The Art of Catching Sewer Minnows

(Written in October 2013)                                  

Ever have one of those months where it seems that Murphy’s Law was written just for you? It seems as if the past few weeks have been filled with challenges of the comic sort in my world.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining.  I know so many people that are facing mountains right now that I dare not compare my little trials with theirs.  But, I must admit, they are trials at the time they happen. Fortunately, God allows us to look back on what we thought was the “end of the world” and see the reality of “it’s just funny.”Minnow

If you have read any of my past stories at, you know that my life is filled with comedy, most of which I would rather people not know.  But who am I to prevent you from having a laugh that God provides? With that in mind, let me tell you about “Sewer Minnows”. Haven’t heard of them before? That’s because I just made them up, but they are real to me.

A few weeks ago, having completed the three month effort of putting a new roof on our house, I thought I was out of the woods. One of the benefits of having a new roof put on is that you get to intimately know your lawn due to picking up nails for weeks after the job is complete. This allowed me to realize that the mole I have chased for years has a son who is obviously out to avenge his father’s death. That is a story for another day.

On Friday morning, I was awakened by the voices of the ladies in my house frantically notifying me that the toilets were flushing “wierd” (Their words, not mine). After a brief time on the end of a plunger, I decided that I couldn’t fix it and asked my wife to call a local plumber. She did, and he found a wet spot in the front lawn which indicated that our septic tank needed to be pumped out. I called my cousin Jimmy Harnage and he was good enough to come out that night and do the job. He unfortunately had to break the news to me that the entire system had to be replaced. Keep in mind that this is just a few weeks after we paid $9000 to have a new roof put on. I had a small panic attack when Jimmy broke the news to me.

The next morning we hired Mr. Powers to dig up and replace the smelly system. This is where the minnows come in.

Remember a while back when I was chasing frogs in my underwear with a bb gun and a mag light? (See “Ribbit Rambo”). Well, the pond that those frogs live in sits on top of our septic tank. That pond had to be dipped out in order to get to the tank so who do you think got tasked with doing that? Yep, yours truly. It doesn’t seem like a big deal unless you know how big the pond was… and it was plenty big.

Toni, my darling of a wife, argued with me about it. I said “Let Charlie just flip it over and dig it up when he digs up the tank. It is dark, I am tired, and I don’t want to have to pump this out this late at night.” “Well,” she replied, “It will get water all over the place and I am sure he doesn’t want to get water on his backhoe.”

“WHAT?” I thought to myself, “Water on his backhoe? That is what the blame thing is for you dorky girl!” (I thought this on the inside. I’m not stupid enough to say that out loud.)

“Sweetheart, I will have to get buckets and haul that water out one bucket at a time,” I explained. “Well,” she said, “I just think that would help.” I sighed and wobbled off with my bottom lip stuck out to get the bucket.

A half hour later, I had filled my shoes with a stinky broth of cold pond water but was nearing the bottom of the pond. My soul mate helped by holding a flashlight for me as I sloshed water out of the pond and walked it over the hill to dump it out. God bless my daughter Monique who saw that I was about to need a cardiologist and jumped in to help. To my misfortune, she is an animal lover too.

I was just about to say “That’s close enough. I am going to bed” when the girl alarms went off. You know what I am talking about right? The little squeally dancy “OMG” filled production when one of my bunch see’s something of interest. This usually happens when shopping but somehow this event ranked high enough to warrant the production on demand.

“What is going on?” I yelled. “OMG, OMG!” they squealed. “There are minnows in the pond!” “Bless their little hearts they are just swimming around in the shallow water! We have to get them out!”

“Are you dad-gum kidding me? I just want to go to bed! You two morons can stay out here and fish out minnows until daylight for all I care but I am cold, wet, tired and I have had enough of this!” (On the INSIDE). On the outside I sighed again, and started aiming my bucked to catch minnows that I had no idea where to put.

What seemed like hours later, I was able to escape around the corner of the house and sneak away as they both scratched through the muck and mire to insure the safety and comfort of any remaining minnows, neither seeming to care that I was crying as I crawled into the shower. When I finished my shower and looked out the window, it still looked like a scene from prison escape movie, flashlights panning the horizon for the lone minnow-like figure, dogs whaling in the background, and an eerie fog rolling over the dewy grass.

About a half hour later, “Pookie” (yep, that’s what I call her) finally came back into the house, got her shower and crawled into bed with a look of satisfaction and pride on her face which was not associated with me.

“I am so glad we noticed those little sweeties” she said. “Why, we saved their lives. I bet they are gonna be so happy in the other little pond!” I just stared at her.

“Let me tell you something chick! I have worked all day, I am smelly, I can’t use the toilet, my back hurts, my neck hurts, my bologne sandwich has left me, I can’t get this stench out of my nose, and I am exhausted. I could care less about some stupid sewer minnow. Now hush up, be quiet and let me get some rest. The least you could do is appreciate how difficult my life has been lately!”

On the inside…

On the outside I said “Glad they are safe punkin. You did a good job. I love you. Can I get you a snack from the kitchen before you go to sleep?”

God bless my heart.

Ken Dulaney

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