Yew City Slickers Is Luckier ‘N Cold Spit On A Greased Pig In A China Shop

bubblingcrude1Urbanites are always complaining about how tough life is in the big city.  I say,
crime? – bah!
smog? – ha!
traffic jams? – don’t make me laugh.
You don’t know what tough IS until you’ve stared down the gaping maw of a full toilet…with no way to dispose of the contents.

Welcome to country life.

We didn’t have any water when I came home from work the other day.  “You mean you ran out of bottled Evian and had to drink tap water?” you ask with a horrified gasp.   That’s not what I mean.  When I turned the faucet in the sink, all that came out was a gurgle.  It echoed up from deep down in the pipes like your lower intestines after you’ve enjoyed the all-you-can-eat burrito buffet at Pepe’s Casa de Jalapeno.

No water.

When the water stops running, your blood starts running…cold. You’re looking at a smorgasbord of possible problems and not one of them is cheap.  The worst, the very worst thing of all, is if the well has run dry.  That is pretty high up there on the list of Bad Things That Can Happen To Country People.  It’s just a step behind a plague of locusts or discovering your neighborhood is affectionately called Donner Pass.

What urbanites see on TV is an idealized, fantasy country life that’s a world away from reality.

In Fantasy Country, when Jed Clampett sings “up from the ground come a bubbling crude” it means he struck it rich.

In Real Country, the same chorus means you’ve got a broken drain tile in your septic field.  The stuff bubbling up from the ground is crude all right, but it sure as hell ain’t oil.  Eeeeeeeewwwwwwww.

In Fantasy Country it’s no big deal when the well runs dry.  That Cabernet you put up with grapes from your artisanal vineyard should be mature enough to drink by now.

In Real Country, when the well runs dry you scramble to figure out who you can mooch off of for your daily needs: Drinking? Fill jugs at work.  Shower?  YMCA.  Laundry?  The in-laws.   The challenge is finding enough water to wash away all the nasty waste that the average household generates.

In Fantasy Country, woodland creatures exist merely to scamper about adorably and help you get dressed.

In Real Country, wild animals want to bite and/or sting you.  I’ve mentioned this tendency before.

In Fantasy Country, keeping warm looks like a page from an L.L. Bean catalog.  An attractive couple snuggles in a plaid blanket in front of a massive, stone fireplace.  They sip mulled cider, stare into the flames and reminisce about the quaint chalet they stayed in when climbing in the Swiss Alps.

In Real Country, when the furnace goes out the entire family (and the dog) huddles together on one bed wearing every stitch of clothing they own.  Furniture is purchased with an eye less toward style, and more toward how well it will burn in a pinch.

In Fantasy Country, everyone belongs to the Farmers Co-op.  They buy organic arugula and eggs laid by Home On The Range chickens.  These are superior to Free Range chickens because, to ensure a good quality of life for the chickens, they live IN the home as members of the family.

In Real Country, everyone belongs to the Rural Electric Co-op.  Kids have to work fast to get all their homework done in the one hour per day their parents allow the lights to be on.  That’s because rates are 4 times higher than in town.  Besides, the power is likely to go out at any minute.  This can be due to a gentle breeze stirring the wires, a pole falling down a couple of miles away, or a squirrel scampering over a wire to come help you get dressed.

The next time you city slickers are tempted to whine about how hard it is to find a good latte that’s not too foamy, think about your country cousins and consider yourselves lucky.  Given our daily trials, is it any wonder that country music is all about suffering?

Here’s the Real Country anthem, dedicated to my sisters Mary Kay, Terry and Judy, who also chose country life.  What the hell were we thinking?

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About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
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91 Responses to Yew City Slickers Is Luckier ‘N Cold Spit On A Greased Pig In A China Shop

  1. Carrie Rubin says:

    A few years back when I was getting my public health degree, we had to take an environmental science class, and in it, learn about wells and septic tanks. I have a whole new appreciation for those of you who depend on these things. Kudos to you! And thank goodness for my municipal tap water…

    Like

  2. Al says:

    Well, here’s another hilarious Peg-o-leg post that will get Freshly Pressed and deny the rest of us a spot!

    P.S. I always thought I detected a vague resemblance to Granny.

    Your slicker pal, Al

    Like

  3. bigsheepcommunications says:

    Hey, where did you get that video of my neighbors?

    Like

  4. mistyslaws says:

    Wait, you mean in your spare time you don’t just run around outside through soft prairie grass, swinging your braided pig-tails to and fro? Oh Peg, you are so silly when you kid.

    Like

  5. susielindau says:

    Are you too far away to have Deep Rock water delivered my country bumpkin friend? http://www.deeprockwater.com/sem-192?gclid=CPeQ1LP4jbYCFfA-MgodawsAbQ

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Is this one of those Refer-a-friend-get-$50-off schemes like with satellite TV, Susie? The only things that get delivered to our mountaintop abode are those I can manage to schlep up the driveway myself. We’re country-strong.

