Monday, March 31, 2014

Toilets Stink...

The Facts

Toilets stink. Enough said.

His Side

Modern plumbing is a wonderful thing. I am very happy to not use an outhouse and to only set foot in a porta-potty when I’m at some event that requires it and I can’t hold it. The only problem with modern plumbing, just like anything else, is when it fails. This past Sunday, ours failed and it was quite frustrating.

Neither toilet would flush and the bathtub wouldn’t drain properly. The extent of my plumbing expertise is the use of a plunger. Yea... that didn’t even come close to solving our problem. Right off the bat, I did what I have been trained to do:  use the internet to find plumbers that are available on Sundays. Then, my wife mentioned that this problem had occurred a few years back and the city came to fix it for free. Free is always better so we called the city. Since the Sanitation Department isn’t officially open on Sundays, I had to call the police dispatcher and he was not a nice guy. But, we did get some city workers to the house in a surprisingly short amount of time.

As you might expect, we were not thrilled when the city guys checked everything that they could but were unable to solve our problem. So, it was time to call in help:  family. It is really nice to have family nearby that has a better idea of what they are doing when it comes to these types of situations than I do. As you know from our previous posts, I have never been much of a Mr. Fix-It but I am learning. Today was another lesson... a smelly lesson.

My brother-in-law came over with a snake but nothing came of it. So, we crawled under the house and I got an education on what all the pipes under there do. There was good news and bad news under the house. The good news was that there was a valve we could open under there to use the snake if necessary. The bad news was that the pipe has a very slight downhill grade (as it should) until it reaches a sharp left turn to get out from under the house where it actually goes uphill. The sharp turn and the uphill grade makes it a danger zone for clogs. And that’s exactly where the clog was.

At this point, it was good that we could see the clog, but it wasn’t a fun experience clearing that clog. As you can imagine, it wasn’t a pretty sight once we cleared the obstruction. We ruined a pair of gloves, a bucket, and two towels. The smell was unpleasant but I survived and didn’t gag a single time. My brother-in-law has an infant son so he’s used to similar smells. He didn’t bat an eye at it. 

It wasn’t a pleasant experience, but we got the problem fixed and I felt very accomplished because, now, I can fix the problem in the future all on my own. Here’s to hoping we don’t have a similar problem in the future, though, because plumbers have a crappy job (pun intended). You really have to make that pun, right?

Her Side

Homeownership is a wonderful thing. You have a home to call your own and can do anything you want with it. If you want to paint the walls bright pink and cover them in glitter, that’s your prerogative (note: I’m not a big pink girl, so this scenario likely would never happen). Unfortunately homeownership isn’t all pink paint and glitter, you have to actually take care of the dang house, too! And that’s not always fun. For one, there are the buzzkills known as BILLS. This is where all of your hard earned money is siphoned to each month. The next big destroyer of fun are those oh so lovely unexpected home improvement tasks and inconveniences. They always seem to come up at the most inopportune times.

The latest trek into the joys of homeownership happened over the weekend… the WORST time ever to have something happen because, well, you just want to enjoy your weekend and not the problem at hand! Our Sunday started off in a normal fashion. We snoozed the alarm clock a few times (don’t worry, I build snooze time into my routine), then we got up to get ready for the day. A normal part of starting the day is using the facilities, and they worked as normal for the first go. Then, suddenly, as if to go from best friends to mortal enemies, the toilet refused to comply with its normal duties. That’s right folks, it wouldn’t flush. It was at this point that reinforcement was called in by way of the handy dandy plunger. This normally does the trick, all is well, and we are on our way to enjoying the rest of the day… not this time! I became increasingly frustrated because the symptoms of the problem seemed to mirror one I experienced a few years earlier.

With an old home comes certain intricacies that one must learn to deal with. The sewer lines weren’t installed like they are in new homes, and that causes a backup of sorts once every few years…. EW! So, I thought this might be the same type of issue and that the City of West Columbia would need to be called in to save the day just like last time; but, such was not the case.

To be completely honest, this is the point where I lost it. Yes, I cried over a plumbing issue. I cried because it was the weekend and I figured that the city wouldn’t have anyone available to fix our issue right then (which isn’t a far stretch to assume). I cried because fixing a plumbing issue isn’t the way I wanted to start out the week of my 25th birthday. I cried, and I suspect this was the REAL reason I lost it, because a simple plumbing issue made me miss my dad. If you knew my dad, you’d understand why it tore me up so much. My dad was the real life Mr. Fix-it. If you had a problem, he could fix it (no lie). I can’t remember a time where my dad willingly called in reinforcement before exhausting all of the options that included him fixing the problem. I became so accustomed to dialing the home phone and asking my mom the hand the phone to Dad because I had a house problem that needed fixed. He often times would show up on my door steps a few moments later to save the day. So, not being able to get my dad’s opinion and help was a real sucker punch for me.

Luckily, I have an awesome husband who consoled me while I cried and told me that we would find a way to fix the problem together… however that may be. At this point, I don’t think he thought he would be the one fixing such a crappy situation (pun definitely intended). So, after havint our initial hope of success via the City of West Columbia shot down, we called in more reinforcement. My brother, Jason, once again came to the rescue. He and Nolan did some diagnostics and eventually found out where the problem stemmed from and they fixed it. It certainly wasn’t a fun job, and it certainly wasn’t a clean job, but they got it done. So, now we have working plumbing and know what to do if this issue arises again (knock on wood).

I cannot stress enough how thankful I am for family that is willing to drop everything to help out others and for a husband who didn’t complain one bit while dealing with my emotional mess or the literal mess they found under the house. So, while homeownership may not always be fun, it has a way of bringing people together. I’m surrounded by some great people and I couldn’t ask for anything more.

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