Just when you thought it was safe to get in the shower…
We last left our story with Murphy trudging down the road and the heroic plumber riding off into the sunset. Toilets were flushing, showers were draining and I finally had that nagging monkey off my back, which was nice, cause his toenails were digging into my bad shoulder.
The next day, about 24 hours into the bliss that was our life, while the Mrs was taking a long, luxurious shower, the toilet started burping up air bubbles and the next thing you know, I felt simian toenails in an old familiar place. You’d think he’d want a different view now and then. For those of you not familiar with burping toilets, let me just say, don’t put something in there that you want to go away, as you’re gonna be disappointed. It is the first sign of trouble, an inkling that you are going to renew your acquaintance with your new friend, Mr Plumber. Now I had a pinched look to my face. So did the monkey.
Back when I started this whole make a new bathroom out of the ashes of the old bathroom, my normal mode of operandi was to stride boldly across the project. I’ve done my research, thought things out and knew my course of action. This place had a hillbillyesque style of indoor plumbing and I would modify that with modern techniques and procedures to come up with something that got the job done and didn’t require me to put a hole in my roof.
While many I had talked to, mostly my wife, thought I was playing fast and loose with the ability of making poop disappear, I was confident that the end result would indeed make deposits of any kind, well and truly vanish.
So, my darling wife gifted me this little tiny baby monkey that took up immediate residence on my back. He was so cute and small back then, I thought of him as a mascot of sorts. The whole issue came down to Guy Logic vs Girl Logic. Guy Logic deals with numbers, objects and hard and fast rules, like water goes down hill. Girl Logic deals with feelings and intuition; hand wavy stuff. She hadn’t spent the hours and hours of thinking about how, when you depress the flush lever, the stuff goes away. It her mind, it just does and if it doesn’t, that’s bad. She makes some killer pie though.
I, on the other hand know the how and why part and can even project into the future that if A goes in the toilet and hangs around, I ain’t gonna be seeing any of the killer pie for quite some time. Cause and effect. Like I said hard and fast rules. My monkey, he don’t give a rip, he gets free room and board and sneaks pie when I’m in the dog house.
So, 2 of the 3 of us had some trust issues with waste management. Me, yup, got it. The monkey and the Mrs, not so sure. If I asked them to define just what bugs them the most, it came down to AAV valves. They let air in when the toilet or shower ask politely. To them, it was magic. To me, “Good Sir, may I please have some air, to escort my good friend down the road?” “Why yes of course, my good man. Here you go and good day.” A simple transaction, between civilized inanimate objects, the very thing that makes this country great.
We ended up calling our new buddy, the plumber, and he said he could be out the next day. Now, most of you would be crossing your legs and hopping around with the thought of your plumber not coming out until the next day and you with no indoor waste removal. You city folks got yourself a situation, now don’t you. Us, we got 20 acres. Just sayin.
This left me a day to prepare for our next plumbing adventure. I thought about this in a logical, forthright manner. We would fix this once and for all. The plumber postulated that our problem was multiple 2 foot clay pipes running out of the house. At each joint, they have a notorious problem with roots. He was able to get some of the roots out with his little sewer snake, but what was needed was to find where the clay pipe meets PVC and put a clean-out there. In fact, he said whoever had put in the lagoon, should have put in a clean-out then. I told him, that’s not how it works out here. Everybody leaves it for the next guy. He nodded his head in acknowledgement that it quite often comes down to that sad fact.
So I spent Wednesday digging holes. One, right by the house to see how deep the sewer pipe would be and which angle to follow. Call that an exploration hole. The next hole was 20 feet off the house and I’m not sure just how I managed it, but I hit the exact spot where PVC meets clay pipe, which was conveniently overlaid by 2 other pipes and the water pipe. It was downright crowded in that hole. I knew the “in the way” pipes were from the old windmill going to the cistern, which is filled with roof shingles and plaster at the moment, and weren’t needed, so I cut them out of the way. The cistern was a big empty hole in the ground in the hired man’s shed, which had a big hole in its side. Not sure when that failed, and it must have been real inconvenient to not have 1000 gallons of water stored anymore. When we got the place, it looked like a disaster waiting to happen, so we filled it with things to keep it out of trouble.
By the time I got the hole finished I was whupped. Sweet Pea the dog was very suspicious of the 2 big holes and kept peering over the edge of the hole and looking back at me. I guess I’ll have to add him to the “are you sure you know what you’re doing” list.
Mark the plumber showed up bright and early the next day and was tickled pink that there was a ready made hole just waiting for him. He brought along a 4 inch T and a couple of rubber boots. I asked how he was going to cut the clay tile and he brought out his chain snap device that is good for cast iron or clay pipe. It took about an hour to get the new clean-out installed and then it was time for the main event. The big sewer snake got dragged up our hill to the hole. The working end had a C shaped piece of metal that had serrations on both sides. It looked like it would shear anything it encountered in the line.
I figure from the hole to the back of our waste line was about 40 feet. The snake was introduced to the line and got busy. I could could follow it by sound and he was able to run it all the way back to the toilet, which is at the end of the line. He ask me to add some water to the system and I turned everything on. When I flushed the toilet, I actually heard the AAV vent open with a whistle. I guess we had caught it napping. Mark the plumber reels in his mighty sewer snake and that, folks, was that. Kind of anti-climatic.
He said that waste lines are kind of delicate, because they only have a slight drop per foot, by code, and they can have what is known as a false failure. Something stubs its toe, just squats in line, and slows everything down. The upshot was we should be golden for at least a year.
I told him I was golden at this moment in time. The monkey was gone. Didn’t even say goodbye, the ungrateful wretch. Mark packed up his tools, we exchanged a few manly pleasantries and he was on to the next job. When the Mrs got home (she had been babysitting the grandchild) she said I looked different, like I lost weight or something. I think she’s missing the monkey too. One less to cook for. Empty nesting again.
Mark Godfrey – Godfrey Plumbing
If you need a good plumber in the Winfield, KS area, I recommend him, highly.