Kathy entered a contest on the Rodney Atkins website. If you don't know who he is, he is a country-music singer who has a great song called "15 Minutes". It's a very funny song, but the chorus says "I gave up smoking, women, and drinking last night, it was the worst 15 minutes of my life".
The contest was to describe your "worst 15 minutes". They said in the guidelines to "keep it funny, real, and relatively clean". They asked for Videos, pictures, or email, so here is the email that Kathy sent in that won the contest!!
Okay, fortunately I don’t have pictures or video of my worst 15 minutes (that were funny, real, and relatively clean) of my life.
Picture this: Thanksgiving Day, November, 2002. My husband and I were living in a small town outside of Chicago (Wilmington, pop. 5000 or so). It was about 20 degrees outside. We had temporarily relocated from our hometown of Seattle, WA for a year for business reasons, so we had no family out with us but we did have a few good friends who were all coming over to watch football on our big-screen TV. I got up early to start cooking the 22 lb turkey we had in the fridge.
When I got up to take a shower, I realized that there was a very bad smell coming from our tub. When I looked in the tub, there was some very ugly water with “stuff” floating in it… Uh oh, I realized the septic tank was backing up! (Nope, this isn’t the bad part yet). After waking my husband up to “honey there’s sh*t in our bathtub” and getting THAT LOOK, we realized that our septic tank was indeed plugged up and somehow was backing into the house.
Since it was Thanksgiving and we couldn’t 1) run the water in the shower, 2) flush the toilet, or 3) cook anything in the kitchen until we got water and realizing that we had NO chance of getting professional help in this very small town on a holiday, my husband got very handy and decided to try and solve the problem himself. He went into the crawlspace under our house and started taking apart the plumbing. After turning off the water, he got a 33 gallon garbage can and put it under a plug in the sewer pipes so that he could remove the plug and drain out any overflow to see what was plugging up the pipes. Well, when he opened the plug, the ‘overflow’ started POURING out of the pipes (think firehose)… and for three terrifying minutes we watched (and smelled) the “sewage” flow into the garbage can. (And no, this still isn’t the bad part yet.)
After panicking and trying to find a second garbage can that was empty (with no luck), God smiled on us for a moment, and the firehose of crap slowed down. The flow stopped just short of the top of the garbage can. Of course that meant we had a garbage can with 32.5 gallons of “stuff” in our crawl space, with no idea how to REMOVE the garbage can from the crawl space. (And again, not the bad part yet).
After watching in terror as the garbage can filled up, then in relief as it stopped at the top, my husband handed me the end cap for the pipe that we had just opened. I didn’t want to hold the stinky thing, so I set it on what I thought was a shelf in a small window (opening) in the crawl space. Unfortunately for me, it wasn’t a shelf, it was a cement block. You know, the kind that they build foundations with that have TWO HOLES that line up with the cement blocks under that form the foundation on a house… and yep, that damn end cap dropped right to the bottom of the foundation, about 3 feet below where I could reach. HERE is the bad part: The look I got from my husband when he heard the “thud” as the end cap fell to to the bottom of the foundation and he realized we now had no way of closing up the sewer pipe. Now I felt like what was in that 33 gallon can….
So here was the status at the end of my worst 15 minutes:
2) 20 degrees out
3) Sewer pipes in our crawl space open (for frozen air to enter) and no way to reach the end cap
4) 32.5 gallons of sewage in a 33 gallon garbage can in the crawl space
5) No emergency plumber and no hardware stores open for at least 24 hours
6) One very pissed off husband
7) 20 guests coming over who won’t be able to eat or go to the bathroom
It was enough to make my husband give up smoking, drinking and this woman for 15 minutes!!!
The ending to the worst 15 minutes was that I was at the local Ace Hardware the next morning to replace the end cap, and it cost us $400 to pump out a septic tank we had been assured was empty when we bought the house six months earlier. The only good news was that the emergency plumber we got was laughing so hard at the story he agreed to also pump out our 32.5 gallons of “stuff” from the garbage can so that we could remove it from the crawl space. Thanksgiving dinner had to be relocated to our shop, we ate on paper plates with plastic silverware, and football ended up being watched on a 32” TV instead of a 60” TV, but fortunately we have great friends who had a big laugh at our expense.
Caveat: obviously I have a blessed life for this to be the worst 15 minutes, but it is pretty funny (now) and we would really love to go see Rodney Atkins in San Diego so it’s worth telling the story in public!!
We'll post some pictures on here after the trip.