Thursday, February 23, 2006

Flu 3, Me 0...

I've had what would have passed as a pretty good winter. Of the 4 or 5 colds that have passed through the family (kids, grandkids, wife) I've only had one, slightly, thanks to lots of Echinacea and using Zicam when I felt something start. Thanks to a flu shot I had missed rounds of several bugs as well.
Last week my wife started complaining of odd aches and pains, then her hands swelled visibly. By late in the week she had picked up a cold to go with her flu, and she saw the Dr. last Friday and got antibiotics. She used 3 sick days along with her two days off and is finally on the mend...
I worked Saturday, and when "the runs" began thought it was just a matter of having cut down how much I was eating, trying to get back under 200 again. By lunch at 9 that night I knew it wasn't that at all. Sometimes I wish I was one of those people who can hurl a couple of times and get "it" out of their system, as for me things always go the other way and take 4 times as long to get through! Sunday was spent watching a bit of TV and running to the bathroom. Monday I chugged two bottles of Kaopectate and went to work because I knew they had been short on people all last week; thank goodness they had extras and sent me home. The "liquid cork" let go about 7 and in the next 12 hours I went through two "triple rolls" of Charmin. That's on top of the 2 that went on Sunday...all down a 54 year old sewer line...
Tuesday I felt better but wasn't sure it was over, so I called in sick. That night when we were running laundry, I heard the toilet gurgle (one of those uh-oh sounds in this house) and got busy with the plunger, flushing and plunging until finally things were working again. Then I filled the tub and the sinks, trying to force as much water down the line as I could to "push" whatever it was the rest of the way to the city sewer line. As the plugs were pulled, the toilet flushed and the washer cycled again, all was fine...for about a minute. Then there was a gurgle, a rising tide, and before I could run to the basement to shut off the washer, the tub was filling, the toilet overflowed, and as I ran through the basement doorway I was running through a waterfall as it all came through the floor.
Once the tide stopped rising and had receded a bit I went up on the roof, in the dark with a plumber's snake, and started snaking the sewer line through the roof vent. I worked the 50' of snake down, and at the end pushed something out of the way, just like last time, just past where the washer and sump tie into the line. Things flushed, water ran, the laundry ran, and after spending several hours scrubbing, mopping, and spraying and running the laundry (the towels we diked the upstairs floors with) all seemed fine. Having been through similar issues with the sewer line about every other year or so for the last 15, I truly was relieved I had won the battle again.
We showered, watched some TV, she went to bed, I came here for a while, then went to sleep. I didn't want to go the gym at work when I hadn't gone to work last night, so I slept in and leisurely watched TV and got ready for work.

Tonight I called home at lunch time and was told that the toilet started gurgling again, but she beat the rising tide to the basement, and this time it only rose a bit into the tub.
I was going to come home tonight and try working two "Drain Kings" into the sewer line and then using the sump pump to "force" whatever the problem is out to the street, but as I laid my plans while working I heard a voice saying "don't screw with the plumbing when the stores are closed". My Dad? My dad-in-law? My brother-in-law? My Grandfathers? Maybe just common sense kicking in after 50 years?

I'm not sure, but I'm heading to bed very shortly, and know what I'll be doing when I get up...and hoping it doesn't involve another "sewey-water" fall!


UPDATE: 2:30pm Thursday

I'm not going to declare victory; in hindsight, even if I've won this battle I know I'll be fighting it again in 18-24 months until I either get the f*** out of this house or replace the sewer line to the street. At this point, though, the washer has pumped out once without backing up, and the toilet flushes; the washer is filling a second time now. I have just enough time to clean up, pack my cooler and eat before work, so things are a bit brighter this afternoon than they were last night...
Replacing the line would be done already if I could do the work myself and pay a plumber to make the connection and inspect like every other county in Kansas. Mine says you have to pay a licensed plumber to do the work, and they don't like digging trenches!
Thank you all for the kind comments. I was hoping to give you all a chuckle with the thought of me playing in the "sewey water"...or at least a feeling of "glad it ain't me!".



boo said...

aww :( get well soon & good luck with the other pipes as well *hugs*

Rexroth's Daughter said...

Hope you are feeling better, and all the pipes have quieted down.

Lori said...

Oh my gosh, you poor man! And your wife, too. We've had similar problems before, just not to that extent. It's so frustrating, especially when you're not feeling well. I hope that things get fixed soon and you can truly rest up from your bug. Take care!

Sandy said...

Man, that totally sucks.
Is there a silver knob thingy behind your toilet that shuts the water off right there?? I saw that on a show once and it saved us from flooding once.

Sublime said...

All hail Echinacea and Zicam... those are the 2 things I also swear by! Too bad they rarely stop a flu though.

I can totally relate to the sewer issues. Glad you had enough strength to deal with it all while you were sick.

Hope you feel better soon and thanks for the supportive comments at my blog.

Take care,

Mystical Me said...

WOW, Im so sorry about the sewer problems, that sucks. I also hope you are feeling better. All I know is itll get better soon!! Well, even if that doesnt work out, something in your life I hope is better then having to deal with this. I wish you well!! Take care, MM XOXOXO

fineartist said...

First let me preface this by saying, I'm sorry you all were so sick. I have a friend whose family and she went through this intestinal nightmare recently, she now takes Clorox wipes with here everywhere she kill germs. It's that bad.

Having said that, I haven't laughed like this over a sewer/scoots story in a long time.

I literally laughed my self tired.

I can so relate...We have a lateral line that is leaching out…I’m not completely sure what that means, but I know it’s not good.

There is nothing like having intestinal trouble and toilet trouble at the same time. No, nothing.

CrackerLilo said...


I hope this is over for a while, anyway!

kath said...

yikes! sorry about ALL of this Alan!

Sick is not bad enough.. but paying for it it with a sewer problem is unthinkable!

as for athe zicam.. i used to use it too.. but a friend of mine warned me off after she lost her senses of tates and smell

and there is plenty more out there..

beware , my friend! she is so miserable :(

hope by now you are doing better..

lawbrat said...

I saw your comment of at Kranki's place and just had to stop by.

I hope your feeling better, being sick is just the pits.

The comment at Kranki's referred to going to the Phillipeans on a ship.

Were you in the Navy? My dad was in the Navy onboard the USS Constiliation (I probably butchered the spelling, sorry), he was in the Phillipeans also.

So, I was just being curious.


No_Newz said...

It's always gotta pour when it rains. Sorry you guys have been so sick and am glad you're on the mend.
Have a great weekend!
Lois Lane

MB said...

Ay, ay, ay! Alan! Surely things can only get better from here...
Take care.

Frankie said...

oh goodness! What a disaster! It makes for a terribly riveting story though, on the plus side ;). I hope you feel better soon!!! Good luck with the plumbing!

answer-man said...

ps I'm having a little trouble sending comments so if I do it twice please excuse me and I apologize.