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Thinking of thowing in the towel

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Sanctuary

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Have to vent....
As I sit here steaming/stewing, and ready to KILL someone, I'm analyzing what doing B&B means to me, and perhaps this will pass, but right now, I am seriously rethinking whether it's worth it.
I LOVE the hospitality aspect of it, and the cooking, pleasing, etc. and that's pretty much why I do it in the first place, but B&B does not really render much more than costs. The full-blown charters are the real money-makers, but in today's economy, those are few and far between, and B&B has been viewed by me as "found money" or "filler income." It doesn't really cost me much more than food and beverage expenses since the rest of the expenses attendant to B&B are fixed - dockage, insurance, etc. costs me whether I do B&B or not. I don't have a water or electricity bill. Still, B&B is not a lot of money, even at $160/night. But, on the food and beverage aspect, I really do try to go all out with quality.
I ponder this because.....regardless of how many times I tell people (even men [humor].....), "DO NOT FLUSH TAMPONS", some [delete the profanity!] flushed one anyway. If I were netting a few thousand on a charter, I'd probably fell less "mad," to put it kindly, to have to disassemble the boat's sewage system to pull a "mouse" out, fiber by fiber, string by string....but for the price of B&B, I'd rather commit murder, kill her and take my chances with a jury.
On a boat, flushing something like that is simply FORBIDDEN! And I have gone head over heals to convey that message when people first come aboard, short of a color, glossy photo brochure on "here's what happens when you flush one and here's how YOU go get it ou." ...and YES, I do have photos of "how to remove the mouse" and have been contemplating presenting those, no matter how disgusting, to the women, upon check-in. Last time I contemplated that action, I cooled off....but I'm pretty hot about it again, now.
Just cancelled the Super Bowl party scheduled for tomorrow. I want everyone OFF my boat! Call it a meltdown or what, but I'm angry, to put it kindly.
 

seashanty

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i'm so sorry.
and how to say this without being graphic and offending .....
sometimes when using the toilet, the feminine product exits the body, without removing it. and said female might then automatically flush without thinking. both have happened to me on occassion ... while running the inn ... and after the fact thinking ... what did i just do?
i do not think the act was malicious. just not thinking. or thinking/realizing too late
how to prevent i don't know. since just one causes a real problem?
is there no trap 1/2 way to wherever, like can be installed on a house (inn) septic? you see, average landlubber like me does not understand. love boats ~ but i don't know a thing about the workings of same.
 

gillumhouse

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And when they were first invented and marketed it was advitised as being "flushable". I know that was a lifetime ago, but.....
As SS indicates, it can easily be a case of done gone - unplanned and unitended. The average person - especially landlubbers - would never think anything that small could cause that much problems - sewers are hollow pipes that go to the sewer treatment plant.. Right? They have no concept - until you joined us I did not - of the machinery required (thinking of it as being like our outhouse on the farm or the holding tank in the camping trailer - into the tank until dumping time). I have been on 4 windjammer cruises and had no idea.
Perhaps that is your answer for the future - when explaining the head and its function, explain it is not just a holding tank there is machinery involved and the machinery does not like foreign objects.
 

Copperhead

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Venting is a good thing and glad you found the right place to get it out of your system! As others have stated, I do not think that it was done with intention as the product is commonly thought of as 'flushable' just like TP. The product is really not great for sewage treatment or septic systems either. We have a sign as well, have a seperate sanitary can (with sanitary bags) and still have some hit our tank. Although one does not cause the problems you have, the strings do get tangled in the aerator and cause a malfunction or fry the motor ($350+). Not as unpleasent of a job as you have it but costly.
Sure hope this venting has helped you get past this rage and you won't throw in the towel...I am still looking for a way to get down to visit ya!
 

NW BB

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We have 4 septic takes for our property and I swear, the main tank is as old as our house (115 years)! We have had problems not only with the tampons, but also condoms. I can truly relate to your anger! Now, above all our toilet paper holders I taped a sign that says "Please do not flush ANYTHING other than toilet paper. All other items should be placed in the trash can. Our septic system thanks you!"
It seems to have done the trick. You may want to consider adding a charge in case someone breaks the rules. I hate signs and I hate any extra charges, but if/when this happens to us, we lose money; either by having to call the plumber, cancelling the next guest because the plumbing is not working until you get it fixed or right now in your case, considering getting out of the business.
Hang in there. The anger will pass and you'll figure out a way to solve the problem. As someone else said, it's out of ignorance that people do this. More education is needed.
 

