Thursday, September 25, 2014

How High's the Water, Momma?

Two weeks ago, I decided that week -between Labor Day and the Sunday after the holiday -were definitely a week purely from Hell for me. Every other day something happened that didn't exactly make my life a dream come true, for sure.

It was, in essence, a total nightmare.

Today, I decided if there was one word that would be descriptive of my nemesis for this month, it would have to be "Commode!"

Yes, that piece of equipment which the overwhelming majority of us (at least I would hope it is in that numerical range) consider to be not a luxury item for us but rather, something that is really a major necessity.


And normally, this particular item functions in a very quiet manner -obscure from the general traffic and public it sits patiently waiting to serve our needs. And that is as it should be.

But every now and again, this "throne" as it is often called by many, decides to be a bit rebellious and when it does that, it's almost as bad an event as a really wicked storm or more. It can be quite the problem when it decides it's not going to do what it's supposed to do.

And last night, that's pretty much what the lovely, pale green appliance I acquired a mere two weeks ago after I had apparently changed my name to grace and fell backwards landing with a hard slam against the tank of the previous commode and breaking the tank, which in turn created a flood situation in my bathroom.  Except this time, it didn't gift me with only one flood in the bathroom but rather three of them!

And of course, the timing of this event was impeccable too! It was after 11 p.m. when this commodity decided to overflow, spewing water all over the bathroom floor. And it did that then three times -once to call my attention to the fact there was evidently a problem in the line someplace and then two more times -just for good measure!

Although I was born and raised in this house, I haven't  lived here for my entire life. But back in 1979, when my Mom, who was the resident in this house, passed away, my children and I moved in to this old house -my family homestead.

Between December of 1979 and now -almost 35 years -only one time about a month or two after we moved in here has there been a problem with the commode in which it stopped up and overflowed!

Considering the fact that the bathroom usage over those years has been very steady -downright strong, at times,  the fact of the matter is that my three children and my two younger grandchildren, as well -never placed anything in the commode that didn't actually belong there! All things considered with children of virtually any age, the fact that none of them ever tried to flush anything down the drain of the commode other than "waste" materials and toilet paper.

Considering the things my kids and the grandkids too often got into that wasn't in the best interests of operating the household, the fact that they never plugged up the toilet I consider to be at least borderline of miraculous.

Now, I will confess here that I am not exactly material that would qualify as an excellent candidate for employment with "Merry Maids" or any other such entity, but there are a few things -quirks that I have -that sort of tend to awaken a bit of the neatness factors my Mom and Grandmother tried their level best to instill in me and one of them pertains to extra things floating in the commode water. I don't care if it is a piece of toilet paper someone has pulled off and used it in place of a kleenex or just to wipe off a little bit of excess makeup or something, if they toss that into the commode and don't flush it, or if the last time the commode was flushed, the flow of the water didn't take every last shred of whatever evidence of usage down the drain, this annoys the living daylights out of me and I am then compelled to flush the commode and get that out of sight (and yes, out of mind then too!)

And last night,shortly after11 p.m. I had gone into the bathroom with full intentions of taking a shower and getting ready to go to bed when I happened to glance over at the commode and saw there was a bit of bunchedup toilet paper floating around there and so, my "quirk reflex" kicked into gear and I flushed the commode.

However, I didn't notice when I did that a problem existed already in that the water was already high and almost to the top of the bowl when I reached over and pushed down on the handle there. But within about 3 or 4 seconds, I was made fully aware of a problem as the water came pouring up and over the top of the toilet bowl and flooded the entire bathroom floor!'

I didn't panic then because after all, these things can happen occasionally as we all know and I have a new plunger now too that I purchased about two months ago when the old plunger I discovered had virtually fallen apart from apparent dry rotting! And so, I figured it's a fluke type situation and a couple strong pushes into the toilet bowl would suck whatever was blocking the free flow of water down through the pipes and not over the bowl and life would be back to normal here.

Now, knowing me as many of you do by now, you know that rarely does my life run really nice and smooth as glass and this was a really golden opportunity for the commode to become VERY rebellious about doing the job for which it was intended!

There would be no quick return to normalcy of this circumstance!

When the plunger didn't cause even a teeny-weeny bit of a lowering of the water level at the top of the bowl, I decided to try to straighten a coat hanger as much as I could and use it sort of the way you would do with a "toilet snake" or auger to loosen up whatever it was blocking the flow. I tried that but it too proved unsuccessful.

My next move involved surfing the web for sites telling how to go about unblocking a commode and one method recommended caught my eye. That one said to take a box of baking soda and dump it into the standing water and watch as it would begin to fizz up a bit and when that happened, you were to begin pouring vinegar into the water -slowly, a little at a time -because the vinegar would react with the baking soda and would then foam up and cause more overflow if you poured too much vinegar in at once. Another overflow was exactly what I didn't want to happen so I watched the pouring of the vinegar very closely. And since, the instructions said that this would then erode and "eat away" whatever was blocking the system as long as it wasn't some hard object of wood or plasticand such.

It also stated that this was a rather lengthy and time consuming method, so after fighting with the plunger, the coat hanger too, for well over 4 hours, once I had the ingredients in the bowl, ''

I went to bed to allow the components then to do their thing and hopefully, I would get up in the morning to find a commode that was flushable. 

However, when I got up early this morning, I saw the water was still standing just as I had left it several hours earlier.It was then that I decided I was going to have to call in my reserves!

A couple who are friends of mine up on the other end of town had seen a post I had put on my Facebook page about my current bathroom calamity and she posted early this morning asking if I'd been able to succeed on clearing out the blockage and I responded, telling her that was a big fat negative.

She then said that "Sir Richard" (her husband) was in the process then, as we spoke, of gathering up his tools and such and would be down to my place in about 15 minutes to give me a much needed assist.

He arrived carrying his plunger plus an old auger snake thing that he informed me had seen many, many years of successful duty as he and his wife had raised four children and now, they have grandkids too,plus he told me that his kids had plugged their commode on many occasions with things that definitely don't play nicely with a commode.

It took him a lot of hard work -plunging and  then trying to get the auger to breakup whatever was hindering any progress before he finally got the water to begin to go down!

Let me tell you, the sound of the water gurgling a bit as it began to flow through again was the most heavenly sound to hear!

I still don't know what caused this blockage as nothing came up into the bowl once he got things beginning to flow again.

But you can bet your bottom dollar that I'll look closely at how high the water level is in that throne before I allow my quirk reflex to jump into action and flush a little bit of toilet paper down the tubes!


Suldog said...

Well, after reading your FB response to me, I headed over here to see what troubles were happening around your way. This certainly qualifies as a doozy. I hate when something like this happens (and I'm the same way with things in the toilet, as I don't want to see them once they hit the water.)

I have the feeling there's been more trouble than this, though. I read about the kitten and the photos, but... Want to tell me what else has happened?

terri said...

That sounds frustrating beyond frustrating. Good thing your friend and neighbor checked in on you and sent help!