Friday, January 28, 2011

Why Plumbers Wear Brown Pants

Yesterday I had put off the fateful hour as long as possible. After days of failed attempts with Liquid Plumber (just a tip: buy stock),it was time to deal with the Problem of the Clogged Sewer Line.

I dug out the access to under the house and took off all the protective coverings so carefully applied after the last time I went down into the yawning maw that is my house's underside. I knew where the clean-out was, but unfortunately it had about two inches of clearance between the pipe and the dirt. The last enterprising gents to work on it had laid a board under it and used it to guide the "material" down the slope and into the bucket. I started to work on the cap with a brave wrench nobly loaned by my dad.

The clean-out cover came off and I braced for a flood.




The liquid plumber had done its work well. Everything was congealed into a consistency not unlike pudding. And wonder of wonders, it only smelled like Liquid Plumber. I scraped what I could out of the line, down the board leaned against the slope, and into the bucket.


I put the cap back on and told Laura to go up and flush the toilet. Once. She did, and I had a front row seat listening to the water gush through the pipes to where I crouched. The gurgles stopped and I, somewhat more confidently this time, took off the cap.

Do you have any idea how much water there is in one flush of a toilet? And how far that water can gush against an embankment containing one wildly scooting person? Or how inadequate a board-and-bucket system can suddenly seem?

After the deluge subsided, I went to work on the remaining spludge, capped off the clean-out, and Laura and I went into Westby for baths. We hadn't eaten, but I for one didn't have much of an appetite. I tried some chocolate soy milk, but when I poured it out...well...spludge.

I poured the milk back in the carton.

Today I went back under and dug out the dirt around the clean-out so if anyone ever has to do it again a bucket can fit nicely underneath. It gave me a fresh appreciation for the Allied prisoners-of-war who dug escape tunnels every chance they got. They had to dig hunched over or lying down, in terrible conditions, and all the dirt had to be hauled to the surface. From there it had to be scattered carefully since the Germans would have been a tad suspicious if large dirt piles had started appearing around the camp.

All my hunkering and squatting muscles are severely tried today, but as Noni said, at least I didn't have to put the dirt into sacks in my pant legs and scatter it slowly while I walked. Of course, since everything is snow covered and white that really wouldn't have been very effective anyway.


  1. Open this in another window, and leave it to play while reading this post.

  2. Now THAT is funny !!!!!!!!!!

    Tina didn't you listen to them, you are a good handy person.

    it would have to be so so desperate for me to do what you did, and no buckets.

    I can help you buy nail polish and clothing though, I'm good at that.