Last Wednesday there appeared some water on the Big Haus basement floor.
I cleaned it up.
On Thursday, yet again, water. The floor drain, in tandem with the washing machine, conspired to "seek its own level" which was above the level of my basement floor.
The Amazing saith unto me, "O, what shall we do?" meaning "O, what shall you do?"
Liquid Plumber into the utility sink. Liquid Plumber into the gaping maw of the floor drain. Liquid Plumber ought to be poured into the forced open mouths of the corporate heads of the Liquid Plumber corporation.
Going outside to the shed I fetched the 25 foot plumber's snake. Kneeling in water I fed said snake through the bowels of the Big Haus.
My realizations regarding those who manufacture Liquid Plumber (disregarding my plans for their end) brought me, in discussion with Amazing, to conclude a need for serious chemicals. We are talking about chemicals which can't be sold off a shelf in a bottle. They have a acid resistant bag in which the bottle sits. They have names like "Mule Kick" or "Atomic Fire". The companies of origin do not believe that a slick corporate image or logo is necessary. The product sells itself.
I purchase some.
I read in very small but insistent print on the bottle in the bag, that under no circumstances should I apply this product to a drain which had ever, in the last century, had other chemicals applied to it. I had applied Liquid Plumber (if it can be called a "chemical" by other than women and the French) in the last few hours. Safety first. I put the "Mule Kick" on the shelf.
I called the sewer guys at Express Drain Openers and felt better.
Amazing does a load of laundry and reports that things seemed better.
Friday morning dawns. I lay there knowing but few things for my day. I must tag the garbage and I must remove the recycling (corrugated cardboard) from the basement to the street. It has become nicely and fragrantly damp from the ablutions of the last two days. Amazing addresses me from the bedroom door as I look at her sideways. "Would you start a fire."
"Certainly, my sweet."
"And would you vacuum up the water in the basement". Things had not gotten better.
Mr. Express shows up at 9 a.m.
He has got a bigger, motorized snake with a sludge and root choppy thingy at the business end.
We ran that snake out past Portland. It comes back bearing gifts whose presence could be ascertained by every sense man possesses but failed to create the free flow of water desired in all drains everywhere. Mr. Express fetches his sewer camera which is too cool. We get to see what has established residency in the Big Haus main drain, my link to civilization.
Oh My Heavens and all the Saints (including the lesser known)!
I can't look away. Fifteen feet of moving but immobile white has grabbed my attention. It is unresponsive to the snake, the camera (imagine the sight of pushing past decades of offal with the lens of a color video camera only to have it, as you watch closely, close back around the lens pulling back), and finally unresponsive to the application of a pulsing, water squirting, pipe sealing ball on the end of a water hose. This last has to be applied down another (unopened since the 1920's) drain cap.
It is Friday 3 p.m..
Mr. Express has to go on another call.
He will leave all his stuff stuck in my drains for me to fiddle with (ineffectively I discover) over the next hour. My feet hurt.
Mr. Express returns. He has news. He is having a high pressure water jet brought up from Lewiston and will bring this drain under submission.
It is inserted. They put on goggles which impresses this homeowner.
It has an gas motor. It has what they call p.s.i. and lots of it.
Fifteen minutes later, down goes the camera again. That pipe has confessed its many sins. That pipe is clean as far as the eye can see. That p.s.i. had introduced itself to the fifteen feet of "white". Words were exchanged, became heated, and the fifteen feet of "white" woke up floating down the Ganges wondering how it got there.
Mr. Express commented on how it was the worst drain he had seen in his born days. This may have been a "let-me-prepare-you" buffer for he said it as he handed me the bill.
$573.00 for the privilege of standing on concrete all day, inhaling the ripeness of the American sewer, and gaining only what I blissfully and ignorantly enjoyed three days earlier.
This morning Joe Mickler calls me.
He has dreamed of my drains.
"You had to pay a high futility bill this month," he says.