Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Missing my sweetheart, septic tanks and used cars

I must confess that I am really missing Mrs ERJ.

I woke up about two in the morning and could not get back to sleep. I went out to the living room and could only find Herc (the senior partner). Zeus was nowhere to be found.

Five minutes later, I heard a yip. He had gotten himself trapped in the kid bathroom. Kubota had left the dog-gate down and Zeus took advantage.

After paroling Zeus, I laid down on the couch in the living room and fell asleep to the sounds of two, large dogs breathing.

Yep, I am missing her.

Septic tanks

The septic tank guy was scheduled to come mid-day today.

Of course he called at 8:05AM "I am three minutes away."

Keystone cops action. Find shovel. Start clearing clay from the top of the septic tank. Where is the opening.....

I got charged an extra $50 to get it pumped. It was him having to wait for me to get the top of the tank cleared and the fact that the 'solids' were resistant to pumping. Truth be told, if he had charged $200 extra it would have been worth it.

Used cars and inefficient markets

I had a conversation with a younger person (30ish) regarding the "problem" of finding reliable used vehicles at a reasonable price.

He was lamenting the fact that the kind of vehicle he was looking for only lasted ten minutes or so an Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist.

He had never heard the concept "efficient markets" nor had he been introduced to the advantages of shopping in "inefficient markets".

An efficient market is one where every bit of information is instantly available to all buyers and sellers. There are no bargains to be found in efficient markets.

He was shopping for vehicles using Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist because it was efficient. The same reason ten-thousand other shoppers used those venues every day.

"But how do you find and shop in an 'inefficient market'?" he wailed.

"You talk to friends" I said. "Do you have any friends that drive a school bus or deliver mail?"

Then Belladonna piped up, "Or deliver for Amazon or Fed Ex? Or somebody who mows lawns?"

The point is that those people drive tens-to-hundreds of miles every day and see lots of used vehicles inefficiently parked beneath shade trees with "FOR SALE" signs stuck on them. Most people drive past them at 55mph and never see them.

Further conversation moved us in the direction of motivated sellers. An older person who no longer drives or a concerned son-or-daughter trying to remove that temptation is a motivated seller.

The young person had no issues with a +fifteen year-old vehicle if it had low miles and had been maintained. It sounded just like Granny's Buick to me.

The 30ish person's problem was they had no concept of how to tap-into that group of people.

"Well, they go to church and ice cream socials and play bingo. They have Visiting Nurses and Meals-on-Wheels visit them" I offered.

YOU might not know many older people but you know people who might. Or even if they don't know older people they drive past their houses every day.

Just put out the word of your general price-range, age-of-vehicle and miles.

People LOVE to do favors for their friends, especially if it does not cost them any money.


  1. RE: Septic tank - "...where is the opening..."

    Random thoughts: Most septic tanks have ~18-20" square beveled "caps", one at each end. Round 24" diameter concrete pipe is available in 12", 24" 36", 48" lengths, and caps are available to cover the ends. The idea is the cap is 6-12" down instead of the top of the tank being 24-30" down.

    Property maps: A survey plat, or manually-drawn approximation, with specified reference points is handy. Surveyors use "control points" or "monuments" as a fixed reference point.

    You can establish your own. Ex: the corners of the house; a 12-18" deep post hole filled with concrete and its center marked (actually, a center hole to accept a dropped-in eye bolt is handier).

    Measured and labeled, the drawing indicates "septic tank access is 165 ft from Point X at 72 degrees magnetic." And so on.

    Triangulating from 2 points addds precision: "Septic tank access is 165 ft from Point X at 72 degrees magnetic, and 94 feet from Point Y at 40 degrees magnetic."

    Two objects that come into alignment (a pair of posts, or even 2X2 sticks) when you're standing over the tank works just as well, and adding a 2nd alignment point should give you +/- 1 ft accuracy. (Same trick can be used to set up a shooting range on a farm field where plowing/disking/harvesting would destroy positioning of "at point" markers. Pro Tip: A bright flashlight inside a short length of PVC pipe provides one fixed azimuth, the "post alignment" does the other; keep the light in view and walk out until the posts align while still seeing the light. Simple trigonometry.

    So will "38 feet at 90 degrees from the foundation wall at the electric meter box."

    Identifying numerous geographic points on the property in such a manner can be quite helpful; think of it as " a more involved range card." (I'd think Dar may know something about this.....)

    Sure, GPS will work, but paper plats (aka "maps") don't require batteries. Rumor has it that some organizations may be in possession of zoomable high-altitude aerial photos that can be accessed for little or no money.....


  2. I suppose there was a set price for emptying the tank, but if you dug the access out yourself, they were would give you a discount? Last time we had ours pumped out, the guy gave me 75 bucks off to dig down to the lid because he had injured his back on a previous job.

  3. Getting somebody to 'service' the septic is a bonus these days!!!

  4. Good point about used vehicles. They do not last long on Marketplace or Craigslist here.


Readers who are willing to comment make this a better blog. Civil dialog is a valuable thing.