Sometimes, life erupts. Wear goggles.

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Cornerstone Business Group Inc 0225086119

If there is anything I've learned in life, and in real estate, it's that sometimes life erupts.  I tend to warn my buyers  and sellers that all will be well and we will get to and across the finish line, but we may have to climb over some rocks on the way.

I came to a vivid understanding of this principle a number of years ago in my office.  I had been gone for the weekend, and when I returned to the office on Monday there was a note on the receptionist's desk that read, "Don't use the men's bathroom." Being from the "I know a lot of plumbers and if they can fix a toilet, sink, etc., so can I" school of thought. So, I went straight to the men's bathroom to survey the problem.  Everything looked perfectly normal.  The sink ran fine, the toilet flushed fine, the lights worked and I couldn't find a thing out of place.  So, I ran the sink a little longer, flushed the toilet a couple more times and returned to my office. 

A little later curiosity got the best of me so I went back over and surveyed the scene again, only this time things had changed.  Just around the corner from that bathroom is a small closet with an ejection pump.  The ejection pump collects all of the waste from both bathrooms, holds it and when it reaches a certain depth it ejects it into a holding tank and then on to the drain field. The floor outside the ejection pump closet was covered with . . . well, you know.  It smelled awful, and somebody had to clean it up.  Oh, yeah, I was the guy who was flushing the toilet over and over so it fell to me to clean-up the mess and restore the office to a more pleasant place, and I did.

You might think the average sane man would have stopped there, right?  Oh, how I wish that were true.  I went back to my office and called a plumber.  He promised to be there the next day, and that was that.  I sat there thinking about the ejection pump and my "I know a lot of plumbers and if they can fix . . ." thought kicked in and . . .   I bet you can already see where this is going. My "Tim 'The Toolman' Taylor" mindset drove me back to the other side of the building to investigate what was going on with the ejection pump.  This time I was armed with tools.  The ejection pump sits in a black tank that is dug into the ground about 3-3.5 feet.  The pump has a series of plastic pipes attached to it that will carry the waste to the holding tank each time the ejection pump well is full. 

In order to remove the pump you have to disconnect the pipes one by one until you can lift the pump straight out.  So, I started disassembling the pipes.  When I had them out enough to pull the pump I started lifting the pump.  That's when I got the biggest surprise of my day. Whatever was plugging the bottom of the pump gave way as I lifted the pump out of the holding tank.  When it was up about 4 to 5 inches it roared to life.  It was at that point that I realized the pump had not been turned off at the
electrical panel. 

Now, visualize this.  I'm in a three foot square closet with a 30 gallon power-washer full of poo.  When it broke lose it started spraying its contents through the one pipe that was still attached.  Unfortunately for me it was the one that came straight up out of the pump.  It immediately unloaded its contents onto the ceiling above and of course "what goes up, must come down."  In the midst of the geyser, I had the presence of mind to reach over and pull the electrical cord out of the receptacle, and it stopped.

I was a sight to see.  There was yuck everywhere.  I smelt nasty, and I was soaking wet.  Ironically, all I could think at that moment was that I was glad my secretary was not looking over my shoulder when life erupted.  Well, I cleaned everything up again, and stripped down to the "bare" necessities, wrapped up in what clothing I could find around the office and headed home to shower and sanitize myself.

It taught me a good lesson, "Life Erupts. Wear Goggles."  When I'm working on a deal, and it seems to be falling apart I always tell myself, "I could be in the closet with the ejection pump.  This is nothing!"  Remember, things may get nasty and even stink a little while you work your way through a flood of signatures and initials, last minute changes, and extensions and compromises, but it could be worse, you could be in a three foot square closet with a fountain of . . . .


Comments (8)

Carla Freund
Keller Williams Preferred Realty - Raleigh, NC
Carolina Life RealEstate & Relocation 919-602-8489

Oh my goodness Michael, sounds like you were up to your knees. Glad it all worked out in the end. And yes, sometimes life does erupt exactly when you don't expect it.

Jan 23, 2022 12:35 PM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD

It was ugly, Carla, but I had to laugh. Thank God, my assistant wasn't looking over my shoulder holding a flashlight. 😬

Jan 23, 2022 02:35 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

Your early assessment of plumbers reminds me of a number of years ago, when my then husband, and I decided to improve a little guest house on our property.  We had to tie into the sewer.  I was a little hesitant.  However, he said, "All you need to know to be a plumber is s*it rolls down hill, and pay day is Friday."  Our experience ultimately was a testament that plumbers earn their keep!

Jan 23, 2022 02:54 PM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD

Mryl, you all were a lot braver than me. I may replace a faucet, toilet or something simple, but no way I'd tackle a sewer line. He was right about plumber wisdom. 

Jan 23, 2022 03:09 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

CONGRATULATIONS Mike, on having this blog FEATURED in the Old Farts Club group!  

Jan 23, 2022 02:55 PM
Tony Lewis
Summit Real Estate Group - Valencia, CA
Summit Real Estate Group Valencia & Aliso Viejo

Times have really changed, it seems like with each and every transaction I seem to have to hold my breath right up to closing.

Jan 23, 2022 03:37 PM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD

Tony, I hear you. Far too many go that route.

Jan 23, 2022 04:06 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Retired Home Stager/Redesign

Mike- I feel as if I need to take a shower!!!  That story is so funny!!!  As they say...Sh%# Happens. 

Jan 23, 2022 04:24 PM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD

Yes it does, Kathy. 🤣

Jan 23, 2022 04:48 PM
Ray Henson
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

Wow, what a story.  Thank you for sharing it with us.

Jan 23, 2022 05:04 PM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Oh. My.

That must have been quite the day, with a bunch of lessons learned. And you can bet that I will now never attempt to fix an ejection pump contraption!

As for life and real estate, yes, sometimes stuff erupts!

Jan 24, 2022 05:30 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD - Sorry to hear you were in S#!T's Creek with that terrible eruption but glad you found the humor in the situation and managed to get out of yuck. At least you tried and learned a lot too!  

Jan 27, 2022 01:50 PM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP

And never, never, never forget to wear goggles!🤡

We may be twins or related. You wouldn't believe the S#!T I've done! 🤡

Jan 27, 2022 04:05 PM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD

Patricia, I sure did. When the S#!Ts flying, don't open your mouth to call  for help. 🤣

Jan 27, 2022 03:57 PM