Sunday, February 21, 2016
Interestingly, 'Geyser of Excrement' Is the Name of My Tears for Fears Tribute Band. But I Digress
So, we've moved seamlessly from HVAC to plumbing. A very particular kind of plumbing -- the sewer line. If you've ever done plumbing above the concrete regions of your house, you might figure plumbing holds no terrors. Lefty loosie, righty tightie, and wash your hands before eating lunch was the entire plumbing handbook when I was a kid. The appendix held one one additional piece of advice: Water always runs downhill. Wanna bet?
When the clocks run backwards, when the sun rises in the west, when the lion lays down with the lamb, when politicians start telling the truth, when water doesn't run downhill, when the laws of supply and demand are revoked -- supplying finless brown trout to the porcelain gods and demanding that they go away -- that's when you know you're in for it. You got existential trouble there, Camus, I'm tellin' you.
I don't think I can accurately describe what that geyser of excrement in the carhole meant to me at that moment. It was literally an existential threat. If I couldn't figure out what was wrong, almost immediately, we would be homeless. Not fake homeless like an indie-rock drummer sleeping on strange couches. My family and I would not be able, or more to the point, not be allowed to live in our house while I sorted it out. It's fight or flee, and since it was below zero at the time, fleeing only lasts until you get to the end of the street where you re-enact the end of The Shining. I prefer fighting anyway.
The first thing you have to get through your head in such situations is that no one is going to save you. Everyone thinks they can act any old way and someone will save them. I eventually got help, but that's not the same as waiting to be saved. The old joke about the lost traveler that sat down and prayed for God to save him is apropos. A man on a camel passes by, but he refuses a ride because God will save him. A man in a hot-air balloon floats by and throws down a rope. The traveler refuses, because God will save him. Things go along like that for quite some time. When the man is about to die of thirst and hunger, he entreats the Lord, "Why won't you save me?" The heavens open up, and a figure in flowing robes appears in the clouds, and booms, "I sent a hot air balloon and a camel driver. What did you want, a sedan chair?"
If I wanted to be saved I'd go to snake-handling church. I had to fix my problem. I looked at my older son, and said, "Get it through your head, right now, son. No one will save us. Let's save ourselves." It was superfluous.
In the nether regions of the carhole, there was an old pipe, plastic, sheared off roughly, inexpertly glued into a 2-inch cast iron knuckle, which in turn was inelegantly rammed into another cast-iron knuckle, which disappeared into the concrete floor. Bad things were coming out of the sheared off plastic pipe. This pipe was as far away from the sewer main as you could get and still be indoors. Someone had decided they needed a sink really badly in this godforsaken, frozen sepulchre, and true to the task, had put one in really badly, then removed it. And now that pipe was jetting the equivalent of 175 meals eaten at a Chipotle franchise located on a Carnival Cruise ship onto my cellar floor every minute. Steps must be taken.
[to be continued]