12 December 2007

This Old Motherfucking House: STILL Episode IV

STILL Episode IV: Pipe Dreams

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

Mason, checking out my plumbing tools,
including $40 worth of new ones.
Which didn't work.

My version of those modern bowl-shaped sinks. Stainless steel, too!
Only the latest plumbing fashions in the house of Cowbell.
The bathroom's version. Yes, that paper to the left is the note I left to the offspring, 
instructing them to hold in any "number two" jobs until they get to school.
The new toilet.
And that's all I've got to say about that.
I've got your thousand words right here.

So I folded. I've called in the professionals. Shit. (Yeah, pun intended, wiseasses. Har-fucking-har.) I did not call Roto-Rooter. I called around and was getting nothing but bullshit from "telephone service representatives" who couldn't give me any real any information, not being "service technicians" themselves. They were, however, happy to send out a service technician who would, in turn, be happy to charge me a "service call" ranging from $71 to $99, which I'd have to pay whether I went with that company or not. Of course, the service call is rolled into your price if you go with them. But the telephone service representatives can't give you a ballpark price for what it will cost to actually get the work done -- for that, you pay the service charge, cross your fingers, and hope the estimate isn't too bad, and that you don't have to start over with someone else.

In other words, once they're standing in your yard, service charge in hand, they've pretty much got you bent over like a porn star. You can either pay whatever they ask, most likely getting a slow, uncomfortable screw, or you can pay up and then pay someone else, too, thus negating any savings you may have found with someone else.

They were all also happy to inform me that it was "very unusual" for Roto-Rooter to give free estimates! They gravely warned me that with Roto-Rooter's system, why, I could easily end up paying $800 or $1000! Better to go with their company instead. In other words, "Just pay our service charge, bitch. Bend over and say my name."  None of them gave a flying fuck about the whole single mom with Christmas looming thing. Fuck you very much, Ebenezer. Why are there never any plumbing Christmas sales?

I know these guys work with shit, and they should get paid good money for doing what no one else wants to do. I get that. Would it be so much to ask though, to maybe have sliding scales for necessary services, like heat, plumbing, electricity? I mean, it's not like I'm asking for a complete kitchen remodel or a face lift or a pool, for crying out loud. I just want to use my own damn toilet and wash my pits.

I called Zan, the Rad Dyke Plumber. I knew she was farther south than where I live, but what the hell, I've heard she's a straight shooter. Well, so to speak. My very cynical dear friend, who is, no doubt, lurking at this very moment, apparently used to know her, along with all kinds of other handy types. Anyway, I've heard good things about her, I love her web site, and figured I'd rather give my money to her than these asshats, so I called. She sounded just like I imagined she would, which was refreshingly like a real person, not some jerk preying on my wallet.

My joy, however, was short lived. Zan doesn't do snakes. Big surprise there, right? Damn. What about my needs, Zan? But she was very nice, and pointed me in the direction of Jerry's Sewer & Drain service. "But if you ever have any other type of plumbing problems, you just give me call now, OK?"

Okay, Zan. Fine. [sniff]

Jerry's pricing was better than the other places, and they specialize in sewer pipes, but unfortunately, I have to pay $70-$90 travel fee for them, as my city is out of their area. They get you coming or going. It pretty much evens out though, and since they were recommended, I guess I'm going with Jerry.

Until today, I was unaware that plumbers have different specialties. Like doctors. And they make about as much, without all that school debt.

Anyway, I begged the telephone service representative, who was very nice, to please send someone today. I haven't had a shower in three days, I need clean clothes, and I'm tired of peeing in a bucket. Don't judge. They were starting to look at me weird in the coffee shop.

Chuck just left, with his big cable and tools. Get your minds out of the sewer, people, I haven't showered in three days - not happening. Everything is once again flowing freely. Apparently, they charged me just half the travel fee. Jerry himself will follow up in a couple of days, and Chuck assures me that if "that baby clogs up within the next thirty days, I'll come out here and blast it myself, you won't pay a thing." Because that's how Jerry's place rolls when they're "trying to build a little history with you, here".
  • Total Bill, Having My Pipe Snaked: $195.93
  • No Longer Pissing in a Bucket: Priceless.

