Toilet Troubles!

Getting back to reality after a vacation takes a little bit of getting use to.  Going from the sand and sun to forecasted snowstorms in April can be hard to take, and a little depressing if you ask me. However, there have been so many interesting things that have happened in my life, post-vacation, that I really felt it important to overshare!

We are having some major toilet issues going on at our house.  I know talking about toilet troubles is probably not good form but bear with me – there are some lessons to be learned! We arrived home to water in our basement.  Now this is not an unusual event as we have an older home with a foundation that was poured over a few days – back in the olden days when our house was built, they had to use muscle power and a small mixer and it took several days to pour the cement for the foundation. This means there is a seam that sometimes allows the water in.  Nothing that we can’t deal with as we have a sump pump and an electric pump for those “accidents” that happen from time to time.

Anyway, I awoke on our return from vacation to hear water running in the basement and when I went to check it out, found out the overflow valve was spewing water.  I knew this was not a good thing so called Donnie (aka Loverboy) to come take a look.  He hummed and hawed and used his “plumber knowledge” to diagnose a blockage in the line inside the house.  (This had actually happened before when I was in an isolation room at the hospital having radiation treatments.  The downstairs toilet overflowed and Loverboy called me to ask what he should do.  Being unable to leave the area where I was without setting off multiple alarms and alerting the HazMat team, I told him to hang up the phone and call the plumber.)  So I took his diagnoses with a grain of salt and told him to call the plumber. He then decided to pump out the water that had collected in a few places. Normally, we pump the water into a big old cast iron double sink and this usually works like a charm, however this time both sinks filled up and threatened to overflow!  Not a good omen.

Meanwhile, I noticed that the toilet upstairs was not flushing very well.  We purchased a new toilet about ten years ago and it was designed with a “nifty” side button that you pushed to make the flush work.  It worked well for the last ten years but suddenly, the side button was not so “nifty” anymore as it would no longer flush the toilet.  This meant that we now were dealing with three issues having to do with bathroom features that we would rather not think about on a daily basis.

Of course, I had to head back to work which meant that Loverboy was left to tend to all these issues.  Dealing with household backups and breakdowns is one of his most favorite things to do!  And so, he began calling plumbers and contractors, trying to find someone who would help us with our problems. Meanwhile, I headed back to work for some of my own excitement that came by way of several emails from Natalia.

Now if you have never heard me mention Natalia before, it is because she is a new pen pal who found me via email.  I am not sure how she got my email address but I have received at least one email from her each day since my return to work. She is lovely gal from the Russian Federation who is looking for a man, and she has her standards.   Each day she discusses the characteristics she is looking for in a man and they include a “goodness man”, a “serious man”, a “smashing man”, a “reliable man”, a “respectable man”, a “good natured man”,  a “dependable man”, a “superb man” and finally, a “fair man”.  I am sure that I am all those things -well except for the “man” part so not sure why she is writing to me, but it does make for entertaining reading and I am really growing my vocabulary with her help. If I had any intention of writing back to her I would tell her that I am looking for a “plumber man” because it would be really good to have one of those right now!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Donnie finally found a plumber but he refused to come to the house and instead recommended we call the pressure wash guy with the camera who can see into your lines.  Of course, when a plumber recommends this you know what is next – “Will that be cash or credit card?” Ca-ching! Someone is about to become very rich and it is not me!  The blockage is outside the house, very close to the street but still on our property.  This means that we now require a contractor to come and dig up our lawn and walkway so that they can replace the errant sewer line.  Goodbye landscaping, hello mud! Ca-ching!!

As for the sink in the basement, the plumber did come over and decided it needed to be replaced because repairing it would cost about “as much as it costs to feed a family of seven for a year”.  Gotta love an old house! We now have a lovely plastic basin that will hopefully drain well and last for five or six years – about the lifetime of most things made today!

The toilet is another story.  We are still unable to flush it (well we can lift the lid, stick our hand into the scary disgusting water and lift the lever manually – yuck!).  I did go to the store where we bought it and they did attempt, half-heartedly, I might add, to try and contact the manufacturer but, guess what, they don’t make those “nifty” side buttons anymore!  What looked glamorous ten years ago, was no longer in vogue, so along with the lovely new plastic sink in the basement and a brand spanking new sewer line, we are going to have a beautiful new toilet to show off to friends and family.  Can’t wait until my next party!

So there you have it! Here are few lessons that I hope you take out of my story .  First of all buy a toilet that flushes like a real toilet.  Secondly, if you suspect you have a blockage in your sewer pipes, plan on winning the lotto and thirdly, if you find an old house for sale,  drive by, very quickly!  Thank goodness I took my vacation before all of this happened! In fact, I think I need another vacation now – preferably somewhere with working toilets and lots of vodka. Can anyone say “Russian Federation”?