Samster

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Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh!! That is so frustrating for YOU!
I agree...explanations are great, but if you don't have a sign right where someone sitting on the toilet will see it.... Landlubbers are used to just letting those things go down the pipes. There's no clue about what might be involved even in a septic system for most folks.
The best sign I saw was, "Country plumbing not like town, only TOILET PAPER will go down!" You could modify that to suit the high seas.

And, you need to add something to your policies about charges for inappropriate items being "flushed" on your boat.
Have a mojito for me
 

seashanty

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she goes through the 'you will have to clean out the septic if you flush xyz' spiel with the guests .... that's why i think maybe this was an accident.
but a service charge if an 'accident' occurs sounds like a good deterent. ang, what do you think? could you put it in your policies and charge for this? do you?
i had those little post card signs in each bathroom, right where the tp unrolled. it was someone on here who gave me the phraseology and i had them printed up on free post cards from vistaprint. folks laughed and enjoyed them and noticed them (they were bright country colors) and it did help cut down on the problem ... but it did not eliminate the problem completely. eliminate ..... oh.
 

swirt

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We have 4 septic takes for our property and I swear, the main tank is as old as our house (115 years)! We have had problems not only with the tampons, but also condoms. I can truly relate to your anger! Now, above all our toilet paper holders I taped a sign that says "Please do not flush ANYTHING other than toilet paper. All other items should be placed in the trash can. Our septic system thanks you!"
It seems to have done the trick. You may want to consider adding a charge in case someone breaks the rules. I hate signs and I hate any extra charges, but if/when this happens to us, we lose money; either by having to call the plumber, cancelling the next guest because the plumbing is not working until you get it fixed or right now in your case, considering getting out of the business.
Hang in there. The anger will pass and you'll figure out a way to solve the problem. As someone else said, it's out of ignorance that people do this. More education is needed..
This solution would not work for Sanctuary but it would work for you and Copperhead and is a MUST that is relatively cheap to install and saves all those on septic from expensive disaster. Have a Zabel effluent filter installed on the septic tank right before it goes to your effluent pump or your leach field. It prevents catastophic failure and makes it a 30 minute job to clean rather than an all day or several day affair.
This is one of those ounce of prevention worth a pound of cure kind of things. :)
 

Samster

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she goes through the 'you will have to clean out the septic if you flush xyz' spiel with the guests .... that's why i think maybe this was an accident.
but a service charge if an 'accident' occurs sounds like a good deterent. ang, what do you think? could you put it in your policies and charge for this? do you?
i had those little post card signs in each bathroom, right where the tp unrolled. it was someone on here who gave me the phraseology and i had them printed up on free post cards from vistaprint. folks laughed and enjoyed them and noticed them (they were bright country colors) and it did help cut down on the problem ... but it did not eliminate the problem completely. eliminate ..... oh..
"Eliminate"...haha! Yes, that was me with that phrasology on the other forum....
 

Morticia

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I remember the first time I went on my BF's parents' boat. His dad looked right at me and said, 'If it wasn't in your mouth first, don't put it in the head.' They didn't even flush TP.
That was 40 years ago...I still remember that vividly.
 

Samster

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Sounds pretty clear to me...my dh reminded me when he was a kid and they had a boat (off Long Island, NY) they didn't even put toilet paper in the head either. He said that you should threaten them with using a bucket if they don't behave!!
 

Sanctuary

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Thanks for the words of encouragement. I finally mustered up the courage and energy to go down there and have at it. The hose that needs to come off is 29 years old and quite rigid and brittle by now. I'm going to have to re-hose it once I get it off with something new. I'm thinking a combo of more PVC and then just using a very small piece of hose to make the connection to the pump. As has been the case with all the others in the past, it's that one large hose that I cannot get off the barb at the end of the pump, and that's there the goodie awaits removal. Just figures....I'm going to have to call in "muscles" for this. And he (Ed) will be here around Wednesday, coming down from Atlanta. What a lovely "Welcome back to Miami" that will be for him.
I'm sure no one intentionally did that, or at least I like to think that, but it doesn't remove any of the anger from the situation. These pumps weigh about 40 pounds and cost $900 new or $600 rebuilt. They are 2' long with a giant blender blade at the large end. That's there the mouse gets all caught up because the blade cannot chop up the fibers well enough to get through the suction part of the pump housing. I do explain this in great detail to everyone coming aboard, even the men, just so that they know they can't throw matches, cotton balls, or q-tips, etc. And we do have signs in the bathrooms as reminders. A toilet is called a "head" on a boat. The last person who did this to me was a friend of mine who said she simply "forgot" and suggested that I mount another sign under the shower door so that as you sit on the commode, it's right in front of you. I guess that's next.
Apparently, I need MORE of these:

Here's my backup beast....waiting on the dock in the wagon in case I need it:

The mouse is caught right at the end of the fat end (far right) under that priming plug/bolt on top.
 

