There are second chances we do not want
Especially when it comes to plumbing emergencies
The second plumbing emergency was different.
I figured that I knew enough to fix things.
It was still an emergency.
It was still urgent.
It was still very very upsetting.
I started at one hardware store. I purchased chemicals and a snake.
The first plumber?
He didn’t use chemicals.
I wasn’t a pro.
I didn’t want to be ‘under-gunned’ in my attempts to reopen the pipes.
My hero plumber? He likely had those in his big, awesome plumber-truck, with his big, crazy awesome plumber-snake.
Chemicals it is. What could possibly go wrong.
I began with the dumping of chemicals.
Some went in the floor drain, the rest went in every entrance to my building’s subterranean exits.
In some cases I ran the water. In others, I started flushing.
This did not have the effect that I hoped.
This did not work at all.
This did the opposite of working
It was like
Frame by frame
the water levels began to creep up.
Shit began to flow in a direction that, if you were to reach into any plumbing textbook you would quickly find is incorrect.
You actually did not have to be a professor in the leaden arts to have made that judgment call.
It began to swirl and dance like ice capades in a little pool on the floor of the furnace room.
One was even wearing a little princess costume.
It was like Disney’s stars on ice.
Only the ice was a slurry of piss and toilet paper and the princesses were actually twirling teenager turds.
Dear reader, if you are at this current moment wrenching, that’s exactly what was happening to me when it happened.1
Next, I removed the toilet.
Turning off the water to a toilet is one thing. That’s easy. Removing a toilet?
That’s a commitment.
That’s a promise to your future self that creates a lot of tension
It’s a way of saying
I know you depend on this thing every day. We’re going to remove this essential appliance that makes this a safe space for you James. We’re doing this because for things to get better they need to get worse first. - My self talk while cutting away the silicon seal before pulling my toilet from the floor.
With the toilet removed and safely stored in the bath tub.
Why the bath tub?
I dunno, figured if the two of them live their lives side by side, they likely get along pretty well. No point attempting to introduce my toilet to my sofa in a time of crisis.
With the toilet gone, I attempted to force my consumer-grade-plumbing-snake through the hole where the toilet used to be.
Oh these holes. They look like faces with big, round, bottomless mouths. I’m grateful they can’t speak. Given what they’ve seen, I really do not want to know what they know, think how they think or even hear what they’d say.
It would be
The snake did’t work.
My plumber hero from yesterday had a better tool.
He had better knowledge.
I had a Scottish grandmother who lived through the depression.
There was no way on god’s green earth that I was calling another emergency plumber. I wanted satisfaction. Satisfaction required action. I went to the grocery store and purchased more chemicals.
I should have read the label
Do you read labels? When you get flat packed furniture, do you first start attempting to put it together based on what you think it ‘should’ look like, or do you just dive in.
Typically, I read things first.
This time, I felt urgent.
This time I dumped a lot of chemicals on top of other chemicals.
It wasn’t a good idea. There was foam. There were smells.
I ran outside, returning only to open windows, turn on fans and peer into the turd filled void.
All of this was accomplished while holding my breath.
Still nothing moved.
Once the air was clear, I decided that going down wouldn’t work.
Every entrance is an exit and every exit is an entrance.
With my trusty poo snake in hand, I opened up a clean out and shoved it up hill. What came next brought both relief and nausea. Relief that the pipes were getting cleared away and nausea from the unfortunate sights and smells.
I gagged and wretched in front of my office. I’m sure to any passerby it must have been a sight to see - the local mental health counsellor on all fours, sweating bullets and barfing in front of his office. I can hear the endorsements right now: Having trouble in your life? Go see James Dalling aka “Barfey the Clown”. He sorts a lot of people’s shit out. The stench of his office is evidence enough.
I understand we all have stinky orifices, but who the hell wants to spend an hour in a stinky office?
First time - that was an emergency that required help.
Second time? I battled through.
Sadly, tomorrow, you’ll discover what happens the third time around.
How much do you rely on a toilet?
Who is the emotional toilet in your world? Do you have one, or is it always you for others?
What does it feel like to know that you really need to go but social circumstances prevent it?
OMG WE CAN BE WRETCH BUDDIES! Yay! Let’s pretend we're in high school and find someone to get us booze so we can barf together.