Wednesday, June 20, 2007

When it rains... it pours!

Ok, so I realize things could be much worse. I really do. I'm not the kind of person that enjoys being absorbed in self-pity or a state of perpetual whining. Alas, that is largely what is going to consume this post, I'm afraid, so be forewarned and do not proceed with reading this unless you're prepared!

Let me set the stage... it was a beautiful, sunny afternoon when Joe left for a ride on his bike. He loves mountain biking and was so thrilled to get out and enjoy an afternoon in the outdoors....

Psh, enough of that style. Here it is. Joe went out for a ride, and long story short, he did a major endo (for you non-mountain bikers - that means he flipped his bike, back end over the front, and not intentionally!). Upon crash landing he realized before all of the shock and pain set in that his shoulder wasn't right. He's got a problem with that darn shoulder partially dislocating in these bike accidents he occasionally has. So, before the shock factor wore off, he did a full rotation of the shoulder to get it to move back into the joint. OUCH! Then, he realized his right wrist was hurting...badly. And, his left forearm was skinned up and filled with cactus needles. AND, his right knee was missing a few chunks of skin. Oh yummy. But, what did Joey do? He got back on his bike and struggled along the trail for another hour before heading home so that he could try and enjoy some more of the beautiful day!

By the time he returned home, he was in quite a bit of pain. I did my best to help bandage him up, but he was a mess! His wrist was swollen and sore, his shoulder hurt, and his knee was oozing nastiness. It took 3 days to even begin to scab over!

Ok, so what's so bad about all this, you ask? Well, the following morning was pretty awesome. Our social worker came for our final interview and did our home walk-through. As I mentioned already in an earlier post, we passed and were given the "go-ahead" with our adoption. Talk about crossing a huge milestone! That was super exciting, no doubt.

However, that evening, I noticed what seemed to be damp grout near the bottom of the toilet in our downstairs bathroom. I lifted the toilet lid and saw the water was almost completely drained out of the bowl. So, I think "Hmmmm... how odd. Maybe it's partially clogged and I should flush it to get it back to normal." One flush does nothing. It looks the same. So, I flush again, and again, and one last time. Now, the water's up to the rim of the bowl and not going down. Yikes. So, I run to the garage and grab the plunger. Joe's in the shower and unable to help... so I can handle this, right?! I begin plunging away, thinking I'm all that and I'm going to fix whatever's wrong with the toilet.

Then, I hear it. I little gushing noise, almost too quiet to hearing. I plunge again... psher, psher, psher (plunging noise ;-)). That's when it happens. Water begins to pour out from the bolt holes where the toilet is bolted to the floor, and then it starts flooding out from all around the base of the toilet. The floor of the bathroom around the toilet is quickly becoming a small pond. I rushed to the cabinet and grabbed a handful of those puppy pee pads we use when leaving the dogs in the garage during showings. They're pretty absorbent, and have a plastic backing, so I figured it was a good choice.

I run down the hall and grab a trash bag to throw gobs of the, now drench, pads into. Water's still coming out. Now what? I keep sopping it up with new pads, paper towels, whatever I can get my hands on. Ugh, how nasty. TOILET water is all over the floor in there. I'm a major sanitation freak about some things, so I'm getting the willies just thinking about the nastiness factor here. WHY did this have to happen?!

So, I get the mess cleaned up, sanitize the floors, toilet, anything that had been touched by the water including my hands, feet, ankles, etc. Then, I run upstairs to ask Joe to come down.

**Remember - Joe is sore and has a worthless wrist on one arm and a worthless shoulder on the other from the accident**

His response is that we should leave it alone and call a plumber in the morning. A PLUMBER?! Are you kidding me? I mean, we're total do-it-yourselfers. We've remodeled our whole house with almost no assistance from anyone. We set those toilets a year ago, we can fix it, right?! Besides, we're pouring all of our cash into checks for adoption expenses, how could we possibly afford a plumber?! I said "No way, I'll do it myself tomorrow." Figuring I'd get some new wax rings cause it must've been a case of the rings oozing into the hole and blocking it up or something. No big deal. that toilet barely gets used, how could it be any worse than that?!

