Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Pleasant Surprise

Warning, I suggest you avoid reading this post if you are eating or have a weak stomach!

Few things strike fear into the heart of a homeowner than the need to summon a plumber! I suppose that making the call for help is a personal admission of defeat. Then there is the fear of the unknown; just how much is this going to cost me. Will I have to take a second mortgage or sell something?

So begins my story. Last Friday I arrived home to find the renter of our apartment wanting to borrow a plunger. She didn’t mention what was the nature of the clog, but I was confident that my assistance would be required in short order. My hope was that the clog was confined the low flow toilet but when she failed to return in five minutes I began to fear the worse! If you have ever owned an old house, then you have likely guessed the problem, a hopelessly clogged kitchen drain.

One look at the situation and the immortal words of Hans Solo of Star Wars fame came to mind: “I have a bad feeling about this.” My feelings were correct, no amount of plunging was going to open the drain. Being cheap and foolish, I decided to disassemble the P-trap and make an attempt to reestablish drainage with my handy dandy snake. With a few turns of the wrench, the P-trap was removed and I was immediately greeted by a large volume of greasy water that quickly overflowed my containment bucket. In a matter of a few seconds, my shirt sleeves were soaked and the water had continued to drain onto the kitchen floor where I was uncomfortably perched. As I sat there soaked by greasy water, I silently admitted that it was time to call for help.

One of the nice things about living in a small community is that you can usually get a plumber to make a house call the same day. As it was already 12:30 on a Friday afternoon, I ran downstairs an made my call for help. Thankfully, and I mean that in every sense of the expression, the plumber’s dispatcher assured me that help would arrive before the end of the business day! Now all I had to do was shower, change my cloths, and await for rescue.

Around 4 PM the dispatcher called to let me know that the “Chris the plumber” should arrive in about ten minutes. After what seemed like an eternity, there was a knock at the front door and there stood a professional armed with the tools of his trade. We chatted for a few minutes while I explained the situation; he held up the electric drain cleaning snake and told me that if this didn’t do the job, them the drain couldn’t be opened. He quickly went to work and in a matter of ten minutes he said that the clog should now be history. He reassembled the P-trap and ran the water to check his work. As the water immediately disappeared from the sink creating a loud gurgling sound, Chris utter the following: “It’s a good sound, isn’t it”. Oh great, the guy’s a comedian, will there be an additional charge added to my bill?

The bill arrived the yesterday and upon opening it, I was shocked to learn that I was charged for only a half hour of labor. The total', including humorous remarks by the plumber, was a whopping $35.00! Incredible!!


Paul said...

Excellent! I loved the story and got a chuckle out of it at the end. It is very good to hear that you only got hit for $35.00. Nice!

Steve Skinner said...

I had to have the dryer repaired the other day and the tech was done in less than ten minutes, the bill was eighty-six bucks. Maybe the plumber should change jobs!

Earl said...

Steve, wonderful story. I so identify with trying the "do-it-yourself" method first, usually with the same results you found.

I'm thinking if anyone needs a plumber in your area you've got one you'd highly recommend -- Chris! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Glad it worked that way for me. The neighbor in my condo had a waterline break and flood my condo. Just eh cleaning bill is at $470.00. I still need to have the baseboards and some sheetrock replaced. Not a same results as you. What would it be like if we didn't have plumbing?

Steve Skinner said...

Earl, I think that we never really know true pain in our lives until we own a house and an auto!

Steve Skinner said...

Monte, I once had a very young coworker who told me that he couldn't wait until he owned a house so that he could begin fixing it up. If I recall correctly I told him that he was nuts!

Pamela said...

maybe because you already had everything torn apart -- ??

well - we've both had unusual moments this month with not paying a fortune out for something we anticipated we would.

Steve Skinner said...

Yes Pamela, all things considered it's been a good month!