It’s a good thing that when we wake up in the morning, we don’t know what the day holds. Because if I’d known when I’d woken up yesterday what the day was going to be like, I’d have never gotten out of bed.
It started early. Cal went to get something from the basement. When he came back up, he said, “The neighbor’s cat must have snuck into our basement. It smells like cat poop down there.” So, I rustled up the boys and assigned them “basement de-felinization.”
They came back and insisted there was no cat in the basement. But they added, “It really reeks down there.” I grumbled, mostly to myself about my communist laborers, and got ready to go down to the basement. As I neared the door, stench met me. And I thought, “That does not smell like cats.”
I went downstairs. Not only did it not smell like essence of cat poop, it smelled like sewage. Raw sewage. So I took my flashlight and began inspecting the dark recesses of the basement. I found a “puddle” and a 16 inch split in a sewage pipe.
When we had our sewage line replaced a couple of years ago, I thought everything was good to go for the next 50 years. But apparently this is a secondary sewage line the flows to the other one. (Isn’t that lovely?) I called the plumbers. They were pretty nice. Obviously, they understand what a split sewer line means in terms of grossness and odor, which was getting worse. The scent was beginning to penetrate the whole house.
I sent the boys to a friend’s house (thank you, Sandra). And waited. I started sewing (Shakespeare costumes). And I waited some more. Finally, the plumber arrived and inspected the damage. And gave me his estimate. Gulp. But my rule of thumb is if it’s under $1000, I’m thankful. And it was. And he promised he could get it done before my dinner guests came.
Fast forward an hour. I hear yelling from the basement and a smell penetrates the entire house. And the smell transmits a stink that says “failing waste treatment facility.” The plumbers call me. Apparently, when they were trying to remove the split pipe, another pipe section exploded. “Exploded” is the correct word. Gross, filthy yuck everywhere. Even across the basement where we’d moved everything to keep it far away from the toxic effluence.
Suffice it to say, plumbers fixed the pipes and left us with the mess and a smell that made me want to vomit. I made trips to WalMart for contractor bags and kitty litter. Then, to Ace Hardware for pelletized lime. After Cal and I did litter treatment and removal, then the spreading of lime, throwing away contaminated boxes, etc., the odor was completely gone and everything was sanitary. (Better living through chemistry!)