Simple Gifts

I want an outhouse.

Before you laugh, know that we have been out of plumbing and water for two days now.  And the workman haven’t shown up to complete the job.  Around 9:30 am is work hours, right?

They’ve been already called this morning, but it’s by my husband.  He has more authority with the workmen than I do.  I’m just the housewife in their eyes, but they don’t know me much.

I can be the deranged housewife with a butcher knife, but it will be a dirty one because of no water.

They don’t want to push me.  My floors have just been redone, they looked beautiful, shiny and clean…and now they appear  like the circus has been through.  With elephants.

They put these blue footies on when they walk through the house, but for some reason, they aren’t working.

Oh! some of them have appeared, but it is a false warning: they are here to take back some equipment….’borrowing’ it, as they say.  And they will bring it back later…Not good.

You step to the front gate and there is a 4 foot x 3 foot (or maybe 4 foot) trench that runs 84 feet into the street.  At the end of it is Volvo Ballerina…a big yellow digger that digs with surgical percision.  At least they aren’t taking that piece of machinery.

I asked where the crew is and they said back at the office doing paperwork.  Well, the rain is moving in, faster than we thought, and the trench can’t get wet or they can’t inspect and close, and we can’t use the fixtures.

I told them to tell the office boys that the Lady of the House is looking rather psychotic right now, and about to go into a rage.  LOL!

It would behoove these boys to drop the paperwork for later and get their asses out here and finish the job.  The Lady has toilets to flush, dishes and laundry to do, and floors to clean. All take water…lots of water.

I love my husband.  I asked him how much is this going to cost us in the end?  He tells me ‘it will cost what it costs’.  But I have been patient and we have been careful about what we eat because in a very clear way, we are realizing  we are the top end of the sewage lines…in fact we are movable sewage systems and I think some days that is all that can be expected.

But back to the outhouse. We are 3 miles from downtown Atlanta, with 9 (denuded ) acres of land behind us.  A small, just a modest outhouse , one with a cut out moon and just one seat and lots of lovely lime under it (I think you dig a hole beneath the hole) and maybe painted a forest green so it doesn’t stick out…and planters of flowers outside on each side of the door, and a little shelf with reading material on one wall, and maybe stick on battery powered (or solar powered!) lamps so you can read in the dark, and a firm latch so you can be alone.  (cause husbands like to come in and discuss world events with you at the wrong times…)

That would be nirvana.  Simple gifts, indeed.

Lady Nyo

Tags: , , , ,

8 Responses to “Simple Gifts”

  1. JRS Says:

    You may recall, Lady Nyo, that in my youth I worked summers on my uncle’s ranch in Montana…even though the main house was fully equipped with running water and plumbing, I sometimes preferred the rustic charms of the privy, which was equipped with a Sears catalog for those times when the paper ran out….since it was ancillary to the bunkhouse, it was a multi-holer (2 or 3, I can’t remember which)….nothing like answering nature’s call amidst nature’s splendor.


  2. shia1 Says:

    I want an outhouse too. Easier to clean. Just get the hose and hose it down.



  3. ladynyo Says:

    ROTF! Yeah…and you could do a two-fer…Hose the guys inside as they come out!

    You are a kick.

    I did get my outhouse…after a fashion. Son and I , well, mostly son, went to the far reaches of the propery, dug a hole, built a surround with concrete block..and cut out a piece of plywood with a hole…placed it over the ‘hole’ beneath…

    Right then the guys yelled out that the sewer was fixed…and the water back on.

    Hallelujah!!! Joyful news….. didn’t need to use the ..ahem….outside toilet.

    Later hear a squawk…a hen had fallen in….looking for worms I guess….got her out. Fine chicken…recovered fast.

    I just know that having that back there is a boon…in case the circumstances warrant an outhouse….it’s not exactly the outhouse of my dreams…

    but it’s there.