      Like

  6. And here I’d thought that you were enjoying a life right out of Country Living Magazine! Next you’re going to tell me that gophers aren’t cute little furry creatures!

    I should write a similar post: Fantasy City Living vs. Real City Living. 🙂

    Like

  7. notquiteold says:

    There’s nothing like that good country smell coming right into your home – when the septic systems backs up all the way to your tub.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Having flashback shudders here. That happened to us last summer. Except the lowest point of exit for the plumbing system in our house is the runoff pipe for the furnace/ac, so I had foulness running out of the furnace and onto the basement floor. Good times…good times.

      Like

  8. prosewithabbitude says:

    So, basically, except for the hunting, real country is nothing like Duck Dynasty that all us city slickers find so hilarious?!

    Like

  9. Oh boy… that’s not good, Peg… (I hope it wasn’t the ‘very worst thing of all’)! Do you have your water back, now, I hope?! For me this wouldn’t be a problem (as I drink, shower and do Laundry with/in Coke, but… you know… for the average human…. YIKES)…
    😦

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      We’re OK. We had plenty of water as it turned out. Our dear puppy had chewed through the electrical lines leading to the well pump. Laundry in Coke? My, how sparkling white your whites must be!

      Like

  10. Lenore Diane says:

    I don’t know Peg, I’m still partial to REAL country life. While I am grateful for my municipal tap water, I do enjoy the clean and cold well water we have at the Shore.
    We have a septic for sewage, and well – Rob will not let me buy Tide detergent anymore due to a backup many years ago. The detergent will never smell the same to him. Never. Ever. *sigh*

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Oh no! Tide is not guilty by association with septic? Too bad.
      I do like the taste of the water, but sometimes I worry about all the possible contaminants in it. We had it tested once, but they only test for a handful of big problems like coliform.

      Like

  11. winsomebella says:

    And let’s not forget the times when spring run-off washed out the driveway and you had to hike through the creek with groceries in hand for a month. Of course, that was before the drought that caused the well to dry up :-).

    Like

  12. So…. what’s wrong with your water?
    This is why I live in the city.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      The dog chewed the wire leading to the well. Our own fault because it should be buried in the ground and it was outside for 15 feet going out of the house. We KNEW it was laying there, and didn’t do anything about it. Now we have to wait until the ground thaws and pay somebody to trench it for us.
      I wanna live in the city. Can I bunk in with you?

      Like

  13. Elyse says:

    From a fellow bumpkin — good luck. There is nothing like having no water. Everything else you can deal with and make do. No water? That means no flushing (vital for me), no showers, no drinking, no no no no no no no. And all you can do is laugh. Or cry and save your tears for bathing.

    I hope it’s one of those problems that can be solved without heavy equipment Peg. And you’re always welcome to shower at my house.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      It wasn’t too bad, Elyse. Water is really hard to find down by us and our neighbors run out all the time. For some reason our well is usually in good shape. We’ve only actually run dry twice in 25 years, and that filled in slowly on its own in a couple of days.
      Thanks for the offer – me and my rubber ducky will be right over.

      Like

      • Elyse says:

        I look forward to having you —

        Glad it isn’t too bad or too costly. We have plenty of water, but the electricity goes out when anybody sneezes it seems.

        Like

  14. Pleun says:

    I live in a Mexican city and sometimes we have to do without water or power, so that’s traffic jams, crime, smog, no water, no power, NO INTERNET! Thankfully the latte’s are always nice and foamy. Good luck on your water, may it start running again magically 😉

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Jeez, talk about the WORST of all possible worlds! Now I don’t feel so bad.

      The water did start running again magically…after I had a crew of 2 well repair trucks come out and fix it. The real magic will be me coming back to life after I fall over dead when I get their bill.

      Like

  15. Averyanne says:

    This is so timely!! I had just come in from rooting out my antiquated sewer line that has so many idiosyncratic displays obstinance that we have permanently set up a rooter machine which sits in a small waterproof house, so it is at the ready when we need to root out the line. Which is OFTEN. I related to everything you said!! Country life is darn hard work, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      A permanent rooter? Yikes! I hate that sort of thing. I neither want to know nor have to care about what happens to waste. I just want it to quickly, quietly and cheaply leave my house and never come back again.

