Idle Thoughts From Mt. Waas
Hosting at the guest ranch...
by Ollie Harris
Jun 13, 2013 | 547 views | 0 0 comments | 86 86 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Blue Mountain guest ranch, where Barbara and I have been invited to volunteer as hosts/caretakers this summer, lies among aspens and pines at a little over 7,500 feet elevation in a beautiful canyon on the southeast slopes of Blue Mountain. We will be one of three couples who will share in the responsibilities for the guest ranch. I counted up 48 days and nights that we will have to be at the guest ranch. As Barbara smiles and says, “It’s a terrible job but somebody has to do it.”

Ever since I bought our current fifth-wheel trailer, I have complained that it is too big. We’ll see just how big it is when I try to back it in beneath the grove of big pine trees. Frankly, I am not looking forward to backing it into that spot, but if I can get it there, it will be a primo place to spend much of the summer.

Our first visiting group was from Gilbert, Ariz. They were a sort of shake-down group to see if we were ready for summer visitors. They came to me and said that the men’s restroom had a smell of propane so powerful that it made the boys’ eyes water. I went to check and had to agree that the smell was really bad. But, it wasn’t propane.

It embarrasses me to admit that I recognized the smell. It was coming from an inadequately vented septic system. We propped open the door, opened the windows, turned on the exhaust fan and put out more deodorizing cakes, but nothing helped.

Later, I made a thorough inspection of the venting system. I found that the vent pipe exited the building high on the south wall. The obvious problem was that it exited and ended right between two exhaust vents, one to the men’s side and one to the women’s side, providing a direct passage for the foul gasses to enter the restrooms.

I reported the situation to the powers that be and suggested that an extension be added to the pipe to take it away from the exhaust vents and run high above the peak of the roof. I am 99.9 percent sure that such an extension will cure the problem. I told those in charge of such things that if the extension worked, as I believe it will, they should name those few feet of pipe and elbows, The Oliver Harris Memorial Septic Vent Extension. They seem to think me excessively light-minded.

As for the charge of being excessively light-minded, I am guilty. As we rushed around trying to deal with the ghastly smell in the boys restroom, it came to me that we should just light a great big match. This thought led me to think of my next email address, should I decide to change. It would be, “oh,lightamatch!” It would work on a couple of levels. First, “o” and “h” are my initials. Next, the inclusion of the comma and the exclamation point would make the email address an exclamatory sentence. And, it would be easy to remember, especially if I am granted The Oliver Harris Memorial Septic Vent Extension award.

The only thing that worries me about hosting at the guest ranch is if I can keep my impatience under control. We are in a perpetual drought and water is like gold. I cannot tolerate waste of any sort, especially of water. I figure that the first three minutes of a shower are for sanitation. The next three minutes are for relaxation. The next three minutes are for meditation. And from then on it is all about zombification.

The other thing that tries my patience is rudeness, which often comes in the form of dust, noise and speed from four-wheelers. I have a wrist rocket and marbles for ammo, but I’m afraid it would get me in trouble to ding a kid with a marble.

Still, we are looking forward to spending much of the summer in the quiet coolness of the aspens and pines.


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