Derailed

Today started out so well. Baby Evan not only slept through the night, he slept IN, not making a peep until 8:30 am. E is home today so I got to pass the buck on the horrible morning diaper while I took a beautifully long shower. I managed to shave both legs, including above my knees, for the first time in weeks. Our possible agenda for the day included: going to the lake, boating, swimming, walking downtown for some lunch, Ikea, watching a movie, taking the baby to the park, the aquarium, or any number of other super awesome weekday-off-of-work summer activities we rarely get to do. We decided to start with Ikea (aka Home Design DisneyWorld). I packed up the diaper bag, changed the baby and ran downstairs to feed the cats before we left.

Actually, I only made it half way down the stairs. Then I noticed the water.

And then I noticed the smell.

This isn’t the first time we’ve had plumbing problems in this house. The day I moved in (E was at sea) the sewer backed up into the basement and I stood on the bottom step just staring at the mess until my father suggested I find a phonebook and call a plumber. I didn’t even know if the house HAD a phonebook. Eventually I got a guy to come out who hemmed and hawed and poked things and removed drain covers and stuck things in pipes for a couple of hours before declaring he had no idea what was wrong but we definitely needed a new line from the house to the street so did I happen to have $2,500 as a downpayment? Plus $200 for his opinion?

I fired him. Later, my neighbor said she hired him to do some work and he was even more of an idiot that I had originally suspected.

Fortunately, that first back-up turned out to be just a result of the house being empty for 8 months and my normal use of the plumbing for a couple of days flushed everything out. I lived in happy denial for 6 months.

The second back-up involved a dozen people stomping around the house hemming and hawing and looking for the problem and never really coming up with a permanent solution besides replacing the entire line out to the street. And that time it cost $800.

So this morning, although it’s been 2 years since the last backup, when I saw the water and smelled the smell I almost cried. Our plans for the day – for the week, maybe for the month – now all revolve around wet-vacs, rubber gloves, plumbers, RotoRooter, city workers, pipe cameras, and juggling bank accounts and credit cards until we figure out what exactly we have to do and how much it’s going to cost. Our plans for next week that previously included adding pantry shelves and a new workbench for E in the basement are now scrapped. Basically all the fun and joy and happiness in our lives has been sucked up along with gallons of (literal) crap by the shop-vac. Stupid, stupid house.

*One of the weirdest parts of our old house: random basement toilet. There isn’t an actual bathroom down there, just a sort of partition made out of random pieces of leftover plywood and a door that doesn’t shut. Also, no sink. Just a toilet. Which is where all the gross disgusting stuff that doesn’t make it out to the street line comes up. BLECH.

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4 Responses to “Derailed”

  1. Amy says:

    UGH! Been there! Good luck getting it cleaned up quickly and cheaply (and maybe permanently). Our basement still leaks every time it rains a fair amount…luckily it’s just plain water. Aren’t old houses fun?

  2. TMae says:

    Basements SUCK. I hate them. Ours has flooded, leaked, and backed up – all since February. I’m thinking it would be easier to just become a plumber… Happy plumbing thoughts for you.

  3. Audrey says:

    We have a basement toilet too, sans sink. But we also have a huge sink in the basement for doing laundry washing in..do you have one too? My understanding of the basement toilet is that it is from when men had dirty factory/mining/whatever jobs and they would come home from work and go down there to clean up before walking all through the house their wives spent the day cleaning. I’m assuming they did their face/arm/hand washing in the laundry sink.

    • bebehblog says:

      We do have one of those super heavy soapstone basement sinks, although it’s been turning into a gross paint sink instead of a laundry sink. Your theory makes a lot of sense!

      Also, E discovered this weekend that the drain pipe from that sink is the original 1914 lead pipe from when the house was built. Good thing we aren’t trying to take it out.

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