Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Poo Geysers, or "The Definitive Reason to Never Eat Snow of Any Kind"

We started sleeping at the new place Thursday evening. As I mentioned, we got a foot of snow between Thursday and Friday. Saturday morning,  I was up early, scrubbing the kitchen (because, ewww, bachelor man lived alone in this house for two years then moved out and the house sat empty for a year.) Shar'Niese got up, and we were chatting in the kitchen before Eric and I took her to the airport. At some point, we heard a weird noise. I went to explore, and looked down the stairs into the basement. I saw sunlight reflecting off the floor back at me.

Which is a problem because the basement is carpeted, except for a non-carpeted spot that highlights the nonworking, not-hooked-up toilet sitting in a 6x6 space in the middle of the floor.

Oh. crap.


Before I go on with this disgusting, but surprisingly non-smelly story, I would like to take a moment and say THANK GOD we decided to not move our boxes until Sunday. I was mentally planning on putting every single box down in the basement that I wasn't going to unpack (which is a lot of them, more on that later, and by later, I mean another blog post). That would have been a problem. A huge, poo-colored problem.

Folks, that gentle reflection was nothing other than water vomiting up through the drain in the floor. However, at this time, it appeared that this was a single-incident puddle.

Ok. Call the agency we are working with. Yea for emergency weekend numbers and an agent who doesn't mind a Saturday 9am call. She calls the homeowner. In the interim, we leave to drop Shar'Niese at the airport. We take two cars because we were going to the old house to pack up more stuff and haul a load over to the new place.

Homeowner calls Rotor Rooter. They are coming out in 30-45 minutes. Eric drops me at my car after we make the airport run, I run to the old house, grab three fans (because this is just a puddle, right? We can clean this up!), and race back to the new house. Meet Rotor Rooter guy, who's already there. He goes down into the basement, takes a look (hey! The water has receded! Good sign, right?) and decides to put a cable down the capped off toilet drain pipe, because there's likely a clog and this is septic backup. I should not run the water.

Ewww! I ask the guy if I could wash my feet even though I'm not supposed to run the water, and he says I can do what I like. I immediately run upstairs, jump on the kitchen counter, and wash my feet in the sink because we have no bathtub (more on that some other time.) Then I wash the sink.

I know things weren't going well when he called the homeowner for permission to use a second cable because he had gone through the entire, over 100ft long first cable.

I know things really weren't going well when I hear him go "Ahh! What was that!?!" Turns out, while he was sending the cable down one pipe, the other pipe sent up a warning shot. All over his shoes.

Good gravy, this.
After running approximately 120 feet of cable, the RR guy suggested that a clog or root was not the problem, but in fact the septic tank was full and not accepting any more water. This was "definitely" a septic issue.

Eww. Ewwww. EWWWWWWW.

Call the homeowner, hear that there is nothing to be done today and he will call a guy who will call a guy and deal with it on Monday.

I haul everything I placed in the basement out that I am able to, and, when Eric gets back, we haul the rest out and place it in the garage. Fortunately, there wasn't much down there. Six empty boxes were sacrificed to the cause, but everything else was ok. We work on the house for a bit. We wonder what we're supposed to do about flushing... and pee outside. Good thing we live in the woods.

We go over to the other house, where I take a full shower and scrub, scrub, scrub my feet.

When we get back, there is more water. The sump pump is going off and the water is expanding. Every time the sump pump drains, more water shoots into the basement. Leave messages with the homeowner and the caretaking organization, because at this point now its looking like a sump pump issue and not necessarily a septic issue. Breathe a slight sigh of relief that we might not actually have sewage in the basement, but melt from the foot of snow that may be causing the sump pump to not keep  up.

It got worse.
Sunday, the water stays. Our friends help us move boxes, and comment that we perhaps should invest in a kayak. They also comment that there are likely mice in the garage, and in fact, I find mouse poo. More on mice at another time. A guy shows up with an employee and finds the septic tank cap out in the woods. They dig it up in advance of the septic guy coming.

Well, the combination of the temporary indoor swimming pool, the mice, and the all-day training  I have to give on Monday means that I sleep incredibly poorly Sunday night. As in, I got up at 2am after tossing in bed for an hour because I can tell I'm not going back to sleep. I get my clothes for the day, gather my shampoo, conditioner, soap, and hair dryer, and head to our other house to shower. At which time I realize that I forgot my makeup and deodorant, so before going in to work, I stop at King Soopers and pick up mascara and deodorant to avoid having my training participants run out the door by 1pm.

Here's where I have to rely on Eric for reporting, as Paul Harvey used to say, the rest of the story.

At 7:15am, the septic guy showed up. He required over $500 in cash, which fortunately, the guy who came on Sunday to dig up the septic tank had (he is buddies with the homeowner), and gave to Eric. Septic guy opened the septic tank to find it completely full.

How much poo does it take to completely fill a septic tank? Never mind, I don't want to know. G.R.O.S.S.

Septic guy drains the septic.

The water does not recede from the basement. What. The. Heck.

After a number of exchanges with the homeowner, Rotor Rooter is called back out to snake the line to find wherever the heck the clog is. However, Rotor Rooter has no record of coming out to the house on Saturday, DESPITE Eric showing them the invoice we received. They leave. Eric calls the homeowner (because I'm in training and can't help) and I'm pretty sure the homeowner was ready to flip. Eric was ready to punch someone. I was training. I did not get punched or flipped out on. Phew.

Well, these men worked it out, and after the homeowner GAVE ERIC his credit card number (we must be really trustworthy, because this is now cash and credit we've gotten on behalf of the homeowner), Rotor Rooter came back out. Turned out the guy that came out on Saturday never submitted the visit into the computer, then didn't answer his phone when RR tried to call.

Rotor Rooter rooted around in the septic tank (say it with me, EWWW), and found a bunch of roots at the intersection of the pipe and the tank. They also found a towel, sodden with (no, not poo, although I'm sure it was there too) grout. When they removed the towel from the pipe, a poo geyser erupted. The RR guy and Eric jumped away, and Eric grabbed his phone.

Poo. Geyser.

Seriously, thank goodness the tank is in the woods, but oh my goodness, please do not EVER eat snow.

Like ever.

Because you don't know that THIS happened to the snow.

Epilogue: When I got home from work Monday evening, I was told that two guys had just then left the house. They removed the carpet from the basement after the water receded, and spent nearly 8 hours scrubbing, bleaching, and otherwise sanitizing the basement. For 48 straight hours now, we have been running 3 box fans in the basement to dry it out. We are no longer breathing poo air.
Words I never thought I would ever put in a sentence: "poo geyser," and "poo air."

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