Thursday, March 05, 2009

Let's root for the rooter man!

Yesterday morning I was in my downstairs bathroom, just finished my shower. Sally was using the upstairs bathroom and ran some water. I saw the water in my toilet bubble up like lava in a volcano dome, then heard a distinct "blurble" noise.

Weird, I thought. I flushed the toilet. Within seconds I had a flood, had the back off the toilet, stopped the water. I got out the mop, used every towel in my bathroom to get the water off the floor. I threw the towels in the washing machine and told Sally I'd had a flood. She was ready to go to work and really didn't want to hear about it. I went downstairs in a few minutes and saw that the laundry room was flooded, with water gushing from the floor drain. Time to call the rooter man!

The first guy I called, who we've done business with a few times in the past, couldn't make it, so he called a friend and in about an hour a young man showed up at my door. The first thing I thought of was that he looked like someone out of Li'l Abner. He was huge, 6'4" at least, and fat. He wore overalls rolled up at the bottom. He was a very pleasant young guy who introduced himself as Dave. He said, "How did you get my friend to refer me? I'm glad I can help, but we're both swamped (I don't think there was a pun in there) with calls today."

I told Dave the truth: I said, "My wife is at work and from there she'll be leaving for a couple of days, and I'm recovering from cancer surgery." Man, that cancer surgery stuff opens doors and gets attention. "Oh, wow," Dave said. "Of course, yeah, we'll take care of ya!" I'm shameless, but it worked.

The problem was he couldn't get the problem to repeat itself. We stood at the toilet flushing it and on about the fifth flush it suddenly started to flood. He stopped it before it overflowed. He said, "Has the shower backed up?" I looked in the shower stall, "Yup." "How about the floor drain in the laundry room?" "Yup again." "Okay, it's your sewer."

Dave got his 280 pound frame up on my roof with his rooter equipment and I could hear it whirling through my sewer pipes. We ran the shower full blast while he did his rooter work, then after 20 minutes or so came in and said he had heard the clog break up and the water rush down the pipes. We checked all of the toilets, showers, etc., and everything looked normal, so he charged me $120--which I was glad to pay--and left for his next job.

Why do people make jokes about plumbers? Here are guys who deal with things the nurses after my surgery dealt with, gross stuff. Neither is a line of work I'd particularly like, but I'm sure happy there are people out there who do it. You've got to root for the rooter man. Away go troubles down the drain, as the old advertisement went. Considering how I felt yesterday--not one of my better days, and a lot of it using the very equipment that was backing up--I was very happy to have myself rooted.

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