08 October 2007

This Old Motherfucking House: Episode II

Episode II: Snakes in a Drain

I was just saying the other day, in the midst of my furnace frenzy, that I'd make a great reality show: some chick living in a tiny, old house she can barely afford and doesn't know how to fix. I was thinking This Old Shithole of a House, but I actually like this better. It's snappy. If anyone can hook me up with a producer, let me know.

Screw that, if any of you can hook me up with a friggin' handyman, let me know. And I do mean hookup in every sense of the word. Including the biblical sense.  But that whole plumber's butt thing is a definite no-go, people. Just so you know.

Anyway, after I wrote about my furnace woes, my drains backed up. Not just the sink, no, we're talking toilet and shower here, baby. When my house gets rebellious, it doesn't screw around.

Did I mention I only have one bathroom?

While in the process of purchasing this "cozy" one bathroom house, I foolishly thought that the scheduling of the shower was the main thing to consider. Yeah. I know. I did, to my credit, also consider those occasions where the toilet might be in high demand. My family, however, is not prone to gastric distress -- go vegetarian, people -- so I dismissed that worry. I figured, work out the shower schedule, we're home free. While my house appreciated wildly, thanks to the booming housing market.

Yeah, I'm a regular friggin' Pollyanna.

For any of you who have not foolishly traipsed down this road before, let me save you the trouble: the main consideration when moving into a one-bathroom home, is not "how will we work out the shower schedule?" No. It's "what the hell will we do when there's a problem with the shower?"  Better yet, (you know where I'm going here) the toilet?


Here are some snippets of family talk at Cowbell's house over the weekend:

Teen Demon: So, is the toilet okay yet?

Me: Ummm...

Teen Demon: Did that clog remover stuff work?

Me: Can't you wait a while longer? It said to wait six hours.

Teen Demon: It said 30 minutes.

Me: That was for the super-max power clog-remover gel. This is some enzyme stuff to degrade all organic material.

Teen Demon: Eew. So, like ... when?

Me: Aren't you working today? What time do you go to work?

Teen Demon went to work in a bit of a rush. I went to Lowe's, again, for more supplies and a trip to their lovely restroom. Male Offspring doesn't have a job, and it wasn't a school day. I don't know why I didn't take him to Lowe's with me.

Male Offspring: So, can I use the bathroom?

Me: Ummm.... to do what?

Male Offspring: Are you kidding me right now?

Me: It's dark. Come on, you're a guy ... can't you just go outside?

Male Offspring: (gawking) Are you kidding me?!?

Then there was the shower. In the process of trying to clear the drains, we attacked both tub and toilet with the plunger. One of the offspring plunged the tub. You know who got stuck with the toilet. I came in later to find rust, black flakes, hair, and something that looked like The Blob in the bathtub.

Well, what were we supposed to do with it? It's not like we can rinse it down the drain!

Kids are always helpless when it comes to crap like that, but remarkably ingenious when coming up with logistical arrangements for going to the dance or to see Superbad for the fifth time.

It's been 96 hours since my last shower, folks. Good thing I'm single. Even after 96 hours, though, it was no relief. Turn the water on, get wet, turn it off. Shampoo with the water off. Rinse, fast. Shampoo again, because my hair was a friggin' oil slick by this time. Rinse, fast. Soap up, condition hair. Rinse, faster.

That would've been bad enough, but to add to the frivolity, it was a frigid 58* in my house this morning, because ... oh yeah, I can't turn my heat on yet. You've heard that saying, colder than a witch's tit? I'm pretty sure I know how cold that is.

Yeah, my shower did not resemble those steamy relaxing commercials where some smiling, skinny chick massages her sudsy tresses with her eyes closed, while virtual flowers float around her. Not even a little bit.


  1. Come over to the Dark Side, Cowbell!

    Call Roto-Rooter.

    That's The Name.

    And Send your Troubles

    Down The Drain!

    Mwah Hah Hah Hah HAAAAAAAH!

    (BTW, I think you should get Bob Motherf***ing Villa to host your show.)

  2. Roto-Rooter is a good idea. Sounds like you've got a major clog in the main sewage pipe.

  3. Pitch Bravo honey- bet they'd snap it up in a heart beat!

  4. Ever since they shut my water off because I was a wee negligent with the whole paying bills thing and turned it back on again, my toilets haven't been quite right. I need to call a plumber, tho' -- because I'm not a D.I.Y. kinda guy. And no, I can't afford it, but that's why God created Visa on the eighth day.

