Thursday, March 17, 2011

Main Squeeze

Great post title, huh? But if you think I'll be blogging about my main squeeze--my husband--you're wrong.

The main I refer to is our main plumbing line and squeeze? That's what repairing it is doing to our budget.

A few months ago we noticed that when doing laundry, draining the bathtub or doing anything else that pushed a good amount of water down the drain, water would back up through the basement floor drain in our furnace room. We thought, "Great, what do we do now?"

We called our usual plumber and he said it sounded like a clog in our main line and that he didn't have the equipment to handle it. He gave us a recommendation for plumbing company A. We then called company A and they promptly came to our home. An hour later we were told we had some roots in the line and that they took care of them and our problem was fixed. It sounded simple enough and we were happy it only cost $300 to fix the problem.

Fast forward a week later and the problem is back in full force, if not worse than before. We couldn't reach company A to come look at the problem and needed help fast, so we called a new plumbing company--company B. Company B informed us that there was no way company A did what they told us they did. Company B was at our house for three hours, cleaned the line of roots, told us the problem was fixed and went on their way (with a check in their pockets for $300).

[Insert here two weeks of the phone-run-around game with company A and finally receiving a check back for half the payment, as they admitted that the work wasn't completed properly.]

Much to our dismay, about a week or two after company B had "fixed" the problem, our friend the drain was once again overflowing. At this point, a moment back in May 2010 in which I said "I can't wait to own a home so I can paint the walls any color I like" was playing in slow motion in my head. And the thought of uttering those naive words was making me sick.

We had to figure out this problem. We needed to find someone we could trust and who could get this fixed once and for all. As chance would have it, we attended a large home and garden expo in our city and stumbled upon company C. They had a nice booth set up (read: they had a nice booth and a custom pink toilet in front of it which piqued my interest) and before we knew it, we were discussing our plumbing saga. Company C offered to come to our home and use their camera--which typically costs about $300--to identify what the real problem was. They also gave us a free one-year plan that takes a percentage off any service.

As promised, company C showed up the next week with their camera and found our problem. Our main line. Part of it was a gonner. Let me explain: gonner is the word I use when I don't understand something super technical or involving repair and maintenance. Yep, basically it was a gonner and needed replaced. The man who came to our home said he'd be back that evening to bring a proposal and sit down with both of us. I couldn't help but think that couldn't mean good news. And it wasn't.

The first figure I saw on his sheet of paper was $15,000.

I. Nearly. Passed. Out.

After he took out his smelling salts and rubbed them under my nose (kidding), he showed us two additional options. Remember the line from Father of the Bride when Franck, the wedding planner says in his accent, "They'll take the chipper chicken?" (Cheaper chicken) Well, we ordered the chipper chicken of main line repair. If you're curious, it's a $4,000 dish.

Basically, they'll only be replacing the part of the main line that was bad. It will leave a bit of a dent in our front yard, which is fine by me. After all, spring is a great time to seed grass in our neck of the woods (trying to think positive, here!).

So this is what our front yard looks like right now. They'll be back in the morning with an inspector and once it's given the thumbs-up, the dirt will be placed back into the ground and we'll be good-to-go.

The saga of our plumbing issues is long, yes, but hopefully (fingers crossed) is over for the time being. Any time something doesn't go as planned for me, I try to think, "Okay, what did I learn from this?" Allow me to tell you: The joy and pride you feel when you own a home and you're able to paint your walls any color you like? Priceless. Actually owning the home you have the ability to paint your walls any color you like? calculator is smoking.

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