Two days ago I got a call from my daughter (who with her family, lives in our basement) while I was at work.
"There's water everywhere and it's coming from the floor drain in the basement. Sewage has backed up into the bathtub. What should I do?
I have used up all my leave time for the year. I couldn't go home to assess the situation myself. "Call a plumber," I said. "Go with whichever one can get there first".
Hoping that she could handle the situation from there, I worked the last three hours until quitting time, and then went straight home, abandoning my plans for a workout at my local gym.
When I finally got to take a look at things, they seemed rather dire. The plumber would not be there for a couple of hours, so I set about using the shop vac to suck up water. I knew I wouldn't be able to dump it until the plumber arrived and fixed things.
When the plumber got there, he got the drains clear, but emphasized a problem I already knew we had...that somewhere in the main line going out to the street there's a "belly" in the line. This can lead and has already led to multiple backing up problems. He left and I got back to work, mopping, cleaning tubs. Trying to deal with another problem that the plumber had found, which was that the basement toilet was not working properly and that there was likely something lodged within. I was trying to dump shop vac water into it and flush it down, but it didn't want to go down. Only by adding additional water after pushing the handle would the thing go all the way down, but eventually even that stopped. I thought I'd be calling the plumber back the next day to pull the toilet.
However, in the process of trying to plunge the water down, the object that was blocking things actually became dislodged and floated partway into the bowl, I could see the brush end of a toothbrush. I plunged my ungloved hand into the tank and grabbed it. It didn't want to come, but I insisted. Once I got that out and washed my hands, I tried flushing the toilet again. It worked! Rebecca had been carrying water up the 12 steps all day to dump it somewhere, and was all done in, so I washed all the sopping towels, semi-cleaned the toilet, sprayed out the tub (it would still need a good scrubbing), sucked up the remaining water off the floor, and after a long, hot shower, called it a night.
So, this year we've had the freezer go out, the roof replaced, and a flood in the basement. Things come in threes, as a friend reminded me, and we've had our three. No more necessary this year! I think I will schedule a plumber from now on every six months to run a cable through the lines, and if that doesn't work, well, I guess we'll have to take more drastic measures. One of the neighbors said that the same thing happened to them and the guy who fixed theirs said that the houses in the neighborhood had settled since they'd been built and the lines going out to the street have virtually no downhill gradient. Good to know...
Yeah, I'm fairly certain that we'll be moving again. I was fairly certain before, so now I'm even more so. I'm just glad that life's adventures don't all involve cleaning up sewage.