02 March, 2008

surviving the shit storm of 2008

I thought I'd be writing this post to describe one of Oona's record breaking poop episodes. Like the time a couple weeks ago when she shot her shit 4 feet across the room. Or even the daily episodes where she explosively projectiles out any gap in the diaper around her leg to soak through two layers of clothes, her diaper, whatever she is laying on, and if you are so lucky, your hands, arms, legs, pants. You can imagine this routinely wakes her up from what would otherwise be a nice 3-hour nap, important down time for her parents. This may also occur right after we've taken a shower. Oona is notorious for waiting until you get her cleaned up during a diaper change, then, taking advantage of that nice moment when you are letting her butt air dry, she lets it go. Squirt. Let's just hope we have it all covered up. Last night at 3 am, we didn't. She hit everything.

But none of this has anything to do with our shit storm this weekend. It all started Thursday morning when the sewage system started backing up through the downstairs toilet. And I should stop right there because it gets much much worse. You probably don't want to picture the whole floor flooded until it was seeping through the floor boards, ancient toilet paper stuck to the trim boards, soaked into the wall. After we gave Oona a bath I went down to the basement to find half of the first floor boards dripping and 3 inches of water on the basement floor. Needless to say, we had to stop putting anything down any drain. Picture the laundry piling up (I had to use our neighbors washer for a load of diaper wraps when Oona was running out), the dishes piling up, no showers, etc.

The first thing I did was rent a 25 foot snake from the local tool rental guys and spend 3 hours doing my darnedest to put the system right. No dice. All I did was crawl in yes, shit, for those three hours with my hands in the toilet bowl. I'll say no more on that score, but it was just about the worst experience this side of bathing in it. So, I called our local plumber (he lives 1 block over), Tommy, who called me back from the bar on Thursday night. He said he was out having a few cocktails with his buddies (which means Jim Beam and a string of Buds), "So is it alright if we wait until Friday after work?" "Umm, I guess so, we just have the plumbing to the whole house backed up, but sure." "And oh yeah, make sure you rent a larger snake, get the 1/2" or 5/8" and try to get it 100 feet long." So, we wait.

Friday afternoon and a morning living in a now very strange feeling house, I walked over to the tool rental guys. Nope, the 1/2" is broke and the 5/8" is rented out. Won't be back for days. Shit! I called Tommy. "Tommy, can you bring a snake with you?" "Nope, the one from work is on a truck up in Brewster, but if you can wait 'til morning I can get one then. I can be there after 8:30am." "Well, I guess, if you can get a snake." "Ok, see you first thing in the morning." More waiting.

Another long night. Sigh. It's 9am Saturday morning. Where is that no good plumber? 9:30, Tommy calls. "Umm, Timon, I have some bad news. I can't get the snake." "Uggh!" "I recommend you call CheapSnake." "UGGH (couldn't you somehow have told me this Thursday night)." Alright, thanks Tommy (but no thanks), bye." I call CheapSnake 3 times and leave urgent messages to get back to me ASAP. I still haven't heard back from them. Then I call back my rental guys just in case they have a snake this morning. Nope. Stress. I finally ask the all important questions, "Is there anywhere else you know of to get a snake?" Sure, you can check the Ossining Hardware because they rent tools too." Thanks for telling me that 2 days ago. I call them up, they've got exactly what we need. I call Tommy, he says he can be here in 30 minutes. I go to pick up the 100 foot snake but it won't fit in my car. So, 2 hours later Tommy finally shows up with the snake from the hardware and we get to work. And success! It came out with a flailing of liquid slick that flew all over my basement, my motorcycle, my wine fridge, and me and a ball of roots and hair on the end. But our system works now and it only took me another 6 grungy hours to get the house cleaned up. My coffee this morning in a clean kitchen never tasted so good.

Finally cleaning up on Saturday.


Amanda said...


Randy said...

Oh, man... We had a similar problem a couple of months ago -- roots in our pipes that finally became impassable. We had been living with a constant "glug glug" and some bubbling that came up through the toilet when we did laundry. But finally and all of a sudden, it all decided to come out of the toilet, in gushes.

But, we had nowhere near the hassles you did. As much of a shitty experience as you had, I found it a good read. And I hope you never have to go through that again!