Vindication.

So . . . who wants to hear about my plumbing??!?! You’re all so excited, I can tell. Ain’t nothin’ like a good tale of plumbing drama.

Not to keep you in suspense any longer, let me begin by saying that ever since the great tree incident, our plumbing hasn’t been quite right. When the toilet flushed there was a mysterious “bang” coming from somewhere. Somewhere not in the bathroom. I told everyone that needed to know . . . the engineer who is in charge of the repairs, as well as miscellaneous extra people. Many people patronized me about the bang. Not badly, but you could tell they were mentally patting me on the head and saying, “There, there.”

Then we left town. And the snow came. The snow came in a big way. When we arrived back in town on Friday night, our house had new fresh cracks in the walls, and then on Saturday the furnace went out. It got fixed though, and that isn’t the point. The point is that (also on Saturday) the plumbing was very distinctly wrong. The bang was no longer ambiguous. Weird noises were coming out of all the drains, and when I turned on the washing machine, the toilet came to a rolling boil, which is something you never really want to see.

On Sunday morning, the drains gave up altogether. No water would leave our house. It was as if the water had all unanimously decided that it was cozier inside than out. Nothing would go down the toilet, the sinks, or the tub.

Fast forward to when the plumbers excavated the sewer line on Monday. What do you think they pulled out of the sewer line under the house? No, not a Lego spaceship. It was a long board. And when I say long, I mean a good twenty-eight inches. And I would like to take this moment to go on the record and state that we did not flush that. Had it been the Lego spaceship, I wouldn’t have been so sure, but the board I can be confident about.

Now let’s refer back to that photo of the tree on our house.

Do you see that white pipe that’s all akimbo there in the upper foliage? That’s the toilet vent. Apparently, the tree ripped a board off the house, and in a tricky exhibition of dexterity, it fired the board straight down that pipe. For the next ten days the board worked its way down the pipe, through the wall, and down under the house before it finally stuck fast and clogged everything up.

I’m feeling very smug now. I said there was a “bang” and everyone looked at me as if I had said that a cow was barking. “Pipes don’t bang,” you could see them saying to themselves, “they gurgle.” However, I think we can all confidently agree now that I was right. A large board, working its way through the walls with every flush definitely makes a “Bang.”

Thank you. That’s all I need to say.

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23 thoughts on “Vindication.

  1. Haha actually pipes do bang – it’s called “water hammer”, happens when an abrupt change in pressure occurs and the fluid force creates oscillations to dissipate the extra energy. Although this only happens in pressurized pipes, not in gravity-feed pipes like sewers.

  2. That was hysterical! And it truly trumps my having to call the plumber not once, but twice, to take the toilet off so we could get to a Star Wars bobble head and then a Y-Wing fighter. :)

  3. Well, you are most definitely vindicated! What a story! I’m sure it will be much funnier looking back on it in a few months or so. I know all about the “no water will leave the house” scenario because we have had it at our house a couple of times. That part is not fun! We have a maple tree that loves to fill our main sewer line with roots. We learned about it the hard way. Glad your mystery has been solved!

  4. Wow. You can’t beat that sort of plumbing story/nightmare. I sure am glad they were able to take care of it quickly enough. And that your furnace was fixed too. A lot of stuff going on in your house for sure. Here’s to hoping everything operates the way it should and without need of repair for many. Many. Months to come.

  5. Ha! Glad that’s over. But I have to say that I also enjoy the stories that come from the disasters in the life of your family. Falling trees should shove long boards into the plumbing of homes occupied only by people with a sturdy sense of humor and a knack for storytelling. Good thing it happened to you and not to me!

  6. Well, this seems like an awkward time to ask you after such an experience…but I was wondering if you’ll be offering the lavender sewing kits again this year? I wasn’t sure where to ask, here or your other blog, so I thought I would throw it out here! Of course, if not, I understand! Thanks!

  7. This is hilarious! And it reminds me of my life in a strangely similar way because every time the laundry would spin for several weeks, there was a volcanic eruption in my bathtub. (Not funny at the time) Hubby fixed it and all is well, but it’s nice to know that someone else has these weird experiences and can laugh in the face of plumbing.

  8. Okay, I had to show this to my husband. He’s a pipe welder/inspector by trade and has to do his fair share of plumbing (reluctantly, I might add) to keep his union happy. He actually snorted and then gave himself up to fits of giggles. He said, “Only in plumbing would something that absolutely ridiculous happen.” :-)

  9. My pipes bang every time someone turns the water on or off. So they most certainly do bang.

    Great story!

  10. I had a similar moment of vindication. While driving my car around town, I kept hearing a putt-putt-putt in my brakes. Naturally, the car, being disposed against me, refused to make the noise while my husband was driving. At my insistence, we took the offending vehicle to our car shop. I explained the sound as being similar to the sound the Wheel of Fortune makes just before it stops. The mechanic looked at me like I was crazy. When I came to pick it up, I was informed that the several men who drove it had heard nothing when they braked and that it must be my “Dog-like hearing” that was the issue (I kid you not, that was the phrase they used). I was humiliated and refused to return to the shop. Fortunately, the noise, which I heard as soon as I pulled back into my driveway, returned with a vengeance so that soon my husband could hear it (exactly as I had described). Something had worn off and needed replacing. I sweetly asked my husband to take it in this time and he assured me that the mechanic who had teased me previously was a little chagrined that they hadn’t caught it the first time!
    Sweet Vindication!

  11. What a wonderful tale of daring, mystery, and triumph!

    Well, first let me say that, Franci, I clicked on your link with fear and trepidation, but supposing this to be a family friendly forum, trusted in a non-disturbing experience. Whew. Glad I was right!

    Second, and I know it’s less amazing in one sense, I used to have this problem where my kitchen sink would decide that the faucet wanted to part from the main body at will, without warning when I would turn it on. Sometimes the whole thing would fly off, sometimes it would just rise up enough to allow for some seriously pressurized water to squirt out, usually in my face. For several months I pleaded with friends to let me do the dishes when they visited, or at least prepared them for the possibilities…well, one day while we were having our house replumbed the plumber needed to use the kitchen sink–I forgot to warn him! He got it in the face, and then told me he wasn’t going to let a sink do that to him, dismantled it, and put it back together in such a way that it would come along meekly. And, so it has.

    As someone with an on again off again sense of humor, there were moments when I had words with my faucet, but after awhile I usually just laughed.

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