Friday, July 6, 2012

I Should've Just Stayed in Bed

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!)

When the guests arrived, the house smelled like the lilies I’d cut and brought inside. Everything was great until the power went out and stayed out. We ate dessert outside—it gets really hot without AC. But that’s another story.


  1. Ugh, that sounds like a truly miserable day. So glad the plumbers got it taken care of in the end!

  2. Eww, I'm so sorry this happened to you! Very gross, but like Louise said, I'm glad the plumbers were able to fix it within the day. This would be like my worse nightmare.

    I already have bad associations with basement + bad smell = NOT GOOD THING, so...this doesn't help. Haha.

  3. I enjoy reading your blogs. It makes me truly thankful for my own days :>) Hope today is a day of peace, rest and quiet for you~ (I really do pray for you every day. Be thankful for what doesn't happen to you!) Love you, Aunt Judy

  4. Sheesh, what a crappy day. (Sorry, couldn't resist.) I hope everything's coming up roses now.

  5. Susan,

    I loved your comment! Yeah, it was a very crappy day. :)

    Aunt Judy,

    Thanks for your prayers!!

  6. Oh, I'm gagging reading this saga. How awful! I'm glad it's over. And may your pipes all last more than 50 years.

  7. I can't help but think this will work it's way into a story, the smell alone will stay in your memory forever :( Great teamwork and know-how in action, I can't believe you managed to be ready for dinner and guests, that's awesome!