      Like

  16. Dana says:

    I lived in ‘the country’ for a few months last year and got a hard lesson in reality when the septic tank backed up. Oh, man– HOW GROSS!! Even though I complain about our inner-city apartment all the time, I think I am more suited to ‘small city’ life than I am to ‘real country’ living. 🙂

    Like

  17. Tar-Buns says:

    Oh my, Peg. You warned me 🙂 We had to replace our well about 7 years ago I think because the old one’s pump kept running all the time. They went down 129 feet to set the new one and it’s all enclosed below ground so if anything happens to THIS one, it will be nasty.
    As for the septic system – I’m afraid to say anything since our grandfathered-in system is still serving us. Talk to MK about septic nightmares – she’s had way too many experiences with septic issues.
    Hope the bill for the two companies, who didn’t really have to fix the well, don’t charge you an arm and a leg for fixing the power line.
    Ah, the joys of country-livin! (Here comes the Green Acres theme song again)… 🙂

    Like

  18. Toilet humor. It’s always a winner with me! “…like your lower intestines after you’ve enjoyed the all-you-can-eat burrito buffet at Pepe’s Casa de Jalapeno.” Freaking precious! 🙂 🙂

    Like

  19. I think I’d like to check out the Fantasy Country you talk about. It sounds terrific. I can find that fantasy job and have those fantasy friends I keep thinking are about to turn up.

    Like

  20. It sounds more like Green Acres than The Beverly Hillbillies to me. I’m a suburbanite, so I’ve got my own problems, but none of them have been romanticized by anyone, ever. Therefore there’s no need to dispell any innaccuracies.

    Like

  21. Jennifer says:

    I feel your pain. A week after my family had left (from Christmas) we ran out of water. Not nice, and you realise ow much you use and waste in day to day life. Thank god for my parents five minutes away, and that we could get water from the other tank – which unfortunately was not hooked up for transfer. We were kicking ourselves over that one.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Funny – one of the times we ran dry it was when we had company. The fact is that people who don’t have a well waste a ton of water – it just doesn’t occur to them that behavior could make all the water go bye-bye.

      Like

      • Tar-Buns says:

        And I hear you’ve got Judy & gang coming to visit next week. Be sure to make signs for the bathrooms, kitchen, etc., so they learn the rules of limited water usage. Sure don’t want to go dry again! 🙂

        Like

  22. dorannrule says:

    This post is sooooo funny and sooooo real! I wish I had written it. Instead, I’m reblogging it. 🙂 Glad you have your water back. We keep losing ours to power outages and winter and/or summer storms. It’s getting very old.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      It DOES get old, doesn’t it? We used to have the power outages all the time when we first lived there. They must have buried some cables up the hill some years back and the outages lessened. Hope things get better soon in your little corner of heaven!

      Like

  23. dorannrule says:

    Reblogged this on Virginia Views and commented:
    I wish I had written this one – no not because I want to lose water but because it’s so funny and so true about the perils of country living.

    Like

  24. amelie88 says:

    Having lived in the city (Madrid, Spain) and suburbs (NYC suburbs), I have never had the pleasure of living in the country (except for short vacations). But I can assure you I did not spend any time in Madrid hunting for the best latte (I don’t like coffee) or pizza place (good pizza in Spain is a foreign concept).

    Life is no cake walk, wherever you live.

    In fact, if you watch this awesome short video caricaturing what Spanish bureaucracy is like (English subtitles provided–it’s only 3 minutes), you will get a really good idea of what my life was like! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXWZ3uAEKsw I have a strong feeling you will be grateful for your country living. 🙂

    Like

  25. Sandy Sue says:

    Growing up on a farm, I resemble all these remarks. As a kid, it was all an adventure (except when the skunks crawled under the house and got scared by the dog. “Pee-Euw-EE!” as one Hee-Hawer put it). Country life is lovely, but I’ll take invisible sewage any day.

    Like

  26. I have a spare room and a spare bath, you can come bunk with me.

    I am a city girl, through and through. I admit it, I am spoiled thoroughly and completely. No water? No heat? I would be at the nearest hotel, within minutes. I won’t even camp, not for love or money. Roughing it? No room service.

    I hope all is well. This was wonderfully funny Peg, as always you turn lemons to lemonade (why I always return).

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Thanks Valentine! I’m with you on the camping. I know lots of people consider that relaxing, but point me towards the nicest hotel at the cheapest rate!

      Like

  27. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    OMG! People still live in the country?!! Bwahahaha! I thought when God invented AC and indoor plumbing, everyone moved to the cities. There is something quite contradictory about “septic” system, especially when its contents appear in the sink… You brave country folk. I must go and look at some of you sometime. I went to the historical society recently and have a real good idea how you’re all living, but I want to see it in person.

    Like

  28. When the temperatures fall to the 20’s Rick is out to the farm swaddling that pump with moving blankets, quilts and tarps all duck taped to keep the blankets from blowing away and keep that baby running. No, no well house for us…yet. Not cute, but it would be the end of our world if that pump froze up. I’m always glad when we can put Dec, Jan, Feb behind us. We are certainly blue not from the cold, but from holding our breath that the pump doesn’t freeze. Country living is endless worry but so peaceful…Wait did I really say that? Peg…I didn’t know you lived in the country.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      OH yeah, Georgette. In fact, this year they finally put blacktop on the last mile of road to our house. Now it’s practically the same as living in Manhattan!

