Dirty Work

Note: I hesitated about whether to even post this, because, frankly, who wants to hear about septic problems? But living in a bus isn’t all sunshine, lollipops and rainbows, so I’m going to write about what’s really going on… I just won’t post pictures 🙂 

We spent this past weekend up in Julian at a cabin owned by some friends of the family. The trip had been planned back in December, before we found out that we were losing our home and would be living in the bus, but it wound up being a very well-timed vacation.

I’m not going to lie: our first week of bus living has been tough. Between figuring out amenities like water and electricity to trying to keep the place SOMEwhat clean and making sure the children are within eyesight and earshot, we really appreciated the break the past couple of days. We took hot showers, cooked, and, of course, feasted on some pie.

Now, it’s back to the grind.

I promised you guys a better idea of what our day-to-day looks like, but we’ve yet to find a working rhythm. We’ve  pretty much just been dealing with problems as they crop up, which usually have something to do with water/propane/septic leaking (please don’t worry for our safety, we are taking proper precautions against all of these things).

So, the adventure thus far has been a lot of dirty work (pretty much all for Noah) and one of the worst aspects of it, as far as ick-factor, is dealing with the septic.

If you are sensitive to talk about that sort of thing, well, life off the grid is probably not for you, because lately, around here, it’s pretty par for the course.


Let me just say that prior to last week I never realized how good we had it when we never ever had to even THINK about where our septic went (aside from the occasional toilet clog). Now, the girls  are in the habit of asking where they can go to the bathroom (in the bus or the RV) and whether they should flush. Oy.

Before we left on Friday, Noah and my dad drained the black water tank on the bus (black water is pretty much exactly what it sounds like… only worse) into some portable holding tanks, loaded them into the under-storage areas in the RV and then drove the whole rig into town to a local dump station.

Things were going well until Noah went to “unload” the RV and discovered, much to his dismay, as he was starting to release  the waste into the attached hose that a very important valve was broken. The results, I hear, do not bear describing to the public.

Needless to say, the valve was repaired almost immediately upon arriving home and so that issue shouldn’t repeat itself. But it’s an example of the kinds of problems that have been faced this week and overcome.

This lifestyle is not for the easily discouraged or those with weak stomachs… but for us, so far, it’s worth it.

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9 thoughts on “Dirty Work

  1. Thanks for sharing even the not-so-fun parts. Those of us stuck in suburbia with non-adventurous husbands love to read about it! I’m sure once you get a bit more settled there will be fewer problems cropping up, and your family rhythm will work itself out.

  2. (Insert corny pun here) All joking aside, I’m sorry you guys are having to deal with all the crap…lol, could’nt help myself. It did look like it was coming along when we were out yesterday. I’ll keep sending positive thoughts and prayers your way! Hang in there.

  3. This has become my new favorite blog. Thank you for writing about the ick of your new adventure too. I hope everything smooths out and you can find your new normal soon!

  4. Black water tanks are almost bad enough to make you dig an outhouse… (if it were permitted, of course!)

  5. Ha. Have you watched the movie RV. I don’t know if you are a movie watching family, but there is a hilarious scene where they are trying to empty the septic tank and the hose comes apart. It’s very exaggerated, of course, but pretty funny. Not when it is you, though.

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