Plumbing Problems

September 3 , 1999

The bathtub in Zoe's bathroom has been causing problems for quite some time now. Things reached critical mass about two weeks ago. What was a slow drain turned into a non-draining drain. This is somewhat problematic.

This problem was compounded by the fact that one of my cats was mad at me and decided to use Zoe's bathtub as a litter box. (Cats can be so vindictive.)

Fearing the worst, and ever in denial, I just starting bathing Zoe in my bathtub. She prefers my tub since it's substantially larger than hers. Plus, there's a high faucet that looks like a waterfall (if you're 3) and that's a lot of fun.

I finally had to deal with Zoe's tub.

I bought some extra strength Liquid Plumr. I followed the directions. It didn't help in the least.

Last weekend I got out the snake and had a go at it. I tried to put the snake down the drain. I got about 18 inches in and then nothing. Wouldn't budge. I tried turning it, and whatnot. Still...wouldn't budge.

So, I closed the shower curtain and the problem went away.

Well, while denial is a beautiful place, I could only spend so much time there. Zoe loves our bathtub but I prefer she bathe in her own. The splashing quotient is about 50 times higher in my tub. Plus, we have a jacuzzi tub and without fail, at least once every bath time the button gets pushed inadvertently and then there's water everywhere.

So, yesterday, while having a facial, with nothing more pressing to think, about I started mulling over the tub situation.

Nothing else that's on that plumbing line is clogged. The toilet and sink in that bathroom drain just fine. The utility sink and washer, also on that same line work just fine. All the other bathrooms work just fine.

So, master plumber that I am, I decided that one of the dozens of bath toys Zoe had gone down the drain.

Now we have some small experience with Zoe and unusual things going down drains. At the old house the roto-rooter guy fished a washcloth out of the toilet line for us.

So, after yesterday's spa day I came home, got the yellow pages out and let my fingers do the walking.

I opened up and flipped to the "R's". Where else would you look for rooter? Well, it's under "P" for plumber.

I called the first ad I saw. Rescue Rooter promised a service call within 45 minutes. I started dialing.

"No problem, ma'am. Adam will be at your house in 30 minutes." I was thrilled. Frankly, I expected to spend the better part of today waiting for someone to come and deal with this.

Sister #1, who is staying here for a few days was suitably impressed. It took her two years to get her boiler replaced in London. And apparently a service call this simple would have been met with an appointment for a week later.

Ah. America.

So, 30 minutes pass. No Adam. Then 45. After an hour I call. I'm assured he'll be here any minute.

Well, about an hour and a half after the initial call Adam shows up. Well, Adam is the kind of man those housewife/service man fantasies are made of.

Tall, dark, and handsome, and he can use a plunger.

I direct him to the afflicted tub. I explain the problem. I assure him that nothing else on that plumbing line is clogged. I share my diagnosis with him. Then I point out that since I figured it was just something that went down the drain I didn't need a real plumber.

My sister later told me that this is where I blew it.

It turns out Adam has a terrible stutter. He wasn't stuttering when he came in the house. He didn't stutter when we started talking. But, after that fatal "real plumber" comment things went to he-he-he-hell in a hand basket.

Adam took off the overflow valve cover and put the snake down there. Hmmmm. That never occurred to me. He managed to get the line cleared out and showed us that the trap needs to be replaced. It's cleared for the meantime but it's leaking. He could do it for us for $345. Chuck can do it for less than $100, (including the rental of a reciprocating saw).

So, the line is clear and will work until Chuck can do his magic under the house.

Interestingly enough, after Adam finished his work he called into the office. Not one sign of a stutter during his whole conversation. So, here's handy tip if you made a service call for a rooter guys--don't suggest that he's not a real plumber.

So, Sister #1 is staying with us for the balance of her trip. This is the first time she's spent any real time with Zoe.

The first day or so she was here Chuck or I would catch Zoe just staring at her, adoringly.

Zoe is absolutely mesmerized by her aunt. She wants her Aunt to sit next to her in the car--a really big honor. Every time we go out she makes sure Auntie is coming back home with us. Auntie got her ready for sleep last night, including stories, and actually went to bed when her Aunt told her to. Auntie got her ready for school today.

It's been great spending time with my sister.

The older we get, the more things are different in our lives, the more the same they are. We both have our "things" that make the other either laugh, or shake their head.

When we were kids and would go on holiday our trips usually revolved around meals. The day's activities were always organized around where we were having lunch and/or dinner.

I realized this morning that this still holds true. While only one of us is on vacation we still plan our days around what we're going to eat.

Most of yesterday afternoon was spent discussing when and where to have dinner with our father. (It was sushi. Zoe's first trip. While she didn't eat anything raw she absolutely loved everything she had, and the waitress fixed the chopsticks so Zoe could use them.)

This morning at breakfast we were already talking about dinner. And tomorrow's brunch (dim sum) and dinner (BBQ ribs) are already planned.

Until next time. . .