this is 34

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

July 4, two days before my birthday
I wake up knowing that there is no coffee in the house and very little in the way of anything that might come close to constituting breakfast for me and my beloved BFF Nikki. Instead of showering or combing my hair or putting in my contacts or really trying in any way to look like a reasonable human being, I pull on loose sweat pants, a tshirt from staffing AthFest four years ago and flip-flops, grab my glasses and twist my hair up into a bed-head ponytail combination at best. Yesterday's mascara may or may not be speckled across my cheeks. And that's how I go to Kroger to grocery shop. Classy.

July 5, one day before my birthday
When I take a shower, the water backs up into the shower. After valiantly plunging and pulling out a gross conglomeration of human and cat hair and forcing the shower to belch up black sediment, I do what any single woman in my position does. I called Dad.

He plunged the shower with far more skill and vigor, and it in turn regurgitated more sooty black sediment onto the tile. And when we go to investigate the plumbing in the basement, we discover about a 1/2 inch of water spreading across the concrete floor from the wall to the staircase.

I depart and drive across town to pay my ad valorem tax (with one day to spare!), return in a torrential downpour and find that my toilet is now in my shower. Because it's leaking into the basement and the seal is broken. And Dad is in said basement, wailing on the outflow pipe cap, which is all tarnished and warped in its cast iron setting. He finally wrenches it out and water pours from the pipe into the floor.

While he threads the pipe in search of the problem, I go to Home Depot and Lowe's only to discover that the 2 1/2" brass cap isn't standard size any more. And that's how I end up with a Diet Mountain Dew bottle forced into the pipe's end and duct taped within an inch of its life.

July 6, my birthday
Dad goes out early to Luke Hardware where they have a single 2 1/2" brass cap in a box of old junk. Literally. In a box. Of junk. Dad installs the brass fitting, and despite his best efforts and threading tape, there's a slow drip out of the bottom end. We google for how to seal a brass cap in a cast iron pipe. And Mom and Dad take off for another trip to the hardware store to find some mysterious epoxy. While they're gone, Nikki and I use a push broom and a shovel to remove water from the basement. Later, the epoxy applied, the slow drip persists, but nothing a little bucket can't handle.

Nikki and I both shower. And I'm annoyed that the water is still backing up in the shower. And I hear a strange burbling coming from the toilet. And when she gets out of the shower, she says that the drain clogged in the guest bath, too. And then when we go to turn the light on to admire ourselves in the full-length mirror in the hall and the bulb blows and I tell her I'll go to the basement and get the step stool so we can change the bulb...well...that was 34. Thirty-four full on in my adult face and raining down in my basement from every pipe and joint I can see and dripping down the window and wetting the baseboards with insidious water from God-only-knows-where. So I swore roundly and yelled up the stairs for Nikki to bring the trash cans -all of them! - and like the poor man's bucket brigade, we positioned every can and bowl and pot I had to strategically capture a small percentage of the water bursting into my basement.

We finished getting ready and arrived at my birthday dinner nearly an hour late and sat outside before being chased inside by the never-ending series of cloudbursts that have marked the past few weeks. And then we walked in the rain to the bar to meet others for drinks. And all the while, I thought of the rain in my basement. And before we went home that night, we went to the bathroom at my office.

***

Today, the plumber came. Hours of threading the pipes and $300 later, the clog has been dislodged and the plumbing set to rights. And I put in a call to a guy to clean my gutters because if I don't they're going to fall off the house. And my dad mentioned that one of my basement windows might be rotting. And when I got home tonight, there was a snake in the carport. And so far, 34 is making me feel very much like perhaps I should go to bed and pull the covers up over my head. But that would likely be inviting a leak in the ceiling...

3 comments:

Theresa Childs said...

Preach on.
They say that if it rains on your wedding day it's a sign of good luck. Which is such a lovely juxtaposition to the way they must feel once they realize that all those months of planning and sweating over the crepe paper flowers are all washed up under some last minute pop-up tent.

I'm not sure what the saying is for when your shower backs up, your toilet seal rots and your basement floods on your birthday...but I'm sure it's something about 34 being the best fucking year of your life. Ever. Seriously. And you have one hell of a story to spout off. Which for me, is always worth it ;-)

m said...

what she said.
fucking word.

Nikster said...

Industrious (and you know I don't like to use this word when it comes to us ladies, but...) bitch. That's what you are. Hard working, problem solving, kick ass bitch. And those friggin' pipes know it.

LOVE YOU.

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