There are benefits to pitching in and doing big jobs yourself. It’s cheaper. Everyone feels really good about themselves and being part of building a community that will benefit many more. There are more people to share the workload. And its never a guarantee that by paying someone, the work will get done correctly. One thing for sure is that when you run the drain pipe for the kitchen and laundry room uphill away from the house, it will eventually back up to epic proportions, forming a greasy, self-sealing, solid compound that is impossible to snake clear. Thus the backhoe.
Thank you Chiasson Brothers LTD in Cheticamp for coming out so quickly and finding the drainpipe. Especially since once it was unearthed, it was right next to the sewage pipe, which looked EXACTLY the same. After guessing wrong and busting up the sewage pipe, they cut two sections out of the blocked drain pipe and the facilities crew set to running snakes through both ends to bust up and clear out the muck. There is nothing like spending a day in a light drizzle by the sea, in a 6 foot deep pit, over ankle deep in greasy, stinky drain water. Getting chunks out was really, really satisfying. Knowing that it will be at least 25 years before this happens again, and if we use the new clean out, it may never happen again, is also very satisfying. We also got to do some light electrical repair after busting through the cord to the sewage pump. Unfortunately, the pump needs re-wiring, which for me means getting a new pump. Pictures of one of us in the sewage pit changing out the pump to follow.
There are major fun parts. We made ‘No Hunting’ signs, have fires to clean up brush regularly, chainsawing up downed trees is always a good time. There’s also some fun leeway to maintenance projects, like refinishing the wheel barrows in monastic colors and using fancy, leftover brass doorknobs for the compost bin.
Soon I will be leaving here. I’m going to take a job at the retreat center a few hours here named Dorje Denma Ling, having the same job title but doing much different things, I’m sure. So if all this wonderful experience sounds like something you would love to do, get on over to the Gampo Abbey website and put in an application. The view is wonderful and everyone is very kind when you screw up.