I dutifully followed Plumber B into the bathroom expecting Plumber A to inform me that they just broken everything and I would need to pay $20 gazillion dollars to put it all back together. I was working to brace myself for this particular scenario which did nothing to prepare me for the reality of the situation which confronted me. Something had very forcefully exploded in my bathroom. Something wet, something very dirty, something very much resembling a dead, wet raccoon. The walls, floors, door, fixtures, shower curtain and even the plumbers were all splattered in a thin muddy black stuff and layered with a fibrous material which was in varying states of chop, mince, and puree. The dead raccoon-like monstrosity was dangling precariously from the end of the epic auger machine, dripping more thin, muddy black stuff on the floor.
It turns out that the raccoon was actually a rather amazing cluster of roots which was astounding. In November they had pulled out a small wad of roots which had seemed reasonable and everything went back to normal. Since that time what was left in the pipe had most likely been cut loose in November and had come together, Megazord style, to create a bigger and badder beast than before. Even more amazingly, despite the sheer volume of material which had been brought up, my sewer line was still completely blocked. Still. Plumber B seemed to be convinced that we were on the final stretch, just another run of his magical machine and we would surely get it all fixed. Huzzah!
I went back to watching Netflix as the noises started back up and I took a deep breath, relieved to think that I would most likely be back in business shortly. I could go back to normalcy and all would be well. About 30 minutes later, I began to wonder why I hadn’t been drinking more as the noises changed and the machine stopped and Plumber A started making frantic sounds and Plumber B ran out to their truck for tools. I ventured in to the bathroom to see them trying to put their mighty auger machine back together. Their nearly brand-new mighty auger machine was no match for my home and I was informed that my entire sewer line was most likely completely gone. But, if they could get their machine repaired and get the 80 feet of auger out of my sewer line they would try one more time with a different size blade.
Wait… what? I need to replace my entire sewer line?!
What little amount of my soul which was left at this point was beginning to wither and die. They eventually got the auger repaired and retracted after much huffing and puffing and muttered curses and started to run it one last time. It promptly bypassed my sewer and shot straight up the vent line and come out on top of my house. Plumber B, was starting to crack around the edges. He was a really nice guy but I could tell this was uncharted territory for him and he was starting to get edgy. After they managed to get the whole damn thing reeled back in I was brought into the bathroom for the results.
“Um, I hate to say this, but you are probably going to want to call the city or something tomorrow. Or, ya know, you could call another company with a bigger auger,” Plumber A said while staring at his hands, wiping them in a nervous and exhausted manner. ”We would run the camera down there, but ya can’t really see anything if the line is full. From what I can tell, it looks like that whole thing is gone. If ya can get it cleared or they can scope it, let me know what they quote ya to replace the line and I’ll beat their quote. A lot of guys’ll try and charge too much.”
My sewer was dead and the plumbers I had called out to my house weren’t able to fix it, or even kind of jury-rig it so I could take a sponge bath. What’s more, they were certain I needed to replace it all and I got the impression that I was screwed until that happened. I thanked them for their time and saw them out as the desperation started to settle in.
My friend had to go home as he had work in the morning and I was then left to my own devices. My bathroom looked like the gates of hell had opened up and sprayed the remains of the most ancient rotting souls onto every conceivable surface, I could still see water sitting in the sewer line where my toilet was usually perched and I felt dead and empty on the inside. In the quiet, the fetid smell of wet iron and decay started to hit me and I wanted to just go far away from my home and never return. For a week I had been taking showers with just a couple gallons of water as the drain was slow. That morning I hadn’t been able to shower at all before work and I wasn’t sure I could do it again. At this point, I couldn’t even relieve myself in my own house.
I didn’t even have enough energy to cry at that point, though I really wanted to, so I started on the hunt for another plumber. I called Roto Rooter, who had been recommended by the original plumbers and they said they would dispatch someone to my home within two hours. I curled up on the couch and just sort of sat there in numb silence, my head buzzing with the numbers and terrifying idea that I need to replace my sewer line. I would be ruined. I was facing a financial hurdle, which I had researched as a worst-case scenario, that I wasn’t sure I could get over.
To be continued…