Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Dad Goes Down the Well.
I know, I know.... not like "What's that Lassie? Timmy fell down the well?"
Let me first preface this post with saying: Dropping someone down the well casing to clean it out is NOT normal behavior. However, my parent's well is only ~18 feet deep and this has been done before.
One of the joys of living in the country is the opportunity to have one's own well water and septic system. Public utilities (like water and sewer) are so convenient, but when you must tend to your own well and septic systems and your water starts turning a little murky and smelling a little musty you start looking around mentally measuring waist sizes of your family and friends in an attempt to assess just who will fit down the well casing.
Now, when I was a little kid I always had the job of retrieving things from tight places and doing weird things where no one else could fit. (Except for the time my younger brother got his hand stuck in the wall trying to find an electrical wire...but that's another story...) For instance, once while adjusting the timing on a car my dad dropped a bolt down into the engine and although you could see it no one had small enough hands to grab it. "Hey, run in the house and grab Rikki." Or, the time just last summer when I got to wire the thermostats in the attic crawl space because, "Honey, I just don't fit up there."
So, naturally, I figured I'd be going down my parent's well to spray it down and pump it out. And, had I not been 8 months pregnant I think I would have gone down there. My mom insisted, "You're not taking my grandson down there." But really, in my current state, inch for inch my dad's waist is smaller than mine. That, and there's nothing like calling Medivac for help extracting the pregnant lady stuck in the tight spot of the well casing. That's a one way ticket to a Darwin Award.
When I arrived things were mostly staged and ready to go. The above ground portion of the casing was removed, the sump pump was in place and the tractor was ready with a chain hanging from the bucket to lower and then raise my dad in and out of the well. Perfect! I brought the camera and a cell phone (because really, what could possibly go wrong?!) and Todd arrived wondering if we'd already signed off our confined space entry permit. Right. We'll get right on that.
And... things went off without a hitch! We lowered him via the chain suspended from a diving-board like thing strapped to the bucket of the tractor, then handed down the hose to spray it down and then we pumped out the mucky stuff at the bottom and hauled him back up. The well is doing great and it'll probably be another 25 years before we have to do it again.
We lowered things up and down via a bucket on a rope and all I could think of was that creepy scene from Silence of the Lambs where he has that girl down the hole and keeps saying, "It puts the lotion on the skin or it gets the hose..."
Looking through the pictures now I likely think we would have been fined by OSHA, the county, the state and whoever else would have witnessed this event. Todd hoisting him up (very gently..) using the bucket of the tractor was priceless and all my dad had to say when he got up was, "I think that's the last time I'm going down the well." Good thing Todd and I were there to witness just how to do this so next time we can be more helpful!
Thank god we're on a water association.