Thursday, February 7, 2008

January’s Jam

This is not what anyone wants to deal with over a weekend and especially home with a toddler potty training... As a freind said "We will survive and laugh when it is over" and we did.

One Saturday afternoon in January I went to wake up the kids from their naps to take them to friends for a potluck. Selena agreed to try potty. As I was getting her seat ready the tub drain started to make noises and then water started to come out. The toilet started to bubble. I moved Selena and ran to the laundry room. The washer was draining out the hose and up the drain pipe across the floor. I shut off the washer (2 rinses short of being done) and started clearing stuff out of the room. All of my sewing and knitting stuff was stacked up with a ton of other stuff because of the sunroom construction mess. It took me 45 min to get it out while drying some stuff off too.

I called the neighbor saying I was panicking. I explained what happened and that I was home alone with kids because Tim was traveling. He said our sewer backed up (I knew that) and we needed it snaked (I knew that too). He was on a job and would come over afterwards or tomorrow morning. It was after midnight when I heard him get in from the other job. With the phone call for help placed, we did go to the potluck for dinner, flush toilets and some emotional support.

The next morning the pipes were still clogged and then they were predicting snow that night. If there was complications clearing out the pipes that day this could have gotten much more "interesting". Snow and ice would prevent them from doing any digging to get to the clog, which was a possiblity.

Since the neighbor had a late night, it was probably going to be a big job and the problem HAD to get fixed soon I called the company he works for. They listened to my story of my backed up main while home alone with a 2 and 4 year old. They said a plumber would call me. It was only minutes before I got a call and he said he could be there in 2 hours. Hooray a night in a shinny blue truck from Michael & Son would be arriving soon.

The plumber was there in less then 2 hours. He took out the toilet and snaked the pipes. He had me turn on water everywhere. Then he came running for towels and to turn the water off. He snaked again and announced that it is a BAD clog. This is not what you want to hear. He was still snaking 2 hours latter. Before he started he spoted the wet potty wipes which Tim and the kids love and said they are NOT as flushable as they say they are and are probably the reason for the clog. Well that was only part of the problem. The other part was the two 55 year old large maple trees which the developer planted on both sides of the sewer line. At least they will no longer a problem since they were taken down in the fall.

He also found the former owner LOVED the toilet drop-ins. Mind you we have lived in this house for nearly 2 ½ years and we have never put a drop-in into the toilet. There was a 2 inch pile of chemical in one corner of the tank. The rubber gaskets were going. I cleaned out the gunk and the bottom layer was black from the chemicals eating the rubber. I asked him to just replace all the gaskets and inner workings so after clearing the drain this weekend I didn't have to clean up anther mess from a gasket going.

He used Simply Green and cleaned for almost an hour. The Simply Green spray cleaner is a grease cutter and did a pretty good job. I spent another 2 hours mopping the hardwood floors and scrubbing the bathroom with my Melaleuca® Sol-U-Guard Botanical® disinfectant cleaner. After changing the bucket 3 times, every thing looked and smelled like nothing had happened. Well after all the towels were washed, twice.

He spent nearly 6 hours of snaking, cleaning and rebuilding the tank workings before my night in the shinny blue truck took a quick shower. I made him a sandwich and gave him another bottle of water before he was off to rescue the next person.

So after it was all said and done I can look back and laugh. During this whole event I had wished my husband wasn’t out of town for business and my plumber neighbor was free to help but I took care of it myself. I am actually glad our neighbor wasn’t free to help. Five hours of snaking a main is more then a neighborly favor.

Lessons learned:
1. Never flush the flushable toilet wipes. If you must use them trash them.
2. Don’t use the tank drop-ins. The plumber says the ones in the bowl are much better and don’t damage the gaskets.
3. Don't plant large trees right next to the pipes to your house.
4. And if you do need to get a new toilet consider the Toto Drake which only takes 1 gallon of water to flush, as recommended by the knight in the shinny blue truck.

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