The Poop Water Is Bubbling Up (Plague, Day 117, July 1, 2020)

I didn’t notice it at first. In my morning, I went downstairs to the shared home office/guest room to work my way through the long list of chores for the day. When I stepped out of the room about twenty minutes later to use the tiny guest bathroom, I splashed.

I looked down. Water everywhere. Where did it come from? I looked up. It wasn’t the skylight. I hollered for Steve. Splash. He stepped into, too. WTF. After some investigative work, we realize that water was overflowing from the shower drain in that bathroom and the toilet. It was brown. Shit! Literally.

We called in the emergency plumbers, who explained that our main sewer was completely blocked up. They said that it probably hadn’t been snaked out, since the house was built about 60 years ago.

With the entire family in the house full time, things are breaking. Problems that lay under the surface for decades are becoming crises. And all the shit is coming to the surface.

I’m worried about the fall. Right now, people are distracted with summer vacations. Their unemployment checks are still coming through, so they can afford to watch their kids full time. The election seems far off. Joe Biden is too weak to draw the ire of Trump or the full attention of the media yet. The BLM protests have petered out, but those resentments are still raw. Schools and colleges haven’t made any commitments for the fall yet, so parents are pretending that everything will go to normal after Labor Day. The virus, which is spreading in cafes and bars across the country right now, is still invisible.

I figure we have a few weeks of grace before the pain hits. I’m worried about high unemployment, illness, social unrest, political upheaval (do we really think Trump will leave peacefully?). I’m worried that basic government functions, from policing to education to mail service, will stop working entirely. I’m worried about people losing their minds and behaving badly. I’m worried about the backed-up shit.

During this period of calm, I am rushing to get all my ducks in a line. Haircuts and dental appointments are first up. Upgrading Steve’s computer equipment must also happen; he doesn’t even have a camera for his old Dell computer, so can’t participate in zoom calls for work. We need to have backup plans for both boys, in case their school and college fail them. In a few weeks, I’ll restock the pantry.

I’m also working on doing repairs on the house. The common area outside our office, which was a dumping ground for yoga mats and drum sets, is going to get an unexpected overhaul. Thanks to insurance, we’ll get new flooring in there, new sheet rock and molding, and new furniture, once the remediation guys remove all their equipment and a contractor can get in there. The laundry room will get a face lift, too.

I suppose it’s sometimes good to have all the shit come out and clean out problems that have long been ignored. Being an optimist, as well as a neurotic, I hope that we end up building something better in the end.

32 thoughts on “The Poop Water Is Bubbling Up (Plague, Day 117, July 1, 2020)

  1. Yes yech. I thankful every day anything doesn’t break in our house.

    I am amused that you are going into pandemic prep mode again. I too have been returning to prep mode. In my case, I’ve been acquiring wipes & hand sanitizer (which are more important if people are going out).

    College kiddo has been looking for apartments, because living with us has gotten annoying (and, really only annoying, but we are pretty strict about isolating and I’ll admit I can be a bit arbitrary). She has a summer stipend, so can afford to pay. I’m not opposed, because that was the original plan for the summer and so am trying to suppress my worries, which run along the lines of, “but she needs us.”

    Like

  2. Yale has announced reopening plans with reduced capacity of students. Connecticut is pretty low on positivity (as are, now New York & New Jersey). Rhode Island announced quarantine plans for any state that has >5% positivity (everywhere in the South). The stat improves if more testing is done, so it reflects whether states are testing “enough”, in addition to their caseload.

    Like

    1. I am not hopeful about Rutgers. Everyone else has good news. My friends at the SUNY schools are going forward. My nieces are going to Villanova. But my poor kid might have to spend his fall semester with us.

      Like

      1. I think my niece at Purchase might be staying home (which she and my sister prefer), but my son might be going to Stony Brook. I’m not thrilled, tbh. Cornell is bringing everyone to campus hoping that their remoteness will help contain any outbreaks, but I am skeptical. Still, better that S is there than here. We get along much better when she is there.
        What’s really upsetting me though is that non-first-year students at Cornell still do not have financial aid packages or even tuition bills, and classes allegedly start September 2. Today is July 1. Gah.

        Like

      2. Wendy said, “What’s really upsetting me though is that non-first-year students at Cornell still do not have financial aid packages or even tuition bills, and classes allegedly start September 2. Today is July 1. Gah.”

        Wow. Isn’t this about the time that payments start needing to be made?

        Like

      3. “Wow. Isn’t this about the time that payments start needing to be made?”

        Yep. I really hate this uncertainty.

        Also, S and I need to have a long talk about how much money we have left for her college education (I predicted we would run out before her 8th semester) and what she plans to do about that, but I don’t want to start that discussion before we have actual numbers. I still remain hopeful that we will get some extra financial aid because I will have 2 kids in college this year.

        Like

  3. I’m worried about lots of things, but one thing that provides some reassurance is that my house is self-draining. As long as gravity works, I can have a leak but I can’t have any pooling.

    Like

      1. I’m not eager to try it, but I think that would back up into my garage, the lowest drain in the house, and then squelch its way out the front of the garage. The liquid should drain under the door.