Fast forward to the next afternoon. I send Joe to grab two new wax rings from Lowes on his way home from work. It's our 2-yr anniversary, but we're going to fix the toilet. I know you're all jealous! "What a romantic couple!" you're thinking. Well, yes. That's us. But, I had a change of heart while Joe was grabbing the supplies, and decided we should at least go walk along the beach and grab some cheap food while we're out. The toilet would still be there, broken, when we got back. Sadly.

We enjoyed a wonderful, relaxing dinner, watching the waves roll in and out, kids playing in the sand and dreaming. The weather was perfect, the food was great, and we were together. Ahhh, what a wonderful break from the nasty mess at home.

Alas, when we returned, I was determined to get that toilet fixed. I mean, seriously! What if someone came by for a showing??? We couldn't just leave it like that ANOTHER day! So, I changed into my "down and dirty" clothes and headed to the nasty zone. I got the tank off the bowl, got the bowl up off the floor with Joe's help and onto plastic laid out for it. Then, we saw it. Water was sitting in the drain hole up to about 2-3 inches below the top of the pipe. Not good. That hole shouldn't have water standing in it. Come on, can't we get a break?! Last month it was a slab leak, this month... a clogged toilet drain?! Guess we'd better call a plumber after all, eh?

Fast forward again. Now, it's the following day, around 1:00 PM. Joe's arranged for a plumber to come out and check out the problem and clear out the clog. He should be arriving sometime after 3:00 PM, but whenever he comes, he'll call at least a 1/2 hour in advance to let me know. So, I run to the garage to grab a frozen burrito out of the freezer out there. I left the light off in the garage, who needs it. I notice the garage smells damp/dusty. Odd. I see there's a pool of water by the garage door, near the hose bib. There's frequently a little water there after someone's used that hose, so I don't think much of it... but it is a rather large amount of water for that. Hmmm.

Drip, drip, drip. Uh oh. What's that? Out of the corner of my eye I see dripping from the undercarriage of my car between the front two wheels. My mind is racing with ideas as to my my car would be dripping so much fluid. I sniff again. It doesn't smell like gas, oil, or whatever. Then, I begin to lift my eyes up and see that whatever it is, it's running down the sides of the car, just behind the front wheel. It's all over the hood and windshield. It looks as though my car's been through a hurricane. Well, the front 1/2 of the car does anyway. There's water all over the front of the car from the driver's and passenger doors and forward. Now, I look even further up and see it.

The garage is raining. It's as though a giant cloud had formed in the garage and was raining down all around. Except, this cloud was actually the ceiling! The ceiling was raining! It was dripping like crazy all over the place. From one side of the garage to the other and from front to back! Big, HUGE wet patches on the ceiling. LEAK!

Above our garage is our neighbor's condo. It wasn't coming from our house. I couldn't shut off our water to stop it. This wasn't some small, slow leak either. This appeared to be Lake Superior up there! I ran for my cell phone and told Joe he had to get home... NOW! Then, I ran out the front door, planning to beat down my neighbors door in order to get the water shut off. Luckily, as I ran out, it was just in time to see the plumber show up. He shut off their water and ran up to assess the problem. Our neighbor's daughter was home and I asked her what was going on. I told her our garage was being flooded and needed some answers. She seemed bewildered (she's 18 or 19 yrs old... not some child). She was only able to tell me that her mom was on her way home... should be home any minute, and she'd have her come over and talk to me when she got there. Great.

