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If there is anything I've learned in life, and in real estate, it's that sometimes life erupts. I tend to warn my buyers that all will be well and we will get to and through closing, but we may have to climb over some rocks on the way.
I came to a vivid understanding of this prinicple a few years ago in my office. I had been gone for the weekend, and when I returned to the office on Monday there was a note on the receptionist's desk that read, "Don't use the men's bathroom."
Being from the "I know a lot of plumbers and if they can fix a toilet, sink, etc., so can I" school of thought, I went straight to the men's bathroom to survey the problem. Everything looked perfectly normal. The sink ran fine, the toilet flushed fine, the lights worked and I couldn't find a thing out of place. So, I ran the sink a little longer, flushed the toilet a couple more times and returned to my office.
A little later curiosity got the best of me so went back over and surveyed the scene again, only this time things had changed. Just around the corner from that bathroom is a small closet with an ejection pump. The ejection pump collects all of the waste from both bathrooms, holds it and when it reaches a certain depth it ejects it into a holding tank and then on to the drain field.
The floor outside the ejection pump closet was covered with . . . well, you know. It smelled awful, and somebody had to clean it up. Oh, yeah, I was the guy who was flushing the toilet willy nilly so it fell to me to clean-up the mess and restore the office to a more pleasant place, and I did.
You might think the average sane man would have stopped there, right? Oh, how I wish that were true. I went back to my office and called a plumber. He promised to be there the next day, and that was that. I sat there thinking about the ejection pump and my "I know a lot of plumbers and if they can fix . . ." thought kicked in and . . . I bet you can already see where this is going.
My "Tim 'The Toolman'Taylor" mindset drove me back to the other side of the building to investigate what was going on with the injection pump. This time I was armed with tools. The ejection pump sits in a black tank that is dug into the ground about 3-3.5 feet. The pump has a series of plastic pipes attached to it that will carry the waste to the holding tank each time the ejection pump well is full.
In order to remove the pump you have to disconnect the pipes one by one until you can lift the pump straight out. So, I started disassembling the pipes. When I had them out enough to pull the pump I started lifting the pump. That's when I got the biggest surprise of my day.
Whatever was plugging the bottom of the pump gave way as I lifted the pump out of the holding tank. When it was up about 4 to 5 inches it roared to life. It was at that point that I realized the pump had not been turned off at the electrical panel.
Now, visiualize this. I'm in a three foot square closet with a 30 gallon powerwasher full of poo. When it broke lose it started spraying its contents through the one pipe that was still attached. Unfortunately for me it was the one that came straight up out of the pump. It immediately unloaded its contents onto the ceiling above and of course "what goes up, must come down." In the midst of the geyser, I had the presence of mind to reach over and pull the electrical cord out of the receptacle, and it stopped.
I was a sight to see. There was yuck everywhere. I smelt nasty, and I was soaking wet. Ironically, all I could think at that moment was that I was glad my secretary was not looking over my shoulder when life erupted. Well, I cleaned everything up again, and stripped down to the "bare" necessities, wrapped up in what clothing I could find around the office and headed home to shower and sanitize myself.
It taught me a good lesson, "Life Erupts." When I'm working on a deal, and it seems to be falling apart I always tell myself, "I could be in the closet with the injection pump. This is nothing!" Remember, things may get nasty and even stink a little while you work your way through a flood of signatures and initials, last minute changes, and extensions and compromises, but it could be worse, you could be in a three foot square closet with a fountain of . . . .