Thursday, January 12, 2012

Nothing like a little house emergency...

...to interrupt the House Tour! Today was supposed to mark part 2 of my House Tour (sidenote: thank you ALL for your kind comments on Part 1!). Instead of Part 2, I'm going to let you in on a little adventure we had this week...

It all started on the weekend when we noticed a weird smell in the basement. And by weird, I mean sewage. eww.  We were scared by the sudden sewage smell. So, we poured some bleach down the tub drain, opened a window, checked in an hour, and no smell. We high fived and called it a day.

Then on Monday the smell was back. With a vengeance.  And on Tuesday it was even worse. 
3-18-smelly.jpg
We WISH we had a mask like that... (image via). Disclaimer - this is NOT the Mr.

What was it? A collapsed pipe? A tree root interfering with the sewer? A toilet malfunction? A dead animal? We started playing detective and looked at the options - and we did see a piece of concrete behind the tub that looked suspiciously like a mouse...from 4 feet away with a flashlight...what of it. The Mr. *may* have called me Watson when I "discovered" that, only to take it back after he fished the piece of concrete out with a 6 foot piece of trim we had lying around the basement (you use the tools you have, right??). Good news: no mouse.

So, moving on...our basement bathroom is...suspect. We've never had a lot of faith that it was done properly, so that was the main area we were considering as a source of the smell. We did a few extra flushes of the toilet (we never use the basement so thought maybe there was a dry drain and that was causing a smell), and then went to bed.

Wednesday morning the Mr. went downstairs, shouted an expletive and when I saw his face I was 88% sure he was going to ralph because of the smell (he didn't. Phew). It was downright nasty...hard to stay in the room...anyways, he had discovered water. Stinky stinky stinky water, backing up from the drain in our cold storage room. So, in his shirt and tie, the Mr. cleaned up the disgusting water and then we both headed to work. The Mr. played the Google card and found out that the city would come and assess the problem, and if it was a problem on city property they would fix it. Otherwise, they would tell you what the problem on your property is and you would be on the hook to get a plumber in to fix it. Win-Win, right?  It's a 24/7 emergency service so as soon as you call you're put in a queue for service. I called when I got home from work last night around 7 and we had someone here at 8 (thank you City of Toronto!). The guy was fantastic, plunged our clean-out in the garden and said that it had been blocked for "some time". Great. We were really thankful though - helpful, friendly and speedy (oh, and did i mention FREE) service from the city. Property taxes put to good use (for real)!

So, we came back into the house all smug, and I said - I think we should check the drain downstairs - since nice-city-water-guy was plunging there may be some water. So, we go downstairs, open the cold storage door and get assaulted by a smell to end all smells. EWWWW.  We look at the drain and there is a fair bit of "stuff" (i'll leave that to your imagination) around the drain. The Mr, being the fantastic husband he is, offered to clean it up. Since we didn't have any masks, he tied a tshirt around his face to keep from fainting and/or puking (pretty hilarious actually), and went to work.

In the cleanup, he found what was blocking the drain. What do you think it could have been?

You get one hint:
If you guessed a T-SHIRT and  GOLF BALL, it's your lucky day!!

A what, you ask?? Yes, I did say a T-SHIRT and a GOLF BALL.

{insert bewildered look here}

What?!? This means the drain has been blocked for a LONG time...since we surely can't imagine a time when those items would have gotten flushed (our parties are NOT that crazy) since we took possession 2 years ago.

The good news is we think it's fixed. And the problem shouldn't occur again...unless, you know, we end up using our toilet for chipping practice.

That's the long story of why part 2 of the House Tour is delayed. I hope you understand...in summary, here are the lessons we learned:

Lesson 1: If you smell sewage in your house, it usually means sewage or a blocked drain, not some mystery problem caused by a block of concrete that looks like a mouse.
Lesson 2: The city of Toronto offers valuable services via 3-1-1.
Lesson 3: Always, always keep masks on hand...

16 comments:

Pine Tree Home said...

Hahah, what a story! Come on, you know you secretly are learning to play golf and were hiding the evidence.

Shannon said...

Ha! Craziness! Don't you wish you could capture the smell for all of us?! Gag! Glad it wasn't a costly problem.
Shannon

Nicole said...

Lesson 4: Never assume the people who owned your house before you had any common sense. In my parents previous house the drain in the basement floor backed up in a storm once. It was so bad they needed to call a plumber in the middle of the night. He found a coffee mug with no handle and a whole bunch of golf balls. We think they used it for putting practice and the coffee cup was meant to catch the balls but at some point it slid down the pipe and took the balls with it. Glad your adventure didn't need a middle of the night (expensive) plumber visit!

Kim@Chattafabulous said...

Oh gross. Glad we dont have smell-o-vison on our computers. Looking forward to Part 2 of your tour!

amy walters said...

Oh my goodness Heather!! What a week. Sooooo relieved for you and the Mr. that this is resolved!

Jennifer said...

I had to laugh (sorry Heather) and I could just imagine the look on my brother's face. Glad you figured out what it was. Hope it doesn't happen again.

Courtney Lane - Blog said...

Lol! What a crazy story. Glad it's all fixed now!

Alena: Oh, It's Just Perfect! said...

Oh no!!! Eeek. I feel queasy just thinking about the smell. Glad you got it figured it!!

Danielle said...

o.m.g. Glad this wasn't an expensive fix for you! This happened to us too - and I can smell it now...

Looking forward to your regularly scheduled programming tomorrow!

Michelle @ AM Dolce Vita said...

Sorry to hear such an ordeal! The picture of the stuff you took out of your sewage is horrific...who could ever flush such things down? Glad that 311 program is helpful and the problem gets resolved. I guess you will add Febreze to your shopping list right? :-)

InteriorGroupie said...

ha! I cannot believe that - a coffee mug!?! now that's shocking. Glad that we didn't need an expensive plumber either!

InteriorGroupie said...

haha I KNOW! I must have asked myself that question a million times by now.

Michelle (@The236) said...

The same thing happened to my brother when he bought his house. On the day he was moving in, he noticed a stain on the basement carpet. He touched the spot with his foot and it went through the sub-floor, exposing a disgusting, stinky "mess" under the floor. Yep....the sewer drain backed up and filled the space between the concrete floor and sub-floor with...well, you know. That was Father's Day. My poor Dad and brother had to clean it up. Just awful. Turns out the previous owner knew about this issue and did not disclose it. Crappy!

Glad the city was able to help you and that you found the source of the problem! Love it when our property taxes are put to work in our favour! :)

Daisy said...

At first I thought it was a joke! I can't belive that was seriously in there, glad it was fixed :)

nutrendmedia said...

A blocked drain can be a nightmare. Blocked drains, in particular blocked sewage pipes are annoying, unhygienic and often messy. If you find a blocked drain on your property make sure you have a licensed plumber attend to it immediately.

24 hour plumber

jonesalbert said...

The problem of blocked drains can become a very frustrating and irritating one especially if it happens during the night and you are not able to attend to it immediately. It is not always easy to find an emergency plumber and it does not matter, whether you are in Sydney.

Blocked Drain Sydney

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