My Way Or The Highway

 Posted by at 12:02 am  Nick's Blog
Jun 172020

As I’ve said several times before, we are staying isolated as much as possible, only leaving the house to go to the grocery store or to a couple of dental appointments. We also have not allowed anybody in our house since early March, including friends. Two or three people we know say that we are overreacting, and maybe so, but we’re going to do things the way we feel is best for us, right or wrong.

However, we did have to let someone in our house yesterday, because we had a problem that was beyond our abilities to fix.

We have two bathrooms in our house, and for some time now, when you flush one toilet, the water in the other one gurgles and bubbles. This was becoming more and more frequent, and it was getting to the point that it did the same thing when we would shower or use the washing machine. So we knew that there was a plumbing issue.

Then, on Monday, the downstairs toilet wouldn’t flush properly. The bowl would fill almost to the top with water, and it would just sit there and not go down. If you left it alone for half an hour or so, it would eventually drain down. Obviously, we needed to do something. Using a plunger and a snake didn’t do a bit of good, so it was time to call in a professional.

I called a local plumbing company on Monday afternoon and was told someone could be at the house between 2 and 5 PM yesterday. But the lady on the phone said if they had an earlier opening, she would call me and see if that would work for us. Sure enough, she called yesterday morning and said she could have someone here about 11 AM. Great, looking forward to it.

The plumber and his helper arrived just after 11, and when they started to come into the house, I told him they needed to wear masks, and offered them each disposable masks. He stared at me like I was some kind of creature from another planet. It was obvious he didn’t like that, and I told him not to worry about it, I’d call someone else. He shook his head and said they had masks in the truck and walked away, shaking his head and muttering about paranoid old people.

Hey, complain all you want. It’s my house, and I’m the customer. It’s my way or the highway. Coming back inside, I started to tell him where to go, and he replied, “Sir, I can find my way to the bathroom,” with a heavy emphasis on the ‘sir.’ It was a hot, humid day, and trying to be friendly, I asked if either one of them would like a bottle of cold water. The man replied, “Sir,” again with the heavy emphasis on the ‘sir,’ “we have a cooler and water in our truck.” Well, okay then.

I’m not sure what caused his attitude, maybe it was because of the mask thing, but I didn’t really care. I just wanted him to do his job and leave. However, as soon as he met Terry, his attitude changed completely with her. Everything was “My dear, I have to do this” or “My dear, can I move this,” My dear, this and my dear that, and making jokes about having a “crappy job,” but he enjoyed it. I was still Sir, with that heavy emphasis.

As it turns out, there is no cleanout valve anywhere in our yard. Don’t ask me how that happened, I didn’t build the house, and I didn’t make the additions to it. He wanted the young man working with him to crawl under the house and try to see if there was a cleanout or at least the direction of the drain line. The guy didn’t go far before he came flying out, saying he had seen a big bug and some kind of snake. Or at least something he thought was a snake.

I guess the plumber was having a bad day, because he immediately started berating his helper, telling him that part of the job is dealing with bugs and snakes and creepy crawlies, and if he didn’t want to do that, he needed to go get a job in an office someplace. I thought that was in rather poor taste. The day the Army pinned sergeant’s stripes on me, one of the first things I was taught was that if you have to dress down a subordinate, you don’t do it in front of other people. It’s embarrassing not just for the person on the receiving end, but for those around you. I guess this guy never learned that lesson.

Long story short, they had to remove the downstairs toilet and run a long, thick snake through its line. Somewhere about halfway between the house and the street, they hit a clog, and this is what they pulled up. At first glance, it looked a bunch of hair, but it’s actually small palm tree roots. The glove is there to show the size of the clog they got out. Then they ran a camera down through the line so we could actually see that everything was now cleaned out. Eventually, we will have them install a cleanout in the yard, but that will have to be another appointment.

Overall, in spite of the attitude thing, they did a great job, although his assistant knocked a picture off the wall in my office and broke the glass and frame. But he apologized, and it was no big deal. We will reframe it. The good news is, now our toilets work just fine!

Thought For The Day – I got mood poisoning. Must have been something I hate.

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  10 Responses to “My Way Or The Highway”

  1. So, who flushed a palm tree root down your toilet? Apparently, the camera didn’t show any other way it could have gotten in there.

  2. That guy really did have an attitude problem then again he probably never served in the military.
    If they pulled roots out of that pipe, there is a break in the line that will have to be repaired. Sounds like the perfect spot for the cleanout.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It’s about time.

  3. If you’ve got roots in your sewer line, it will continue to be a problem until you replace the entire line. Our septic system company had to do that for people often. My dad used to dump Blue Stone (a blue granular chemical) down the toilet to keep the roots at bay. Not sure you can do that since you probably have city sewer. If I had to work with sewer lines, I think I’d be grumpy too!!! Obviously your plumber likes pretty ladies!!!

  4. Well at least they got to the “root” of the problem. (Sorry, just couldn’t resist!!)

  5. You probably have the healthiest Greenest palm tree in the neighborhood
    And you did it all without miracle grow

  6. Every reliable source I know says what you and Terry, and many others in our neck of the woods, are doing is the best protection from Covid-19. Things are opening up around us, but mask use is mostly required. Personally, it still will be a long time before I feel comfortable in a restaurant. I miss going to them, but I prefer to stay healthy.
    Hopefully, your plumber learned something from his visit to your home. I don’t like having service people in my home, but they are an occasional necessity. Hope your plumbing problems are solved for now. Stay well.

  7. Being in the medically compromised and older group you folks are doing the right thing to fight the C-19 flu.

  8. The line is PVC from the house to the yard and then it becomes Terra Cotta. The roots came in at that junction.

  9. It’s interesting that you posted this today because we had to have a plumber at our place on Monday. When I called the week before to make the appointment I said my husband has a compromised immune system and asked if their people wore masks. I was told they do. When the man showed up he wasn’t wearing a mask and when I said he needed one he went out to his van and put it on, but it was not on his face, it was hanging below his chin. I told him to pull it up and he said he was wearing a mask, that was all that was required, and then told me that the virus is all a hoax anyway. I told him to just go away and called his company to complain. They said I would have to pay a $50 last minute cancellation fee. I told them that was not going to happen and hung up. They did not apologize, did not offer to send anyone else out to do the job, just wanted their $50.

  10. The world has all kinds of people but your toilets now flush like they are supposed to! Good enough in my world…maybe as good as it gets…

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