Throw in the dog for free« an older post
a newer one »Memorial Day

Not the only one with bad time estimates


Apparently, I'm not the only one with bad time estimates.

After going to bed after 2 this morning, Kris and I dragged ourselves out of bed at 6:00 am this morning to head to Home Depot for the shower hardware. The frustrating thing about purchasing shower hardware is finding the right finish, style AND functionality with the limited selection at any store.

I wanted a brushed nickel (or equivalent) finish, with a large circle back plate for the handle, and a dial/handle that controlled BOTH water flow and temperature. Controlling water flow is important to me, because I prefer a low flow shower until I'm rinsing my hair.

And then I prefer a Niagara-like flow.

Not one of the boxes seemed labelled with this "dual feature" I was looking for. The HD help person was exactly no help, her answers to our requests being, "I don't know. Look at the boxes."

So, I decided, if I can't have the finish I want, I'll buy something cheap with the dual flow and temperature control, even if it looks like crap, and replace it with some horribly expensive Restoration Hardware shower hardware that DOES do what I want. Hopefully that replacement won't cost another $1200. And, hopefully, we can do it ourselves.

Yeah. Life doesn't work out that way.

We rushed home and arrived around 7:00 am. Kris went into the office to start playing WoW. He's never been able to stay awake long enough at night to play at 7:00 am, how has the playing changed? What nuances would he find, playing at 7:00 AM? Or all day, for that matter. Because he played that damn game ALL FREAKIN' DAY. He paused 5 times: once to go to the bathroom, once to go to the store when I requested it and get food for himself to eat, once just for foot, and twice to feed the dogs. That's it. 5 times. Five times.

He sat there for SEVENTEEN hours while three plumbers walked in and out of the office behind him to crawl in and out of the crawl space door in the closet floor. The plumbers could have been painting graffiti on the bathroom walls for all Kris noticed.

No, I'm not bitter about that game.

Not at all.

Full of loathing, maybe.

So, the first plumber arrived at 7:30. The next one at 8. The last one, who I didn't even know was coming, arrived at 8:30. Work began in earnest around 9, after the inspection of the linen closet (empty), the office closet crawl space trap door (accessible), the bathtub (clogged) and the task requirements.

The wall opened up. The hacksaws came out. The pipes were cut.

The wall had been opened up before, based on the repair marks on the wall. WHEN they had been opened up is unclear. Completely unclear.

At 9:58 AM, the first two Master Gardeners show up for the website sprint. At 10:00 AM, the next one shows up. At 10:05, I return from the store where I managed to remember milk for Kris, along with the fruits and vegetable snacks for the Master Gardeners, but forgot, oh, water? I mean, plumbers, replacing a trap... water to house turned off. Who would forget water?

Good thing no one flushed in the second bathroom.

The plumbers were supposed to be gone by 2. The Master Gardeners by 4. The latter managed it. The former didn't.

Turns out, replacing the trap was easy. When they replaced the trap, they found the tub drain pipe was seriously clogged. The only open spot in the 2" pipe was the 3/8" hole made by the snake we routinely sent down the first meter of tub pipe.

They replaced that pipe, and sent a snake down the trap.

With no success.

They climbed onto the roof and sent a snake down the roof access pipe.

With no success.

I mentioned the backyard trap, so they went around back to send the snake down the lower trap access pipe from the kitchen.

With no success.

The three plumbers disappeared back under the house. Ten minutes later, there was sawing sounds. They removed another stretch of pipe to find the problem. I asked for all the removed pipes to be left, so I saw the 140 cm long pipe they removed, with T joint.

Turns out, a stick had been sent down the pipes and had lodged in that T joint where the bathroom drained into the main outflow pipe to the sewer line. My biggest fear was that the sewer line repair had failed and all of those repairs would need to be redone. A stick in the bathroom drain, though. How?

Now, a stick in the drain pipe had to have gotten there somewhere. Down the toilet is a possibility, but mostly unlikely given the traps around it. Down the sink wasn't possible given the size of the stick. Did we have a tree that was removed recently? A stick could have fallen down the roof pipe access. Is there a cover on that pipe? I asked. No, there wasn't. Okay, add that to the house task list.

There weren't any trees recently removed from the house, since we've been here seven years this month (hc, seven years?), and there weren't any trees. Either the stick had been in the pipes that long (slightly possible, given our fountaining toilet as a welcoming gift from the house) and not decomposed (unlikely, but maybe possible if the stick was submerged underwater with no microbe activity coming from, oh, THE TOILET?), or it had been dropped down the roof access pipe, maybe by a bird making a nest or an evil squirrel.

I'm partial to the evil squirrel theory myself.

During all of this drama, the Master Gardeners group (John, Allen, Caryl, Bracey, Karyn and Bob) kept right on working on the website. I was completely embarrassed (especially at asking all of them to use the same toilet but DON'T FLUSH!), but they seemed to just go with it. An adventure!

In my own bathroom.


The plumbers left around 6:30 PM, their six hour estimate shot by a lot. To my surprise, the bill was still $1200. When the snake didn't go down the first times, and they were still around after nine hours, I was sure the price was going up. The plumber in charge, however, said it was a fixed bid, and the amount was $1200.

The three of them were clearly frustrated by the end. Can't say I blamed them. They totally experienced Murphy's law today.

And the stubborn will of my house.


Sorry for hiding that stick in your pipe. I thought it would be funny....

Re. WoW
I think I’d prefer a partner with a cocaine addition than a WoW addiction at this point... Or maybe weed—then they’d always be mellow and good-humoured.