Thrills and chills

Yesterday was quite a day.

I had a doctor’s appointment that morning. As I was washing up for the day, both my bathtub and my toilet started backing up with sewage water.

This is exactly as exciting as it sounds.

I finally manage to clean myself off (I was taking a bath at the time) and call the landlord. She calls me back only fifteen minutes later, and tells me that the super will be coming at the time I’ll be at the doctor’s office.

A visit from the super is normally no problem, except for my cats. I move all the pet stuff (litter box, food, scratching post) into my bedroom, close the door, and head to my appointment.

I walk to my doctor’s office. I find out that I’m still alive (yay!). I get back to my place, to find the superintendent and a plumber there. The problem is that a drain is clogged, somewhere deep in the pipes where the toilet and the bathtub connect.

I go to my car to drive to work. The right front tire of my car is flat. It had been flat yesterday too, but I’d inflated it using a portable battery/air pump I carry in my car. Overnight I had the foresight to recharge the portable battery, so I inflate the tire again. It’s slow. I have to stand for 15 minutes in the frigid cold.

This is exactly as exciting as it sounds.

I leave the plumber and the super to their work as I drive my car to the nearest auto shop. It’s a good place; they fix my tire (and changed my wiper blades) in only half an hour, for less than $40 (yay!).

I return to my apartment to check on what’s going on. The plumber has removed my toilet and is trying to snake out the clog. The snake refuses to go far enough. It comes out in the next-door neighbor’s sink.

The problem now is that neither the super nor the plumber knows the location of the correct access point to the appropriate pipes. All relatively modern pipe systems have them, and they’ve looked around, but can’t find it. The plumber reinstalls my toilet, but tells me I can’t use it. They call a plumber with better equipment, but they warn me that the next probable step is that they’ll have to knock down walls to find the access. Hopefully that other plumber will come in the afternoon… or not.

They leave. I think about what to do. Go to work for only a couple of hours? Go to the mall and watch a movie? I have to go somewhere… because I have to go somewhere, and my toilet isn’t working.

The plumber warned me that I should completely clear out my bathroom, to give the other plumber room to work. So I remove everything: toiletries, shower caddies, the shelves over the toilet. As I do this, internal pressure warns me that I wouldn’t make it to work; I’ll take in a movie instead.

As I’m just ready to leave, the super knocks on my door. He tells me everything has been fixed. He and the plumber were talking as the plumber was packing up. Just then the super remembered: years ago, a contractor had covered the access port with some wood so folks wouldn’t have to look at the ugly pipes on the outside. They remove the wood panel, see the pipe, run the snake for five minutes, and they’re done.

I can use my bathroom again. This is exactly as exciting as it sounds!

Of course, my bathroom is a mess: dirt and dried sewage on the floor. Instead of a movie, I wind up scrubbing my bathroom with Pine-Sol.

This is also as exciting as it sounds.

At least I can get to corners I can’t normally reach due to the bathroom accessories I’ve moved out. My bathroom is cleaner than it’s been in years. Then I move everything back in.

Since I know I’m not going to be able to make it to work with all the cleaning and such, I decide to take this as a vacation day. I also decide to do the laundry, cleaning/restocking the bathroom in-between washing, drying, and folding.

The day’s tally: One fixed tire, one clean bathroom, clean laundry, renewed toilet privileges, zero movies, one used vacation day, and a couple of irritated cats.

In the end, I came out ahead. Not a bad conclusion for a day that started with sewage flowing over the floor.

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  1. Anonymous

    Wow…at least this was an excitin, well-written post. I do wish you had had a more pleasant day, though!

    P.S. This is Sabrina

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