Oh, and Roto-Rooter? As Zan would say, "Get Wrenched!"


  1. http://kamrinskarma.wordpress.com/12 December, 2007

    Dang baby! I am so sorry you are going through all that! Best of luck with the plumbers!

  2. WOOHOO!!! Exhibit 'A' as to why it's so important to support locally. Or, slightly South of locally. Whatever, you can flush again! WOOHOO!

  3. Kamrin: Not half as sorry as I am, trust me!

    Hat: Exactly. Yes, I can flush again. And none too soon, I might add.....

  4. Yay, running water! And yay that you found a plumber who seems to want your business for the long run. Sounds like a keeper.

  5. I know you don't want to hear this but in plumbing dollars, this was practically a freebie! I'm glad the water is flowing again. Sorry that you had to go through a 3 day ordeal too.
    (Though, I kinda liked the new toilet.)

  6. Yay! Happy poopee pipes again! Hooray for nice guys Chuck and Jerry. Were either one of 'em cute?

    Will there be a celebratory bucket burning in the backyard?

  7. Girl, it's wonder you haven't snapped yet! Glad to read everything is back to normal, as defined in your household anyway.

    And EvilG is correct: You got a deal on the work.

  8. To celebrate I'd grab a copy of Moby Dick and spend the next two days in the bathroom, just because you can...and probably need to.

    Just sayin'.

    And those sinks are stylin'!!

  9. Red: yeah, relatively speaking. What rankles is that I'm overdue to turn my car in for maintenance, and it's going to cost at least that much. -sigh-

    KBC: yes, I'm hoping this will hold for a while.

    Evil-G: Yeah, so I hear. Doesn't seem like a bargain to me, at this particular time, but I know it could've been much worse. The new toilet sucked. (The son and I installed the one below it, though. That was another story.)

    Speck: Chuck wasn't bad, but not my type at all. Married, too. Even if he hadn't mentioned his wife, I could tell by the Scooby-Do band-aids on his thumb. No bucket burning -- you never know when you may need a good bucket.

    RG: I'm surprised I haven't snapped, too. "Normal as defined in your household," HAHA!

    Rodger: Seriously -- the past couple of days, using my "sink-bowls", I've realized how much water we use, and figured I'd be even more conscious of it after everything was fixed. Well, it's been almost the opposite -- like there's some environmentally irresponsible part of me saying, "Fuck it, I paid $200 for these damn drains to work ... I WILL get my money's worth! I'm going to run me some water, and then run it some more!" THat's terrible, but there, I said it.

  10. "My joy was shortlived. Zan doesn't do snakes. Big surprise there, right?"

    NOW, I'm laughing!

  11. Oh Lady I don't know how you do it. And you can still make us laugh with a turn of a phrase that is pricelss. Glad you are now flush - in the toilet if not financially. And it really was a good deal but those things are relative to the cash on hand.

  12. Whim: Me too. I'd had enough of that bucket.

    Elizabeth: ;-) I'm not quite laughing yet. But I'm not bitching as much. Progress.

    Willym: "glad you are now flush" -- haha! you're one of my favorite phrase-turners. And yes, a good deal, but definitely relative.

  13. What a pain, all the way around. I hope you got to take yourself a nice long hot bath!

    And you know, it may not be too late to take up a new trade- perhaps Zan could use an apprentice.

  14. Doralong: Are you kidding me? I now share a single bathroom with teenagers. I can't remember the last bath I had.

    Apprenticeship ... hmmm.

    YOY: Exactly. The things you take for granted until it goes wrong.

  15. Well, as much as this little episode sucked, having a plumber you can count on is worth the hassle. And $195 ain't bad. It's a chunk of change, of course, but still...


I've got a fever ...