Wednesday, August 10, 2005

In Which We Sing In Praise of Thomas Crapper

No posties yesterday.

And there was a reason for that. The reason was grounded to a large extent in the fact that I was making regularly scheduled trips to the grocery store in town all day long. Was I being forgetful? Was I cooking vast amounts of food which required many many trips to the supermarket?


As a matter of fact, everyone in the house was afraid to eat yesterday. Because eating...eventually...leads to waste production. And waste production wasn't being very well addressed yesterday, even though it was on all of our minds. In a BIG way.

You might recall that a week ago we had a problem with a toilet which backed up and overflowed. And then got better. Well, the thing is, we only THOUGHT it got better. What actually happened was that it was in constant communication with the toilet in the kids' bathroom on the other side of the house, and they were formulating a plan. To both decide to malfunction on the same day.

By Monday afternoon our toilet was stubbornly refusing to work. Oh it would flush all right. And the water would head downwards. Only not downwards as in ...down the U-bend. More like downwards as in ....all over the floor. Oh...and the sink and shower drain and tub drain would all gurgle in an extremely unholy fashion.

Now as it's the time of the month where we are desperately awaiting the next paycheck, I thought...oh least we have the kids' bathroom. We can use theirs until we have to dig deep and shell out for a plumber. But oh no. The toilets had other plans. We were informed by the children that THEIR toilet had also overflowed, but that Xander had plunged it and everything was fine. I know, I know, this should have caused warning bells to go off in my brain, but it seriously didn't. Until Monday afternoon when I went to use their bathroom and flushed it. And all of the water went down like it's supposed to....and promptly came out all over the floor THROUGH THE BOTTOM OF THE PEDESTAL!!

We do have this kind of insurance protection which covers certain items in the house. We used it when our range decided that it wanted to throw a wobbly and only use three burners instead of four, and make the last one live even when turned off. But I didn't think it covered plumbing. So we got it out and checked. Hey Presto! It covers plumbing! So we called, and after finding ourselves in computerized hell for a while, finally got to talk to a real person who said she would call plumbers in our area and find one who could come out.

And then....nothing.

That's when I started transporting the kids to our local Fred Meyer in order to use the toilets. I thought that maybe it was too late for a plumber to come out, and we wouldn't hear from them until tomorrow. So we all went to bed...except for Azrael who's taken a filler job while he waits to hear from the job he really wants...and he's presently working graveyard at an AM/PM..with a WORKING BATHROOM damn him.

First thing yesterday I had to get all the kids up and drag them, sleepy eyed and complaining, over to Freddy's so that we could use the facilities. I had to wake Azrael up from his slumbers in case the plumber called. Which of course they didn't.

They still hadn't called by the time we made our SECOND trip of the day to Freddys. By this time, I was starting to get a little peeved about the lack of plumber contact. So I called the insurance company again. Who didn't have a record of us calling them the night before. So I had to make out a new ticket. And she'd call me back. Which she did, in half an hour, to let me know that she'd called the plumbers that contract with them in our area and learned that the earliest someone could come out was Thursday. THURSDAY???!! You expect me to use Freddy's bathroom facilities for TWO MORE DAYS??!!

The second option was that we get a plumber ourselves, pay upfront, and then the insurance would reimburse us. Well, naturally by this time, it was a case of you've GOT to do it. So I started calling plumbers. Now the other problem with the insurance not getting back to us was that the time was now 10:30 in the morning, and most plumbers have already decided their schedule for the day. The first one I called told me they were fully booked, and despite the fact that it was an emergency, and they have emergency 24/7 coverage, that doesn't mean 24/7 coverage like actually coming out and fixing stuff. But I could call them back if I didn't get a plumber.

Then I called the man who has now become Saint of The Week in my eyes. See, I don't much care for plumbers, having been ripped off by many of them during my tenure as a homeowner. I actually spoke to a real plumber rather than the receptionist, and he asked me to tell him what was happening with the toilets. After hearing the sorry tale, he asked me where I lived.

HIM: Being out in Buckley, I bet you're on a septic aren't you?

ME: Yep.

HIM: When did you last have your septic tank emptied?

ME:'s been a while....

HIM: A while as in more than two years?

ME: (Not wanting to tell him that we've lived here almost ten years and never had it emptied)

HIM: You need to call someone and have them come and empty your tank, cause see, there's
this baffle where it joins the house that can get full of like....soap and stuff, and if it gets
too full and too plugged up, nothing can get through.

ME: And that will fix the problem with the backing up of the toilets and the gurgling drains?

HIM: I would be very surprised if it didn't. honest plumber!! Someone who didn't want to come out, charge us an $80 service fee and then tell us we needed a septic company!! After writing down the name of this company which is the ONLY plumber I will use in the future EVER, I called the septic compay he had recommended to us. The lady there recognized the fact that four people cannot share a space without a working toilet for very long, and said she'd have someone out to us within two to six hours.

And they were there. WHEN THEY SAID THEY WOULD BE THERE. And the pumping was done, and the smell was created - bad news for Lema who sits right next to a window air conditioner pulling in air from the outside right over this septic tank hole. And within an hour, we had ....ta da!....working toilets and ungurgling drains. And there was much rejoicing.

So now we are back to using the grocery store for buying groceries, and we can start looking at people in the eye again instead of avoiding eye contact with the clerks in case they recognized us on our fourth visit of the day.

I SO do not do the pioneer thing well.


Blogger 'Lema said...

Ooooo... scared of using mother nature with Fred and Jacki's brother next door?


12:46 PM  
Blogger Jensgalore said...

ROTFLMBO! Oh, gosh I can't imagine! Our last house had a septic tank, and in all the years we lived there, we never had it emptied. There, but, go I. It makes me very glad we have moved. :)

8:39 PM  

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