Copperhead

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We have 4 septic takes for our property and I swear, the main tank is as old as our house (115 years)! We have had problems not only with the tampons, but also condoms. I can truly relate to your anger! Now, above all our toilet paper holders I taped a sign that says "Please do not flush ANYTHING other than toilet paper. All other items should be placed in the trash can. Our septic system thanks you!"
It seems to have done the trick. You may want to consider adding a charge in case someone breaks the rules. I hate signs and I hate any extra charges, but if/when this happens to us, we lose money; either by having to call the plumber, cancelling the next guest because the plumbing is not working until you get it fixed or right now in your case, considering getting out of the business.
Hang in there. The anger will pass and you'll figure out a way to solve the problem. As someone else said, it's out of ignorance that people do this. More education is needed..
This solution would not work for Sanctuary but it would work for you and Copperhead and is a MUST that is relatively cheap to install and saves all those on septic from expensive disaster. Have a Zabel effluent filter installed on the septic tank right before it goes to your effluent pump or your leach field. It prevents catastophic failure and makes it a 30 minute job to clean rather than an all day or several day affair.
This is one of those ounce of prevention worth a pound of cure kind of things. :)
.
Thanks Swirt, I will provide this info to DH...That is his territory (thank goodness!)
 

happyjacks

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Sanctuary, I'm late replying here and hopefully this aggravation is losing some of it's sting now.
I agree with the folks who suggest you charge a fee when/if this happens. Make it a significant one, like 2-3 times your room rate. And make sure it's noted in your policies, in your confirmation letter, and on the registration form the guest signs when checking in.
It won't stop people from accidentally letting things flush, but it might make them more conscious about what they're doing. It could also make you feel a wee bit better when you're retreiving the mouse to know that you're at least getting paid to do it.
 

Copperhead

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I have read several here providing advice to charge for this problem. My question, and by it you will know I am a landlubber: Is there a way of knowing which head the foreign object came from?
 

egoodell

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Sanctuary, I'm late replying here and hopefully this aggravation is losing some of it's sting now.
I agree with the folks who suggest you charge a fee when/if this happens. Make it a significant one, like 2-3 times your room rate. And make sure it's noted in your policies, in your confirmation letter, and on the registration form the guest signs when checking in.
It won't stop people from accidentally letting things flush, but it might make them more conscious about what they're doing. It could also make you feel a wee bit better when you're retreiving the mouse to know that you're at least getting paid to do it..
I totally agree. Make it a large cleaning fee or something like that - the cc companies don't allow the cards to be charged for "damage" from what I've been told. So in case you can't get them to sign the cc voucher, call it a "cleaning fee" or something like that!
But make it BIG - something they will notice - like some innkeepers charge something like $500 for smoking in rooms and it's been held up in court - it must be on your website, on your policies and on the bottom of your registration form that they sign. When challenged the innkeeper said it was $500 because the room was out of order for two days and everything had to be dry cleaned. Some guests are highly allergic and some like me hate the smell.
Riki
 

Sanctuary

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Yes, I can tell exactly which toilet it was because all of the toilet systems are individual. Each has its own pump and that's where the stuff gets stuck. The problem is "denial". Seems nobody did that! I've only had one person, ever, confess. And most of my fellow boaters have never had anyone ever confess.
Fortunately, each toilet is tied to the individual guest room, so unless someone used someone else's toilet, and that's entirely possible to do and not get noticed, there's always some doubt that can be created as to who did it. And then, there's the "It was like that when I got here." HOWEVER, when explaining how the head works and where the flush button is, I always operate the head, in an effort to negate the "it was already like that...." excuse later on.
And then there are the other things....this one is funny...a friend of mine had his young son onboard who had been eating lots of cherries. He, too, was given the drill of "if you didn't eat it first, it doesn't go in the head." He minded the rules, and still broke the toilet. It sounded like marbles being ground up. His dad scolded him and said, "You know better..." The boy, in his defense, denied any wrongdoing. While eating the cherries, he never spit out the pits and instead swallowed them, unbeknownst to anyone else. The pump was full of cherry pits making a horrible noise as you can imagine and had to be taken apart to remove the pits. Never serve cherries with pits!
 
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