A few weeks ago Steve noticed a bad smell in our back yard right around when I noticed some funny bits of white matter stuck to the bushes and drainpipe in our front yard. The white matter, and the stink, were both related to the same thing: sewage. We thought we had a clog due to previous owners flushing "disposable" wipes and sanitary pads and things like that but after the plumber came, opened up a pipe in our basement and was met with a faceful of sewage (after which Steve carried up buckets and buckets of the stuff to dump in the front yard, because he didn't know where else to put it), it was eventually determined that it's a much bigger deal. We're still waiting to find out what it is but it may involve tree roots and/or a collapse and may involve tearing up Ridge, the very busy street next to our house, and will possibly involve city permits. I had a pretty easy time of it on my end, all things considering. As the house smelled more and more like one giant fart, Saturday night I packed up Paul and took him to my parents' house and then I canceled some plans. I was supposed to be doing a reading that night but had to cancel since somebody had to watch the kid while Steve carried buckets of stinkwater out of the house, and then the next day we were supposed to have all our neighbors over for donuts and coffee and I had to tell them not to come over due to stink and the fact that our beautiful finished basemenet with the cream carpet was now soaked with sewage.
Looks like for now what's happening is that we are getting part of the carpet cut out and replaced and tomorrow the plumbers are going to do a "power flush" to see if that cleans out any tree roots (cost: $7400) although that won't be the end of it if the pipes are indeed collapsed. Insurance isn't covering anything so far. We are crashing at my parents' house until we have things sorted. Technically we can live in the house but Paul isn't supposed to go into the basement, which is where all his toys live (so keeping him out might be difficult) and on top of that, we're not supposed to really use much water, and definitely not flush anything down the toilet, including toilet paper. Not to sound like a princess but I'm not sure I'm up for that. Just having a diaper genie for Paul is gross enough. I'm not sure I can finagle two more for two adults.
This all sucks and may cost a ton of money but we're very, very lucky: my parents are letting us stay nearby (and are helping us out a lot), we're all alive and well, we're all friends for the moment, there wasn't some huge backup/explosion while we were out of town, and at least we don't have the newborn with us yet. And also, Steve, as always, is incredibly capable as a handyman and houseowner and doing the lion's share of work (like carrying buckets of poo water.)
Here are my main takeaways for now:
- Don't ever flush anything other than toilet paper down your toilet. This is kind of funny because I was just reading an online forum wherein people were arguing forcefully about whether it's kosher to flush tampons down the toilet (the tampons themselves, not the applicators) and I was always Team Flush but now I am TEAM FLUSH NOTHING BUT TOILET PAPER.
- Don't put light colored carpet anywhere near a sewage drain. Not that that will make a difference if your carpet is SOAKED IN POO but just something to think about.
- Despite the fact that I invited, then disinvited them over to our house, we have very kind neighbors who have offered to let us use their toilets etc. I hope to meet them all one day.
- If I look crazy, talk crazy, am late, forgetful, or am not a really good blogger, friend, or anything this week, I'm pulling the "My house got backed up with raw sewage and I'm also super pregnant" card.