On how not to spend your night.

Sunday, December 16, 2007
Well, last night at 2:37 am and again around 4:10 I promised myself that if I lived to see a decent tomorrow I would never blog again. There are more important things in life, like going to the toilet and when you are done, having it go away from you down pipes, to a safe and distant land.

Let me summarize my evening:

At 11 pm I went for my evening shower. It's all good.

11:30, I get a drink and am heading for bed.

12:00, Thomas comes to tell me that there is water coming up in the basement shower, and the toilet is acting strange.

12:02 I quickly realize there are big problems as the sewer is spewing fluid, rather than receiving it.

12:33 Thomas and I have managed to stem the flow of sewage entering the house. Hillary is less than impressed that her shower has ended so abruptly.

12:45 I have gone through my problem solving list. Thomas is helping think it through, Hillary starts offering to make coffee, Lauralea and Micah are fast asleep.

12:50 I conclude I need a plumbing snake. Walmart is open because of 24 HOUR CHRISTMAS SHOPPING!!  I go.

1:00 am. I get in line at an unbelievably busy Walmart, and stand there waiting for the line to diminish till 12:15.

1:30 Thomas and I have shoved the snake it's full 15 feet into the sewer, and we've reached nothing. Hillary offers to make coffee.

2:00 I go to the church, mainly because I need to go to the washroom, but also I need a longer snake and I hope there is one there. Thomas starts calling Plumbers emergency phone numbers. Nobody is at home.

2:15,  No long snake at the church. I decide to put my friendship with Phil to the ultimate test and call him. I believe he has a longer snake.

2:20 Not only does Phil have a plumbing snake but he offers to bring it over and help out. Yeah Phil!

(Let the reader note my increasing tiredness and absolute desperation to get this fixed, even as I was trying to diagnose the problem)

2:30 I am snaking out the main sewer in my basement, and through much hard work and frustration, I am able to snake till the clean out valve in the front part of the basement sewer line.

3:00 Thomas, Phil, and I are outside on the top of the ladder trying to check if the plumbing vents have been clogged. Nope, all clear.

3:20ish, I thank Phil and send him home to get some sleep.

3:30, Thomas and I decide to open up the main clean out for the sewer line in the front of our house, basement. Desperation and hope and exhaustion melding into a blurring of focus. Hillary offers to make coffee. I send her to bed.

4:00 We have extended the snake into the sewer line out into the front yard about 25 feet. I don't know how far to push, since I'm not sure how far the main line is out there.

4:25 Since we have found no blockage in the front yard line, the exhaustion and desperation I feel because soon people are gonna need the toilets and showers, drives me to conclude that we must not have pushed far enough with the snake in the basement sewer to find the block. It must still be inside the house.  I conclude that we must snake the inside the house line again.

4:30 Thomas goes to bed.

5:00 Still snaking. Weird thoughts go through my head. Irrational thoughts.

5:30. I am physically and emotionally exhausted. Still snaking, finding nothing.

6:00 I'm out of ideas. People are going to be moving soon and needing a washroom. I feel like a failure, unable to provide the basic needs for my family. I am unable to fix this problem.

6:30 On the couch, tired beyond reason. I'll try to sleep a bit on the couch, because I'm covered with sewer water, and because I don't want to wake up Lauralea, and have her need a washroom.

6:45 Can't sleep.

7:30 Wake up and go back to searching for the blockage in the line.

7:50 Lauralea is up, and I tell her the news. She offers her help by asking if I have tried flushing the toilet. I look at her with my exhausted look and she quickly realizes the madness of her suggestion. I send her to the church to wash up.

8:00 I start with calling plumbers again. I reach a rotor rooter guy. He offers his expertise on the phone and is willing to come down. His fees are double for Sunday and he gets paid by the feet of snaking he has to do to reach the problem. His minimum is 60 feet, then every foot after that costs. I am strangely impressed by his business. He's a good guy.

8:30 I need to be at work, but I first remove my snaking efforts from the basement sewer, and clean up the space a bit.

9:00 Rotor Rooter guy comes with one big sweet machine.

9:30 "Mike" the rooter guy, finds the blockage 27 feet in, and cleans the, uh, crap out of it.

9:40 I am off to church. Service starts at 10 am. I leave Mike with Lauralea to pay for the sixty foot minimum, doubled.

It's not a complete waste of a night. I have learned things about myself and my family. They are good, helpful people, Thomas is a big help. I learned that Hillary can now make coffee. I learned or re-learned that Lauralea (and Micah) can sleep through mostly anything. I learned that if there is water at the main sewer clean out opening at the front of the house, then it means that the blockage is past that space, out in the street.

I am smarter now than I was 24 hours ago, at least sewer wise.

hoping that tonight will be considerably better,

I bid you goodnight.



  1. Sorry to hear about your painful night!
    An apartment that some of our friends live in here has a sewer problem every so often. The problem seems to have it's crisis point in their apartment with pooey sewer contents from other apartments coming out the pipes and flooding their bathroom and beyond.
    They discovered last year that when this happens it is because someone tried to flush something they shouldn't have.
    I think one time they found a white sweater in the pipes.
    They also just had another overflow about a week ago... only one guy was there that weekend so he had to do the poo clean up all on his own.

    Anyway, hope things continue to flow smoothly at your house :) and just thought I'd share someone else's sewage war story.

  2. Ooooh now that would require much grace, to live in a place like that!

    hey, hope you guys have a good Christmas.


  3. I think you should have let Hillary make coffee. Very strong coffee.

    My party woes seem oh so small.
    And I am glad that they were nothing like yours.

  4. Oh no !! When I felt prompted to pray for you whilst in worship yesterday morning I assumed you were tucked up in bed not up to your elbows in ****. Must have a word with God about making those prompts more specific....

  5. Rachel - I think your prayers were in order - Randall carried on in his usual well prepared manner and we heard God through it all.


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