        Like

  4. I am getting frustrated at the rhetoric at some universities that seems to presume that zero risk is required to open, for example, Susan Dynarski’s op ed which ends with “generate outsize risks for society and only modest benefits for students.” The dismissal of the benefit to students of a campus seems oversimplified. I feel like there’s a concerted push back being organized by faculty (and appearing in op-eds). Mind you, administrators did the same thing. I really want to people work together but that seems like a pipe dream.

    Like

    1. bj said,

      “I am getting frustrated at the rhetoric at some universities that seems to presume that zero risk is required to open, for example, Susan Dynarski’s op ed which ends with “generate outsize risks for society and only modest benefits for students.” The dismissal of the benefit to students of a campus seems oversimplified. I feel like there’s a concerted push back being organized by faculty (and appearing in op-eds). Mind you, administrators did the same thing. I really want to people work together but that seems like a pipe dream.”

      After a couple of real life experiments (including the high school get-together that turned out to involve a COVID kid), I fear that no matter how much colleges distance students in class or limit big official events, once students go back to their dorms or off-campus housing and are out of adult supervision, normal socializing is going to turn college life into a COVID bomb.

      I don’t want this to be true, but I think it is true.

      Husband and I were talking about this today, with husband noting that the risks are so low the young folk probably aren’t at all worried for themselves. I suggested that outdoor socializing should be encouraged and that the following threat/warning needs to be deployed by the colleges: IF YOU DON’T DISTANCE, YOU’RE ALL GOING HOME!

      Like

      1. Honestly think college students socializing (and not distancing) is unavoidable in anything but the short term. I think that will be the case whether they are in college or not. College can hope to limit big parties, maybe.

        I am thinking the harm reduction model involves encouraging students that age to bubble, meaning to find a group of people (less than 10) that they try to do most of their socializing with. Of course, if those bubbles interact with vectors who visit all of them, or just connect multiple bubbles, viral explosions might occur. But then, we count on the idea that the kids are not significantly harmed.

        There’s a natural consequence threat, because, if they don’t distance, and there is a covid explosion, they will all be going home. But my guess is that the threat that the school will suspend/expel/otherwise remove students won’t work.

        Yale plans to test students according to the article (like the armed forces and sports teams). Will that help?

        Like

      2. bj said, “Yale plans to test students according to the article (like the armed forces and sports teams). Will that help?”

        It’s a bit gross, but I keep hearing that monitoring sewage can provide an early warning.

        Like

  5. In MN our commuter community college appears to be setting up for some return to campus. Most classes will be online. My daughter’s NYC company pushed out the earliest return date to next January (it was Labor Day), so they’re staying in Lincoln, NE. My husband is working from home three or four days a week, and is finally enjoying our house out in the middle of nowhere without his 45/min each way commute. But our 26-year-old son living with us? Sinking. Not getting up in the mornings. It’s hard to see what the next month or six months might bring for him.

    Like

  6. Laura, just out of curiosity/naivety, what kind of insurance do you have that covers this? My insurance policy seems to assert that this problem would be the fault of the negligent homeowner who didn’t do maintenance on the home and would make me pay for everything. Is there a rider I can add?

    Like

    1. I have insurance for sewer lines through the electric company. It’s a couple dollars a month. Covers breaks, tree roots, clogs, from the house to the middle of the street. I got it after a neighbor spent about $15 k due to tree roots.

      Like

    2. Hey! We have Geico. I thought they were going to cover the plumbing, but they aren’t. So, $700 is on us, plus the $1,000 deductible. But this is going to be a big job. We had some cheap linoleum down there with lots of cracks. The poop water got under it. So, the water remediation guys have to pull it all up tomorrow. The replacement floor alone is going to cost $5K, I’m sure. Then there’s the walls and paint. Furniture and rugs. I bet this will cost about $15K, when it’s all said and done.

      Steve said there’s no special rider, just the basic policy.

      Like

      1. “Basic” is probably going to vary by state. I don’t think we’d be covered if that happened to us. But I’m not going to check because I don’t even remember where the paperwork is.

        Like

  7. I am so grossed out by your poop flood. 😦 I am so sorry. On the other hand, thanks to my geriatric dog, my living room carpet smells like dog urine, so I am in my own sort of hell. (At this point, we’re just waiting till she dies to replace the carpet or (my preference) get hardwoods or some sort of carpet alternative.) (Also, she is blowing coat like a mofo, and I am sweeping up massive amounts of fur every day.)

    Like

  8. William and Mary is going to attempt to re-open. It is on the smaller side, so maybe it is easier for it to have a viable socially distant game plan. There remains some pushback from sectors of the community. The Facebook parents group has become ugly.

    Like

  9. We just added a sewer line rider for to our homeowners. I have never heard of anyone doing maintenance to their sewer lines. It is not uncommon in our neighborhood of 50-year old homes for there to be failures.

    Like

    1. This is a plan being floated at a number of U’s where the residential experience is supposed to be their thing. Dartmouth is saying students will be “invited back” for 2 of their 4 terms. Bowdoin is also bringing back a subset of students.

      Like

  10. Ugh, I am sorry about your flood, I’ve experienced those and they are awful. I bet the new basement will be great though!

    Like

Comments are closed.