i don’t know how many of you remember how the story of the oak park vegetable garden began, but it all started when we had to excavate our front lawn to repair a broken sewer line. last night we went down to the laundry room to throw in some clothes, and were greeted with an eerily familiar sight: water gurgling up through the basement floor.

uh oh.

we called our trusty plumber, who luckily came over even though it was 9 o’clock at night. that was the good news.

he was 100% sure that the water was coming from a problem in our sewer line which:
A) he couldn’t fix;
B) meant we couldn’t use any water;
C) meant we couldn’t use any plumbing;
D) meant we had to call another company at 10 pm on thanksgiving weekend;
E) gave certain members of our household a bit of deja-vu… and not in a good way…

that was the bad news.

i should also mention that our heat has been out for a week or two because our boiler died, so we are already in the midst of getting quotes for major repairs and living kind of like squatters in our house (wearing 5 layers of clothes, sleeping under 4 quilts, showering less often because it’s just too cold, etc), so this plumbing situation didn’t come at a great time. then again, it’s never really a great time for plumbing problems, is it?

we had another company come out who specializes in blocked sewer sorts of problems. unfortunately, the big tough guy they sent out got faint at the thought of removing a toilet, which is the only way to access our sewer line (don’t even ask about that one…). after telling us- in depth- how much he just hated having to remove toilets in order to do his job (note to people in sewage-related professions who hate toilet-related work: probably wise to investigate other career possibilities…), he quoted us a price for the work IF he had to remove the toilet that was so outrageous that i literally laughed, out loud, right in his face.

but he was totally serious.

and *h, who is a polite sort of fellow, was absolutely mortified.

so i told the guy that for that price i would learn how to remove the toilet myself and i proceeded to look up on youtube exactly how to do it. and because i am tacky and apparently not so polite when people are trying to scam me, i informed him that it would take me roughly 7 minutes. and *h died just a little bit more.

poor *h.

but from that point on i had a big problem giving credibility to anything else the plumbing guy said, even if it made perfectly logical sense. he did also tell us outright that he could work around some of his company’s prices for things if we would call him directly- sketchy, sketchy, sketchy…so after a bit more back-and-forth we sent him on his way and *h took several of the kids to sleep somewhere with heat and water.

this morning we had our plumber friend come to discuss last night’s nightmare and he was kind enough to take off the toilet. a local plumbing company came to give us another estimate for the sewer situation and i think they are going to do a band-aid sort of thing for us to get us through the next few days. the guy who is here is super nice, and that counts for a lot with me. initially the price he gave us was a bit more than the shady guy from last night, but i was still willing to pay it to have someone i trust in my house rather than super-creep.

i joked with *h last night that this all may lead to me putting in a front-yard garden (that is a joke since, first off, i already have a front-yard garden, and second, nobody in seattle cares if you have a front-yard garden, and third, i already did that!). *h, who is in a sort of bad place with all of this, didn’t think it was funny at all.

ho hum.

ironically, our front-yard neighbors just a few nights ago had some major heavy equipment in their yard. when we asked them what they were doing, they told us they were digging up their plumbing because their water pipes had ruptured due to tree roots, and we commiserated with them about how horrible that was because we had that same thing happen to us when we lived in michigan…

and look at us now…

i don’t think we are especially rough on sewer lines, and we do have like a thousand foot tree in front of our house, but i’m thinking it might be time to build a house on stilts.

or switch to outhouses.

or composting toilets.

but *h really isn’t in any frame of mind to be discussing any of these things right now.

right now he is trying to start a fire in the fireplace so he can be a little bit warmer. right now he could use a good hot shower, but we still don’t have working plumbing. right now he could use a lot of things, and i should probably get started on brainstorming what some of them are before he has a total nervous breakdown.

that’s probably a timely idea…