Saturday, March 16, 2013

Not the Way we Planned to Spend our Saturday

(c) 2013 Ms. Huis Herself at

I went for a run this morning.  Not that unusual - my schedule is to run on Friday evening, but if I don't feel like it, I'll often go on Saturday morning instead.  At some point during my treadmill run, I hear Mr. Kluges come down to the basement, rummage around in his work room, and go back upstairs.

When I'm done running, I head up for a shower, 'cuz yuck, I've definitely inherited my family's sweat genes.  Oh, but Mr. Kluges is snaking out the slow bathroom sink drain. Ah ha! That's why he was in the basement.  Ok, I'll just wait.

Mr. Kluges isn't having much luck, in part because I think the snake came with the house and isn't working right.  In frustration, he asks me about the clog cannon I got from Flylady that I haven't tried yet.  We get it out, read the directions, stick a wet rag into the little the-sink-is-going-to-overflow hole and give it a try.  

We pump up the air cannon and poof!  Nothing.

We pump it up a little more and Poof!  Nothing.

We pump it a bit more yet and POOF!  Some gurgling.

We give it almost the not-more-than-30-maximum pumps and POOF!!!!!  THE RAG FLIES OUT OF THE OVERFLOW HOLE AND BLACK GUNK IS EVERYWHERE 

And by "everywhere," I mean on me, all over Mr. Kluges, covering the sink, on the hand towel, on the shower curtain, on the side of the toilet, on the toilet paper... everywhere.

But the drain works.

I could end the story here.  You would think that this was the end - little funny anecdote, gross but successful home-improvement story, yadda, yadda, yadda.  WE thought it was the end, and started cleaning up the disgusting black-gunk-splattered bathroom.

...until the children came running up the stairs shouting, "It's raining in the kitchen!  The kitchen is raining!  Through the light!  The light is raining!!!!"

Thaaaat's right.  We apparently have water under the bathroom floor/in the kitchen ceiling and its only egress is the light fixture.  From which is it steadily pouring.  

(Now in case you don't know/remember, this is the same bathroom floor/kitchen ceiling that we've already had rain on us.  At least this looks like cleaner water.  But still - it's one of the only replastered ceilings in the place.)   

Mr. Kluges figures the air pressure probably caused a crack/hole/blew out some rust in the part of the main drainage pipe that hadn't been replaced that leads from the tub to the sink to the toilet and out. ("Oh crap!" I think, "So much for my awesome Flylady tool that not only blew out the clog, but blasted our bathroom with gunk AND broke our plumbing! Mr. Kluges is never going to let me try anything again!")  So we wait until the kitchen stops raining, (and I clean up the black gunk and entire bathroom while we're waiting, 'cuz this takes a while!) and then he has me run the water in the tub to see if it begins dripping again.  I turn it on and let it run and run and run.... 

"Ok!" he shouts up, "turn it off - it's not leaking.  Now try the sink and we'll see if the leak is by there."  I turn off the tub, barely get the handle turned on the sink faucet and, "No, stop!  It's leaking again.  It must be the main drainage pipe!"

This begins a discussion about the relative merits of just doing a basic fix, or taking advantage of the fact that we're going to have to be ripping into walls/floors/ceilings and just redoing that bathroom the way we want it.  I'd always said we had to put in a main floor bathroom (or half bath or 3/4 bath) before we could mess around with the upstairs, but hey, what're ya gonna do?  At least we've got a toilet in the basement that is functional.

In fact, in the basement there's also a "shower," if you're willing to use the term loosely enough.  It's a (rusty, rusty) pipe, with no showerhead, over a drain in kind of an in-between, hallway-ish sort of room. Doesn't work, I don't think, but Mr. Kluges figures it would be pretty easy to fix it up enough to be a primitive shower while our other one is out of commission, what with the not wanting it to rain through our kitchen light fixture and all.

I hop on the phone to my very dear (and local!) friend G, who is in the process of moving (Wah!, btw!!!!), to ask if I can bring my sweaty, and possibly still slightly black-gunky, self over to use her shower.  Finishing up the conversation, I hear Mr. Kluges calling for me.

Turns out, he had already begun the getting-the-primitive-basement-shower-to-work project, and in the process discovered he needed his BIG wrench.  Which was upstairs in the guest room by the open panel exposing the back of the tub with its plumbing and piping.... and the plug he'd taken out to try snaking that pipe.  The plug that was still lying on the floor, NOT back in place where it would keep water from flooding out.   

Hooray!!!!  I call back G, we rejoice in the simple fix, and I tell her I don't need her shower after all.

But then Mr. Kluges tells me that there's no shut-off valve to the basement "shower," that he's already got it partially disassembled, and that he's discovered, the hard way, that the control valve is frozen in the "on" position... and that therefore he's had to turn off the water to the whole house.

I call G back and go find my travel toiletries bag.


I am clean and smell much better.The water is still off to the whole house. Mr. Kluges and Penguin are at the hardware store.  The kitchen light fixture is disassembled and the part with the cloth-wrapped wiring is drying on the radiator.  The power has been shut off  to much of the kitchen, including the refrigerator.  The plug has been replaced and I'm about to point a fan through the access door at the back of the tub/guest room panel at the sodden kitchen ceiling.  Mr. Kluges says he should be able to get us water back by tonight.  I sure hope so.    

(Cross-posted to Musings & Mutterings.)