Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Ahh, Holiday memories

We live in an house built in 1883. Along with the charm comes problems, some unique. At the time our house was built, there were no sewers, just outhouses. (and that's another story) When sewers were put in, elevations apparently dictated that our sewer line should go out the back, through another property (whose sewer lines connect to ours [ANOTHER story]).

At the time the neighbors on the side planted their walnut tree, it was probably 3 feet from the terra cotta (clay) sewer line. By the time we bought our house, the trees roots had eaten our sewer line. In one spot it looked like the creature in "Alien". This caused occasional backups, and the banning of the flushing of anything beyond piss,poop, or paper (toilet). The symptom of a backup was usually a puddle of "water" just beyond our back deck.

Feeling that we could not afford professional sewer help, I learned the fine art of using a rented roto rooter. This is also known as fishing for brown trout and snagging white mice.

My better half's mother and step father used to visit from out of state and stay with us during "the holidays". The extra "load" usually caused problems with the sewer line. This particular year, her step father had a colostomy bag. There seems to have been a period of adjustment. In subsequent years the smell when he changed bags was nothing like that first year. So we had THAT going on. By the time the morning of their departure came, there was a small lake in the back. I felt it needed to be dealt with immediately, so I rented a roto rooter and I'm out back, ankle deep, working my ass off. Before I began, I requested that no one flush a toilet or run water in a sink.

I guess flushing is just an automatic response. I'm already up to my ankles, when suddenly the TIDE COMES IN! And the brown trout are nibbling at my ankles! I hear the front door and the sounds of my MIL leaving. Then better half comes out to check on me. I kind of lost it. I think I said her mom could have just as well hung her ass over the railing and shit on me.

There is a worse story, but it is still not humorous and nearly ended our marriage. Suffice to say, thereafter I PAID whatever it cost to clear the line, and not too long after had the line replaced with plastic (also further from the tree).



    Wow that beat the daylights out the day at my first job, they made me mop up the men's room and that was swimming with some big trout.

  2. Ooooh, that's awful. And I thought my boyfriend's mom dumped on me. At least I never had her literally crap on me.

    We are lucky, though. Last year I spoke with a neighbor and found out that our house is apparently the highest elevation of the sewer line on our block. All three houses just past ours had sewage back up into their basements.

    The neighbor I spoke with had just moved in with her boyfriend and still had everything she owned except for a few items of clothing store down there. After fishing out her old yearbooks and seeing a turd float by, she decided to have a company drain the three inches of crap, throw everything away and start fresh.

    That explained the funky smell in the neighborhood that week....

  3. That is SO GROSS! Why yes, I am a girly girl about stuff like that!

  4. We have an elderly home which had elderly terra cotta pipes hooking us up to the sewer, and I have a story of marital stress related to that.

    I'll write about it someday, but let's just say that after tears, threats, obscenities, and screaming a team of professionals came in and replaced the terra cotta pipes (incidentally they reminded me, gently, not to use anything in the house & flush while they were present).

  5. My parents had to replace their clay line, after their entire front yard was a sewer. It cost them $3500.

    OTOH I emptied an illeostomy bag (a little farther up the intestine than the colostomy) and I have never truly smelled something so gross. I now know the definition of putrid.