In the mean time, I ran back into the garage and began saving whatever I could from the water. We'd bought a glider chair for our nursery at the neighborhood garage sale the previous weekend. It was soaked. A bag of new dog food... drenched. Just about everything was wet to some degree. Since the ceiling was still dripping quite a bit, I tried to move things out from under "active drip" areas so they wouldn't get any more damage. This wasn't just clean water, either. It was sloppy, goopy yuck with drywall powder and chunks in it. My car had been just washed... now it was covered in a white, mess.

While I was cleaning and rearranging the garage, the neighbor stopped by to discuss repairs, Joe arrived, and so did the plumber that was coming to look at our toilet problem. In order to keep the story from drawing out much further, I'll summarize. With the help of the drain snake, the drain was cleared, but the plumber felt we should run a camera down the pipe to see if we could learn why the drain had clogged. So, we arranged to have him to come back with a camera to look in there and see what's wrong the next day (this morning). He thinks he found that we may have a minor offset in the pipe that has probably been there for quite some time. If this is the case, it could occasionally case things to get caught up and in time, cause a clog. If we felt that it was necessary, the next step would be to locate and verify the problem (another $150), and once found (and verified) they would have to then dig down into the ground, through the floor and whatever else is in the way, to replace the pipe sections. Fun stuff.

So, for now, we had them reset the toilet while we talk to the association since it may be covered by them. It's in the slab, and therefore may not be our responsibility. Either way, we're holding off on taking the next step to have anything fixed. Since this is the first issue in the 2 years we've lived here, we're not too concerned. As it is, the slab leak last month sucked up our emergency funds and with adoption expenses, our accounts are dried up to next to nothing.

As for the garage water mess, we still haven't seen our neighbors insurance guy. She said she'd call us "when he's on his way" so I have no idea when that'll be. That's where I get frustrated cause my working from home gets abused a bit in these situations. I actually need to WORK when I'm at home and can't just take off, get off a meeting call, or whatever when it's convenient for her and the insurance guy. Whatever, I'll be flexible, yet again. I just hope my boss doesn't mind! More to come on this... hopefully they get this fixed quickly because the garage smells damp, and almost mildew-y. I'm hoping we don't end up with a mold issue to boot. Plus, with Joe and I leaving the country in 6 days, I don't want to have this going on while we're out of town. No way. Plus, these are our final days with the house on the market before we leave town. We're taking it off while we're gone so we don't have to worry about the dogs with showings, the possibility of dealing with an offer while we're in South Africa, etc. We'll probably re-list when we get back.

Whilst all of this is going on, we're waiting for our notarized homestudy. I missed a call from our social worker last night when Joe and I were distracting ourselves with some fun at Geoff and Val's. Can you believe I missed her call? I can't. She was calling to let me know that our homestudy was done, the supervisor had approved it, but the email address she'd written down for our placement agency wasn't working so she couldn't get their approval. So, at this moment, I've given her the correct email address and we're waiting for their social worker to look it over and get back to us. Hopefully soon. We've GOT to get the notarized copy in hands in time to get our I-600A submitted and be fingerprinted before we leave town. That would be one huge bit of progress that would help us with some good news in the midst of the chaos at our house!

Seriously though, going to Geoff and Val's last night was just what I needed to get my mind off plumbing issues and have some fun with friends and their precious little guys. I need to get pictures of them so I can put them up for you to all see. They are absolutely gorgeous boys. I have so much fun with them, and feel so incredibly fortunate to have met the Smith family. Wesley and Harrison are helping get Joe and I ready (to some extent) for babies and twins, and they're parents are so great to be around. We even got to test drive the stroller around the neighborhood for a nice long walk, so I got a little workout in too!

Pictures and updates to follow... in the meantime, I'd better get to work!

1 comment:

Norm Perdue said...

We invite you to see the Mesgana Dancers from Ethiopia as they perform in LA and Ontario California, Sept. 13 & 14. These girls age 7-12 are part of the Children of Ethiopia Ed. Fund program and will be on a USA tour this summer; we would love adoptive families come and see the kids! More info at
Norm Perdue, Director