No seriously. This is a gross post.
Don’t read it if you don’t like disgusting photos or you like to imagine that you poop rainbows and unicorns. (whoa…that last one would be painful)
HERE IS YOUR WARNING. DO NOT PROCEED IF YOU GET VOMITY EASILY, GET SICK AT THE THOUGHT OF FECAL MATTER OR GET GROSSED OUT EASILY. CONSIDER YOURSELF WARNED.
I wanna make sure I warn you guys because this is about something that happened in our house that happens to many folks out there…our toilet overflowed.
And this isn’t our first rodeo with the round bowl. It seems like ever since we started hosting our weekly girls group, we have had loads of potty problems. More use = more pooblems. (sorry had to). First, the first floor went kaput. Then the office bathroom (the one we used because the first floor bathroom needed addressing for…oh…about a month or three) also decided that it would have an issue. Well…lo and behold, the basement bathroom also decided that it wanted in on the action and yesterday in the midst of other issues, we noticed it waving the white flag (aka…spitting white toilet tissue all over). I am really not surprised this space decided to revolt. Afterall, when we girls meet together, we put all the kids in the basement with a couple babysitters and when you mix loads of kids on a weekly basis with one lone toilet, you are bound to have something go wrong.
Okay…so get ready for the gross. We are getting real here folks.
So Jeremy works from home about one day a week and during that time, he usually sequesters himself to the basement (it’s quieter and he can focus above and beyond the kids screaming and they can’t bug him to play, wipe their nose or whatnot). So yesterday Jeremy is in the basement and he notices on the way to the bathroom that there are little bits of toilet paper all over the tile floor.
Being the detective handyman that he is, he goes into the bathroom to discover that the toilet appears like it overflowed and then went back down. So he grabs the handy plunger and sees if that helps. Nothing. So he decides to flush and see what happens.
Good idea, right? We thought so.
Well, all of a sudden we see that the toilet is overflowing (yuck) and the shower right next to it, starts also having muddy looking water come up through the drain (yak).
We freak out. A little scream action. Panic sweat begins. I may have passed out in my own puke. Jeremy calls my brother who is a plumber.
He says to go outside to the line access pipe and unscrew the lid. Which we did…
Jeremy used a pair of pliers and out came a bunch of water, toilet paper and stuff. Basically this releases the pressure inside the main line to the septic tank.
Brad told us that the water would come out…so we made sure it had a place to go…
Brad briefly explained some quick and dirty bullet points…there are two possible outcomes here…
- one – the water doesn’t drain out of this pipe….meaning, we have a complete blockage in the pipe or the septic tank needs pumping. If this was the case, he recommended seeing if we could snake it ourselves, breaking up a blockage for $40. If we snaked it and then could not break it up, then we would have to call Roto-Rooter or a similar company to come out, dig up the pipe in the yard and pay for them to cut the pipe, clear out the blockage, fix the pipe and fix the yard back. If we never hit a blockage with a snake, it meant that we would have to call a septic tank pumping company to come out and dig up the septic tank, pump out the waste that was blocking the drainage with one of their giant waste trucks, and spend a few hundred dollars getting them to fix everything.
- two – the water drains…meaning, we have a partial blockage that we could possibly snake, go back to our normal flushing routine and avoid several hundred dollars of repairs.
That’s when I considered getting on my knees in the nasty sewage water and praying that we only had a partial blockage.
Slowly but surely over the course of the next five minutes, it starts going down little by little.
We figured that since it did in fact start going down (and nothing was coming up in the bathroom) that it meant that we had a partial blockage somewhere in the line to the septic tank. Since I had just put both boys down for a nap, I ran to Home Depot to get a snake. This is the one that they recommended for the job. (oh yes, if you are the random HD guy that helped me…while I simultaneously cried and yelled at you for not selling iPhone 5 chargers….I am really sorry. The poo hit the fan yesterday. Literally and figuratively in all areas of my life. And you did a great job of not slapping me.)
I got home and both Jeremy and I attempted to snake it.
Nothing. We basically couldn’t get it to go into the pipe that lead to the septic tank. This vertical pipe connects with another pipe that runs parallel to the ground out to the septic tank and for the life of us, we could not get it to go in that other horizontal pipe.
That’s when I told Jeremy that I literally was about to die without running water and that I needed to pee and that I wish there was a way to get that water out just so we could see the hole. Enter my genius….let’s suck out the poopy water!
Jeremy gave me the side eye and said “I ain’t putting my mouth on the other end of the hose from that!”…
I suggested the shop vac….I mean…maybe there was something that fell in this hole and was just blocking the septic line, right?
After one filled shop-vac load, Jeremy said that it was time to quit and call someone. It was a ton of water…and the level didn’t seem significantly lower. I however whipped out my fine negotiating skills and said “let’s just do it three times…three more times and dump out that water and see what happens.” And then I went upstairs to ‘let it mellow’ if you know what I mean.
Five minutes later, Jeremy came up and said “I think it worked!”
Basically he said that he was on the last ‘fill’ of the shop-vac and then all of a sudden, he heard a gurgle and a churging noise (that’s a word) and then all of the water drained out of the pipe. That’s when he decided to snake it again to see if he could feel anything.
Low and behold, he got the entire snake down the pipe.
That’s forty feet of snake. That’s all of it.
Just for a visual…this is thirty feet…
And now our toilet is flushing just fine…and the shower isn’t giving your feet a ‘treatment’ while you clean up. Thank goodness it only took a $30 purchase and a little ‘experimentation’ to fix the problem. On the flip side…now I have one heckova basement to sanitize. Maybe I could get the girls group to do that. It could be a theme….this week, wine and cheese night….next time, grab some Clorox and a mop! Nothing says a good time like rubber gloves, right?! Any takers?!