix – This is the nickname for the stuff along the road that she finds and wants to eat and you try to stop her, compressed lawn clippings, harvested corn cobs, etc.

The Commute to Work – It’s stop-and-go traffic the whole way.

spades panting

The ‘finished your graduate degree’ exercise regimen

In December 2013, I had completed all of the work required for my Masters degree in MIS. Although the degree is yet to be awarded, the work stopped. It went from two classes a semester to nothing. In order to help transition with the newly found free time and get back on track, I decided to use some of that homework time for working out. I made use of an exercise bike and running in order to burn extra calories.

I got a late jump on the semester and missed half of a month at the beginning. Since starting in February, I have lost over 20 pounds. I recorded my weight daily and my activities such as distance ran and time on the exercise bike.


The plan is to not stop here and keep going until I reach a spot I’m happy with. I’m looking forward to a more active Summer than being trapped inside reading textbooks or doing other academic work.

Visiting Louisville

We had a little weekend getaway to Louisville, Kentucky this past weekend. It’s only a four hour drive from here. Road trip!

We visited the Kentucky Science Center, which we found was more geared towards kids but we still managed to have fun. Here’s Jeanne, now in technicolor and sporting her awesome new haircut!


Of course, if I’m going to post a picture of her, I had better post a picture of me. Jason in technicolor:


We had a lot of wonderful meals while visiting the bigger city. We ate at Dish on Market, WW Cousins, and PF Chang’s. No, we did not have any Kentucky Fried Chicken while there.


Of course, we visited the obligatory Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum where we both got good-sized ‘mini bats’ as part of the factory tour.


We walked almost 5 miles around the downtown visiting Muth’s Candy and the Louisville Free Public Library. We also visited another branch library, drove by the University of Louisville, walked around the Oxmoor Center Mall,  and wandered around a Whole Foods jealous of the variety of foods available.

Major props to Jeanne for putting together the itinerary. It was a good time to get away and enjoy some time together.