The Bogged Down Blog

by | May 16, 2014 | 0 comments

Everyone gets stuck. Authors get writer’s block. We all procrastinate to some degree or another. Usually, it’s some mundane task that will never sound like a good idea. Nobody ever woke up and said “Man, what a beautiful day it is. I think I’ll go wash all the windows on my house after I do my taxes!” I found out over the last couple of weeks that it’s possible to get “business stuck”. This is a syndrome that can be really debilitating to a business. Basically, I had so much stuff piled up that I froze. I couldn’t decide what to do next. Oh, I did the day-to-day tasks that are part of my weekly routine. But, I couldn’t make any progress on anything new. And then my kitchen sink backed up.

I called Scott at Sebastopol Plumbing, as he had done some work for us in the past. He came out with his handy dandy truck full of gadgets and snaked the sink (by the way, be warned that this post may cause a little queasiness to some.) Anyway, he found a lot of grease build up and decided that the pipes should be hydro-jetted. This basically power washes the inside of the pipes. It sounded like a good plan, so back he came the next day with a trailer rig for hydro-jetting pipes. Thirty minutes later, my sink was draining as fast as you could pour water out of a 5 gallon bucket. Excellent!

We had decided to replace the old kitchen faucet and install a new disposal, so the next day his sidekick, Bill, came out to do the installation. A couple hours later, everything is installed and working perfectly! The next night, Laura was happily doing the dishes in our fast-draining sink with our fancy new faucet, and all of a sudden her feet were getting wet. Upon opening the cabinet door, she found water pouring out of the new pipes under the sink. This was no bueno, so a call was placed to my new speed dial buddy, Scott.

He came out first thing the next morning and let me know that the problem was most likely a broken pipe, since it drained well for a while and then plugged up again. As we were walking the exterior of the house looking for a solution that didn’t involve a concrete saw and ripping out my kitchen floor, he asked when the last time the septic tank had been cleaned out was.

Adam scratches his head and ponders a moment. “Hmmm, maybe three years?” I said.

“Why don’t we  take a look-see there before we go demolishing your Pergo,” he noticed.

Okie doke folks, here’s where it gets a bit gross, but I promise there will be a payoff (well, there was a payoff for me, and definitely for Scott. At the very least you should get a good chuckle at my expense.)

We called Carlos from Petaluma Septic. Luckily, he was in the area and arrived within 20 minutes. He gets his rig all set up and starts the cleaning process on our septic tank. We’re all adults here, and we all know what ends up in a septic tank. But here’s what I didn’t know. Remember when Scott mentioned that there seemed to be a lot of grease in the pipes? Well, when Carlos was done pumping out the tank, what remained was a giant block of grease. I mean BIG, like McDonald’s was sneaking in and dumping their fryer oil every night big.

So, apparently grease is like the pearl in the septic oyster. Over a long period of time, it builds on itself. In this case, it blocked the septic inlet for the kitchen drain. When Scott jetted the pipe, it bored a hole through it, but soon the giant iceberg slid down and blocked the pipe once again.

On the plumbing side, this was great news. The problem was clearly identified, solved, and we are back to our regularly scheduled programming. But it got me thinking: how many times do we try to solve a problem without knowing the actual cause? There’s a principle called Ockham’s Razor, which basically states that the correct solution to a problem is usually the simplest. In the case of my plumbing problems, the simplest solution was to drain the septic tank, as opposed to remodeling my kitchen. So there I was, stymied in growing my business, and looking for a solution. What’s the simplest solution, Ockham???

In my case, the problem was cash flow. When I started to think about it, my giant iceberg of grease was the everyday tasks. I wasn’t allowing myself a dedicated time each week to grow my business and increase sales. Here’s the cool thing about all this: once I identified the root problem, a huge burden was lifted. The skies parted, the sea ebbed and the moon waned. OK, maybe it wasn’t all that, but it did feel good to have a flow again.

I think we’re all at our best when we’re creating something. A new marketing plan. Building, instead of maintaining. Don’t get me wrong, maintenance is essential. But it can’t be everything. If you aren’t growing, you’re dying. And so, I started building. Check out and see what I came up with!