    Thanks, shia, for writing. This was a 1/2 our solution, and isn’t as wacky as a outhouse . The plumber thought it a ‘good thing’…..Martha Stewart kind of plumber….meticulous…which I think is a good thing with plumbers.

    I have been cleaning this house top to bottom and especially with bleach for the toilets….but at least they flush!



  4. ladynyo Says:


    Yes, Jerry, I remember that particular summer, when you called me all the way from Montana. probably my first long distance call…

    No, I don’t remember those details…but we were such shy and proper teens then….but I know now! LOL!

    What ever happened to that ranch?? And a 2- 3 holer makes for interesting and close company…Probably TOO close!

    I do remember when we bought the old house on River Road….you know well the house….there was an old outhouse behind the smoke house..and it had two holes in it. My mother, being a proper New Englander…and 8 months pregnant and it being in the middle of the winter…refused to use it, so Daddy got cracking and did the downstairs bathroom….I don’t blame her one minute. The wood was all black walnut….had about 3 acres of walnut on that property, down towards the brook, Jerry. That wood from the outhouse ended up as a beautiful built in cabinet under the back stairs…in the kitchen. I hear that it was torn out…what a wonderful place of great forgotten treasures.

    Ah…our youth, Jerry…fond memories…and all this outhouse talk gives a new twist to “Splender in the Grass”..

    LOL!…Thanks for writing, dear friend.

    Lady Nyo (Jane to you…amongst other things you have earned over the 40 plus years)


  5. Margie Says:

    Well, I’m glad you didn’t have to use the privy, but what a clever son you have to fashion such a thing! My grandparents in Missouri had an outhouse for many, many years – until the last flood knocked the house down and they moved a trailer onto the lot. It was the bane of my existance as a teenager – stinky, cobwebby, and if we went to visit in the winter – prone to stalagtites (or stalagmites, whichever ones grow up toward the sky). Grandma Mason had a big stick next to the outhouse, and one was to give the side of it a big whack prior to seating oneself. This would shake down the ice crystals and prevent the possibility of sitting on one. Yikes!

    Glad you can now flush!


  6. Malcolm Says:

    I loved your memories of the ideal outhouse! Of course I am old enough to remember using these, first in Melbourne in the early 30s and later in country places. The cut-out moon is lovely touch. Glad to hear that things are working again.



  7. ladynyo Says:

    Laughing here Malcolm….I guess it takes a certain age for all of us to remember that stuff.

    that last sentence of yours set me off…Yes, I was stopped up out of necessity…(sorry) until the toilets started flushing again….I still don’t think I could make like a bear in the woods….

    thanks for reading and commenting…I still want that ideal outhouse! Just in case.




  8. ladynyo Says:

    ROTF! Oh Jesus, Margie! That must have been one of the ‘fondest’ memories of your teenage years!..

    Still laughing here!

    I can see Grandma Mason beating on the outhouse! What a visual!!

    Yep, I NEVER get that issue of stalactites/stalagmites right…up or down, they are all icicles to me.

    Oh, the indignities we suffer as teens….

    Had to be about 20 years ago, when we were invited up to a house in the NC mountains by friends. No electricity, oil lamps, outhouse, and water was drawn at the spring. Chamber pots under the beds…iron beds and quilts…Great food cooked on a huge castiron stove..but I still remember that bacon, gravy and biscuits.

    However, I didn’t know ‘how’ to use a chamber pot….There is a technique I would assume…our modern butts don’t coordinate pot to butt….and I decided to use the outhouse that was not that close to the house (for a reason)….It was full summer, beautiful grass out there, and I made it by the light of the moon. Coming back, I got stung on the bottom of my foot. No one warned me about the bees in the ground.

    The next morning….when I mentioned it (remedy: 1/2 a cut onion held on the swelling…works, too) they were aghast! I should have taken the big stick to sweep the grass in the dark. There were copperheads out there.

    Speak of lucky?? I used a chamberpot for the rest of the weekend.




Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: