I’ve railed on people for their Tweets and posts about poop … and now I join their sullied ranks with some of my own. This is a continuation of Part I from Tuesday. We pick up right where we left off on Saturday afternoon …
Right around 7:30-8pm I think I hear something from the bathroom (by the way, when you live alone you never want to hear anything coming from anywhere in your place, and that’s especially true if it’s coming from your bathroom). So I saunter back there and see that the noise which undoubtedly came from my toilet was indeed the heralding trumpet call of evil tidings.
At that moment the bath tub had about 2 inches of black water in it and more coming up through the drain. The toilet was equally black and worse. Just trust me when I say this. It was worse.
So I grabbed my camera again, took a couple pictures to send to the Land Lady to show that the Drano that I never flushed with hot water didn’t do the trick (didn’t mention the flushing part though). From there I figured bad juju would happen in the bathroom and then later when it drained I’d have to do yet another good scrubbing job before letting any part of me touch any part of it. I’ve cleaned my bath tub more in the last 2-3 weeks than my entire adult life before that. It’s been a problem in the past but I’m getting better now.
Somewhere around 9 or 9:30 I go back to check the progress of things and find that not only has it not drained out yet, it’s not stopped … the toilet is filled to the brim with populated black water that will forever fill my nightmares. The tub has reached the Shower? Or Bath? lever and has a couple inches to go before it tops out. A couple inches before the tub overflows. That sounds like a lot but … when it’s black water and you’ve seen what’s going on a few feet away those 2 inches are everything. EVERYTHING I SAY!
It turns out the 2 inches in the tub was the least of my concerns though. Over the last three weeks I’d grown accustomed to seeing my toilet and bath tub fill up, sometimes to uncomfortable levels, but I’d never had an overflow. What I really should have been concerned about was the one lonely centimeter of remaining growth room on the toilet. I notice that things are still rising slowly so I start picking things up off of the floor.
Right when the toilet starts to breach its porcelain dam I notice that I hear showering from upstairs above me. After dropping towels in the two door frames leading to the carpeted hallways I literally sprint out my front door and race up the stairs to the neighbor’s. A few stern knocks, the lights come on and they greet me (as they’ve become accustomed to greeting me over the last few weeks).
I breathlessly explain that someone there is taking a shower and has to stop, that things are overflowing downstairs and … I need them to stop and stop now. NOW DAMN YOU WOMAN NOW!!!
She tells her daughter to stop and leaves me talking to her father (who you might remember as being Mr. No-Pants). Awkward since his English is broken and he’s had to become a remotely civilized individual after 11pm thanks to me over the last two years, and since his daughter and her family moved back in. Anyway … she comes back and wants to come down and see what’s going on in my place. I try to impress upon her that it’s terrible and disgusting and she really probably doesn’t want to see it.
She follows me down the stairs and into my place, rounds the corner and sees what’s happening in my bathroom, looks at me in horror … pauses a moment and I can see her noticing the sound of water still running upstairs (the sound of which matching the sound of water pouring onto the floor of my bathroom) … that moment gives birth to a realization as she looks at me (I shrug and say something brief like “there you go”) and she makes a sound and goes scampering as fast as she can back upstairs.
The shower stops, so does the noise in my place.
Now … I’m so grossed out at this point I don’t even know how to explain it to you, nor would I want to read about it if I were a reader so … let me just say it was bad and move on.
It was really bad.
Although, having said that, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. A couple people asked me how bad the smell was and I can honestly say that the best thing I did that whole day, barring the bike ride in the morning, was to forget/refuse to flush the Drano from my drain. The only smell coming from the bathroom was that of Drano and if you have to have a sewage system spew forth into your bathroom … the smell of cleaning liquids is by far not the worst smell you could find yourself left with. Matter of fact, it really did wonders for how repulsed I was. Don’t get me wrong, I was topping off the repulsion meter, but at least there was no bad smell.
After the upstairs lady returned and asked if I was calling a 24 hour plumber/roto rooter (which educated me to the fact that there are 24 hour plumbers and roto rooters) I did just that. Fiasco involving the Land Lady’s approval aside … dude finally shows up at 11:15pm. This was my Saturday night.
Jerome was a nice man. Friendly and agreeable for a person who is out doing this kind of work at 11:15 on a Saturday night. Not the most … couth … individual. But what can you expect?