    Can't wait for the Columbus Day entry. Did the Radical Bohemian protest in DC? Because NPR reported that there were two competing protests (pro and con) happening right outside Union Station.

  5. Craig/RG: I can't afford motherfuckingn rotorooter and their goddamn labor fees. I'm in the wrong business. Actually, it seems like it's OK now. During some mad plunging after yet another enzyme treatment, I heard a big sucking sound followed by trickling. Here's to naive hopes! Bob Villa. Hmmm...

    DL: I've thought about it. Seriously.

    Red: Bastards. She protested alone, because she's cool like that. She just picked some Knights of Columbus thing where they were dressed actually like Columbus (WTF?), made a sign, and went to it. She met with some very strong reactions.

  6. Did you get a snake? Because I'll tell you, once you own one, life because just a wee bit easier. Good luck. I hate plumbing trouble.

  7. Maybe you should become a plumber. God knows you'd be making the big bucks. Seriously, good luck and Lorraine is right, all those weird tools like plumbing snakes are really good to have around the house.

  8. L: Yes, I did get a snake. Apparently, the drain mechanism in my tub (the little lever thingamabob that raises/lowers the drain cover) is in the way. The snake goes nowhere past about 18". Typical.

    Evil-G: You may be right. Those guys are raking in the bucks. My dear friend here used to have a connection to The Rad Dyke Plumber. If you lived in Seattle, you'd hear her commercials on the radio a lot, she's apparently the best thing going in the plumbing world. Of course, said friend no longer has that connection. Great, just when a Rad Dyke Plumber would be like a ray of sunshine in my life, you've lost contact with her? Crap

  9. We have Phil's Drain Service. My drain only backs up on christmas or thanksgiving be4 people come over.

    Phil charges $150. Phil wants his kids go take over the business. His kids dont like shit... oh well.

  10. Okay, to illustrate how clueless I am about home improvement, at first I read Lorraine's comment to be advocating the purchase of a live reptile. Hi, I don't plumb. Ever.

    It also occurs to me that the theme song for "This Old Motherfucking House" should be created by Common or Kanye West, using a sample from the Rosemary Clooney original, thereby creating something with both street and gay appeal. Just sayin'.

  11. Mouse: I hear you. At my last house (rental), Christmas Eve dinner, the drains backed up. Long story short, it involved a broken sewage main, a month of repairs, a porta-potty in the front yard during the only time in Seattle history of 20* weather, and a long battle with my landlady. You think Phil would take on a new apprentice with no experience? $150 a pop for handling a snake sounds like a deal.

    Red: You are so street. I like it. Go on with your non-plumbing self.

  12. Tater: I missed you, baby! Sounds like a nightmare. Same deal with what I told Mouse, above -- cost my landlady about $10K. She should've called the root guy every 6 months like they told her to -- it was tree roots that broke the main pipe. She tried to say we used "too much toilet paper" and that I need to teach my daughters "not to flush tampons". She paid to have someone run a camera down the pipes, found it wsa the tree roots. She never did apologize.

    Hat: Adjustment might be necessary. I hate cooking. (now where'd I put that razor...)

  13. A bathroom with a blob in the tub, no water for a shower, and the kids outside the window, squatting in the trees...and I thought the mess in my kitchen that awaits me was quite the task.

    I shouldn't joke, at the rate my housekeeping/upkeep is going, I'll be squatting outside pretty soon too!

  14. I like the show idea- I hate that it's a reality show, though - sending naive hope for unclogged living!

  15. Elizabeth: wow, now that's one serious case of the shit hitting the fan. Blech!

    Kimberly Ann: Welcome! My pleasure -- I couldn't decide between Genocidal Asshat and Genocidal Bastard. Asshat just had such a nice ring.

  16. Really wanting to be helpful....do you have on the outside of the house a drain access? It would be closed off with a black cap of some sort and be maybe 3" in diameter. You open that up and snake there.....wallah cleared up drains. I think it is called the outlet drain. We have one and I have done that rather than the chemicals that come back up and burn your feet in the shower. Doesn't lorraine's husband have film connections? time to tap those resources.

  17. Rosemary: Yes, we do have one. I was trying to avoid going there. I think everything is ok now, drain wise. That just leaves the heat. And the gutter. And then the normal stuff.



I've got a fever ...