      Like

      • Wha??? I don’t remember hearing this news! So the road IS paved to your driveway? That’s got to be much more pleasant than the road dust and mud and muck.
        I know I would never want to live on a dirt road. Pat’s folks’ house is on a dirt road so even though it’s bigger and in good shape, I won’t move there. I’ve got enough dusting to do without the road coming into my house.

        Like

  29. As a fellow country dweller, I laughed out loud while reading your ‘ode to country life!’ Or should I say ‘odor’?? Ha. Yep, them city slickers just don’t know what they’re missin’, do they? 😉

    Like

  30. LOVE this. I grew up in the boonies and moved to town to work at a university when I grew up, but every Christmas I make the trip back home to, inevitably, end up crawling around in icy mud to fix my parents’ busted pipes or digging down to the malfunctioning septic tank or bellying up to the floor to relight the furnace. Country living is not for the faint of heart or the week of nose.

    Like

  31. Margie says:

    All so very true!
    We had to replace our septic tank and field a few years back – quite an expensive project.
    Do you have a closet full of sensors with loud alarms and flashing red lights? You just know it won’t be good news when one of them goes off.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Ouch! I feel your pain, Margie. No, our system is too old for that sort of thing. It’s just a tank somewhere outside the corner of the house with clay tile pipes extending out from it. There are no working parts, as far as I know. I just keep praying to the almighty septic gods that I never have to know any more about the business.

      Like

  32. How’s the water situation today? There’s still time to come stay with me. Course, you’d have to fight two kids to get into the one bathroom…

    this reminds me of the Ice Storm of ’98. No power for almost two weeks in the dead of winter. No flushing of toilets. No taking showers. It’s amazing how much we rely on basics like being able to keep our hair from resembling a rat’s nest, or keeping our house from smelling like an overflowing outhouse.

    Last summer, Jim had the brilliant idea of filling up our giant swimming pool by putting the hose on full blast for an entire24 hour period. Nearly drained the well. The water level got so low, I went to get tap water and it was filled with sand.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      That’s what happened one of the times we ran dry! Except it was a tiny, collapsible pool that we got when my sister was visiting with her 3 kids. We had just run a bunch of loads of laundry, baths and showers all around, filled up the pool because, you know, it was really hot and DRY out, then…nothing.

      We’re ok – we were just without water for 1 night.

      I can’t imagine no power for 2 weeks. Yikes and double yikes! Ours used to go out all the time, but it was always an electric utility thing and they usually had it back on within a day. Did you heat the house via fireplace?

      Like

      • The ice storm was so traumatic, I should blog about it as therapy. I had no heat (I was only 27 at the time living in a tiny apartment alone) so I stayed with my mom who had a tiny kerosene heater (that almost killed us as she didn’t vent properly) I’ve really lived the life out here in the sticks, Peg.

        Like

  33. Mary K. says:

    Gosh, I remember Bill working so hard to prime your well because we filled that kiddy pool. I worried alot that he felt ill will towards me. Oh, the adventures we country folk have had. I’m sick to death of our septic problems and the studying I have to do to take care of the system! I’ve even taken books out of the library for alittle night reading pleasure on septic systems! Please-I’d like to live in the country fantasy. Great post-country sister!

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Nobody ever blamed YOU for that, MK! It was our own stupidity. Up until then we had tried to be careful with water, but it never really occurred to me that we could run out. It was a wake-up call.

      When I think about the septic problems you’ve had, I know I have nothing to complain about. As soon as I find that Fantasy Country, I’ll send you a map.

      Like

  34. I just found out that I am a “Fantasy Country Girl”. I no longer have the patience or the stamina to be a “Reality Country Girl”. I’m not really a “City Slicker” either…more of a “Town Girl”.

    Like

  35. Go Jules Go says:

    Oh gawd. This is giving me post-hurricane 2-week-power-outage flashbacks! Peppermeister and I were definitely scratching our heads while house hunting a few years ago; once we got about 30-40 miles west and started hearing phrases like “septic system” (which we have) and “oil tank” (which we do not have).

    ‘Scuse me. I’ve got butter that needs churning.

    P.S. – This cracked me up. As usual.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      That’s right; you were without power for 2 weeks (shudder, shudder). You can bring in water, but it’s kind of hard to substitute for electricity. We’ve never had to contend with that – I feel your pain.

      Like

  36. bzzfft says:

    Wow. What about the upside, Pegoleg? What is keeping all the country people in the country?

    Like

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