A Rising Tide…

March 31, 2010 at 9:05 PM | Posted in Journal | 1 Comment
  A rising tide lifts all boats…out of the bay and then they come up through your sewer and into your basement.

  If it wasn’t a nightmare about Domino’s Pizza, it was a nightmare about plumbing.  Why can’t I ever have a nice dream…about Claudia Schiffer?  They are all fragmented in my memory, but I can piece them together. 
  We lived in an old house in Jennings, built circa 1910.  Two stories, with the bathroom upstairs.  In the basement: ancient everything, including the plumbing.  The bathroom upstairs would leak on occasion, from the sink and the tub, right through the floor and we could see it in the living room.  In my dreams, the walls were wet with water and it rolled down the stairs in waves.  When I opened the bathroom door, exposed pipes burst and sprayed water.  I waded through it, looking for the shut off.
  In the basement the sewer backups were real.  In my dreams, they were not exaggerated much.  We had a foot of water in the basement (real) with fish in it (dream) and frogs and turtles (pure conjecture, but who knows?) 
  I was always working on the plumbing.  I paneled over the tile wall around the shower and caulked it, and that stopped that leak.  I finally got the right inlet hose on the toilet, and that stopped that leak, although in dreams, we could sit on the toilet wherever we wanted, because it didn’t have to be attached to anything.  We moved it around the floor anywhere.  The sink I fixed…several times.  I’m so good with plumbing that once I fix it, it keeps on leaking and I have to keep fixing it. 
  I was sitting on the couch watching TV and felt a drip of water.  I brushed at it, thinking it was a fly.  It was wet.  I felt another, then another.  I looked up.  Fuck.  There was a growing stain on the ceiling.  Let’s fix it again.
  The main sewer line was from ancient Roman times, and it was cracked and broken under the yard on the way out to the street.  There was no way we were going to pay to fix that.  Eventually we got lucky and moved out due to crime and racial violence so we never had to deal with it.  But it backed up regularly, and we learned to keep stuff up off the floor in the basement.
  Once I had a dream that the house took on so much water that we were sinking.  We started to bail water out the window.

  Sunday, the sewer backs up.  It seems that every year about this time, we have this problem.  I thought that with a modern house (it’s only 50 years old, right?) and modern technology and modern plumbing that I shouldn’t have a problem with this.  I fear that there might be a collapse in the pipe, because she run slow.  But we pay extra money in our real estate tax to fund just such a repair, a lateral insurance.  I hope it doesn’t come to that, but it might.  I’d rather just have it cleaned out.
  But I worked all day Monday and Tuesday.  I want to be here when the guy comes in, so I can ax him some questions.  Detroit finds a number to someone, and I called him today.  I set up a time for 2pm.  The deadline, she is approachin.

  Bottom line–the sewer is cleaned out.  Kind of like that medicine you have to take before a colonoscopy, the lateral and the main be squeaky clean.
  Detroit saw a sign on the side of the road–perhaps held by a homeless person; I didn’t ask–that said something to the effect of "Sewer Line, 90 bucks."  Okay then.  She found a link and emailed it to me.  They don’t have a website, it was a city-finder-type link but it gave me a phone number.  At 2pm the guy shows up, and I lead him down to the basement.  It’s not often that it bothers me, but maybe it’s just because I noticed it all:  Damn, our house is a mess.  It’s just cluttered with shit.  Still, after cleaning it out over and over and getting rid of dumpsters-full of shit, we still have more.  The main level is not so bad, but the crap that’s there is my fault.  Detroit is more of a minimalist. 
  After seeing this in a new light, I lean that way as well.  The basement is dark, dark.  The new recessed lights that I put in recently all burned out, one my one, like the stars disappearing as the twilight of dawn approaches.  Except it wasn’t beautiful and poetic, it was dark, dank, trashy, and smelly from the sewer.
  And that makes the clutter and trash seem trashier and more…clutterier.  It’s a word.  There are stacks of boxes of books in one corner of Alex’ room that we had to move so the guy could get to the clean-out.  Everything just needs to…go away.
  The main cleaned out just fine, first with a two inch then with a four inch blade–and it’s a four inch pipe.  There was no problem, dispelling the myth that my main is collapsed.  The guy–Don–said whoever did it before didn’t have a powerful machine and that’s why it had trouble cutting.  This makes sense, and matches what I remember.
  For extra money, I had the guy do the laundry drain as well.  When the washer drains, water comes up out of the straight pipe and onto the floor.  Clearly, this is unacceptable.  At first I was going to do that one myself with my small snake (it’s not how big it is, it’s how you use it) but I decided to have him cut that one open as well, and I’m glad I did–he had trouble, which means I would have gotten nowhere.

  Now, the floor is mostly dry, and the residue around the drains is a gentle reminder that someone needs to clean that shit up.  I did Detroit and my laundry, and we took showers.  Bran is finally doing the dishes, I think.  Back to normal, if that’s a real condition.

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  1. That must have been a nightmare! We are having septic troubles ouselves. Every weekend we have to pump the tank to dump because the infilterators are not working. At first we thought our leach field was frozen but that doesn\’t appear to be the case. Now, we are looking at digging up half the front yard to bury about 7 grand in a hole for a new tank, pipes etc 😦

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