Thursday, March 28, 2013

Problem = Solved but the Aftermath = In Process

Today, the underlying problem that started my hysterical laughing (a full two weeks ago) was finally fixed.

What we determined from Watergate was that there was a blockage in the waste line of our master bathroom. It wasn't so blocked that the toilet and sink wouldn't work, but 50 gallons of bathtub water at one time was just too much for it to handle. So it backed up. When it happened, Paul was tiling the shower, where he had removed the cap to the drain pipe installed by our plumber in order to attach all the necessary drain connections, water proofing pieces and the tile. Had the shower already been done, we still would have had a water issue, but it would have all just ended up in our bathroom, flooding our new tile, bathroom walls and vanity. It would have potentially flooded our bedroom as well and the damage could have been extensive. While it sucks that the shower wasn't done and it flooded the floor/ceiling cavity and ruined our living room ceiling and fan, this was probably the lesser of the two evils. None of the walls have to be removed, none of the flooring in the bathroom and the vanity upstairs never even got a drop of water on it.

We also determined that the blockage had to be in our waste line only. Addison's bathroom was having no issues and we had used the shower, drained her tub, flushed the toilet and used the lavatory many times already. The problem had to be at a point before the two lines connected and left the house.
Paul went to the basement and started searching for the clean out from the master bath. I asked him how he was going to be able to locate it. He waved me off, gently (if you know Paul) and headed down. I heard the pry bar working at a piece of wood and he had found it, immediately of course and sent me a text with this photo and caption:
And yes, you read that correctly. He sent a text message from our house, to our house. When Heather Armstrong of and her family bought their new house a few years ago, T-Mobile or some other cell company did a sponsored post. They got new phones or new walkie-talkies to use and because their house was just "soooo big", their new tools were coming in handy. I gagged a bit at the ridiculousness of the sponsored, and what I perceived to be made up and forced story. But as it turns out, when you are navigating three stories and you have a toddler upstairs asleep, the good ole fashion, yelling up the stairs trick really cannot be utilized. And so now we find ourselves sometimes texting or calling each other. In our own house. So what I am really getting at is: AT&T, whenever you are ready, we're happy to accept your compensation for using our wonderful smart phones on your wonderful plan in our own wonderful house. Call me. You have my number.
Well, back to our story. We called out Roto Rooter because as their website states, they are the plumbing experts we've trusted for over 75 years. Well not us but someone. Our plumber doesn't snake lines. Isn't that the bee's knees? The local Roto Rooter franchise sent out a technician and he watched Paul work for almost 30 minutes in the middle of the day. He was rude, unhelpful and then charged us upwards of $60 for doing NOTHING except driving to our house and walking up and down a couple of flights of stairs. Needless to say, Paul was hacked. He sent a scathing email to Roto Rooter and of course nothing was fixed. Their a national chain. What do they care if they have an unhappy customer in Oklahoma City. Their suggestion was that we uncap the waste line ourselves, then they would come back out and snake it.
Not wanting to go through this with anyone else, Paul decided to cut out the pipe, re-fit a new piece and allow us access at a higher point.

(As a quick side note: when Paul made the first cut to remove some of the pipe he started pretty high up. He had considered going pretty low to the ground but chose to go higher for whatever reason and then made the 2nd cut at the top to remove the separated pipe. He was unbelievable lucky because the blue painters tape you see on the 2nd photo was the water line of the standing water, still clogged.)
Today, the waste line was snaked and cleaned out and unfortunately the work was done by none other than Roto Rooter. I won't even get into the whole saga of what went down today. Let's just say, I give the company a C for the whole ordeal. It could be worse, if you'd asked me this morning, they would have gotten an F. All the plumbing fixtures are back to being operational so I bumped up the curve a bit. 

Luckily, the damage was covered by our home owner's insurance. Amazingly enough, in all of this process, this is all that has occurred, so far. This type of situation (floods and water line blockage) happens to normal people, ones not tearing out their walls and doing the insane things we have done. This really was a minor set back. We do have a deductible ($1,000) and after all the paperwork was completed it was determined that this repair would cost more than double that (water mitigation isn't a joke people, nor is the price tag). We'll still out some money, probably $600-800, but considering we could be out our entire deductible - it could obviously be worse. I'm thankful all the damage was a sizable amount more than the deductible too. There might not have been much else that could have been worse than the dollar amount coming in right under that grand and it not even making our insurance worth it. So see, this is all going to work out just fine.
We've gotten our quote for our drywall, we're hopeful that they will be able to do the work this weekend. If so, it'll get us back on track pretty quickly. So while the problem is fixed, the entire issue is still in remediation. Stay tuned.


  1. So why did they do nothing the first time? They couldn't uncap the waste line?

    1. Yes. The technician used Paul's wrenches to try and uncap it. When it didn't turn with his first attempt he told Paul it couldn't be opened and he didn't have the tools to do it. He told Paul that if he could get it off, he'd still snake the line. While Paul was working on it, the tech also admitted that he had never snaked a bathroom on the 2nd floor from a basement. He was pretty sure he knew what he was doing but this would be the first time. Needless to say, Paul couldn't get the cap off either, needed to get back to work and ended up going to the alternative of removing a piece of pipe entirely.

      Today, however, when the technician arrived to snake it he told Paul that their company policy was any time a basement was involved a 2nd technician had to be on site. Why had the guy last week not done that? So Paul waited with this tech for an hour until another tech showed up. Then he was planning to charge Paul for the hour he sat around doing nothing waiting on the 2nd tech. When Paul started to voice his complaint they backed down and knocked off that extra $100.00.

      Either way, I'd never recommend them to anybody. Seems as if the national, big business model hits them just like other restaraunts, stores, etc. This is why we prefer local businesses. Large corporate companies provide little customer satisfaction or guarantees even when that is their claim. I'd send Addison in with a pipe wrench before I'd pay them money again.