Honestly I’ll tell you what I expected. I expected someone to show up and save me from this hell I was living in. Fix the pipes outside permanently, come in and clean my bathroom and the carpet in the hallway that was now soaking up the standing water in the bathroom (because towels are not sand bags). Fix everything so when I woke up the following morning I could do so feeling refreshed, resting easy on the knowledge that I could shower and use my bathroom as I had done countless mornings before.
This didn’t happen. Jerome positioned himself outside at some little three inch pipe sticking out of the ground near my front door … worked a ratchet on the clamp holding on the lid, two twists and we both heard a hissing sound and as one we both stepped back and regarded the pipe with extreme suspicion. To each other we both said “Well that’s not good.”
At this point I took another two or three steps back and Jerome went in for more. He gave it another couple twists, the hissing got louder and as he stepped back the top popped up into the air and the seemingly pressurized contents of my bathroom started draining out onto the landscaping.
Jerome did his thing which is something else you don’t want to hear about, lectured me and the lady upstairs for flushing/dumping cooking grease (and let’s just say my pizza box has something to say about which one of us is dumping cooking grease … or even knows where to find cooking grease) mentioned something about how there were some tree roots in there again. There were tree roots in there two weeks ago when he was out here last time. (He remembered being here)
So apparently there are still tree roots. My grasp on tree roots in pipes is such that I figure if they were in there the first time, merely cleaning them out doesn’t solve the problem. This seems to be the equivalent of being in the middle of a heart attack and having the doctor cut off your left arm because you were complaining of pain.
After he cleaned up (and I came to the realization that Jerome would not be cleaning my bathroom or my apartment for me) he came back with the receipt. At this moment I’m kind of in love with Jerome because he saved me, so I’m all smiles and he’s writing out what was wrong and what needs to happen … and Lucy starts mrowling from behind the door to my bedroom. Now, many people are afraid of dogs so I didn’t say anything at first, but the third or fourth time she did this I said, “That’s my dog …”
And with comedic timing born from working nights as an emergency plumber he looked at me and in a matter-of-fact way said “Oh, I thought it was a woman.”
Somewhere in my mind hysterical laughter ensued … as I imagined him sitting at my dinner table for 10 minutes thinking that there was a woman in my bedroom literally moaning through the door while he took care of the receipt.
If only this were the case my night might have been saved.
But alas, it was not meant to be.
Now it’s around midnight and Jerome has gone and left me with my bathroom. I turn on the fan, close the doors and call it a night. I don’t know how to clean it and wouldn’t know where to start. I told the Land Lady that she should have a professional come clean my bathroom, and a carpet cleaner come clean the carpets.
The following morning I wake to her calling me to tell me that a cleaning lady will be over in 30 minutes to clean. Turns out Joe wanted to come too, so Joe and another little Chinese lady show up. She doesn’t speak any English of course so I can’t tell her anything or explain anything to her. They decide that the best course of action with my towels is to just throw them away. I can’t argue with that but still, that’s two towels I don’t have anymore.
Chinese lady brought a Bissel steam cleaning vacuum cleaner … and then when she’s done doing the hastiest clean job of a bathroom you’ve ever seen, she and Joe push this thing around. He keeps telling me that it’s sucking the moisture out of the carpet. I tried to tell him repeatedly that Steam Cleaning entails steam and not sucking moisture … but he didn’t hear me, or didn’t want to. He ran that thing back and forth and called it done then took the thing outside with Chinese lady to see how much water they sucked out of the carpet.
Surprisingly enough they didn’t get much. They checked the water reservoir for it, and they even checked the area where the dirty water should have gone. (I might add that they never put water in the reservoir to begin with) Mysteriously it hadn’t pulled any water into either area … which gave me the opening I needed to insist that they bring an actual professional carpet cleaner in. He agreed and they left.
The Land Lady calls me later to tell me that she’ll get me two new towels. This makes me wonder, if she’s buying towels for me am I allowed to get the nice towels I get for myself or do I have to go get the cheapest towels they make? These are things nobody teaches you when you become an adult. Nobody says “Some day your bathroom will flood and make you feel like a helpless child …” Nobody teaches you these things.
That concludes Part II. Check tomorrow for Part III and the conclusion to my weekend of terror.