The Summer of 2022 Taught Us Many Things…
I began writing this in September 2022, after the majority of these things had passed, but it was just too much for me to handle emotionally to finish writing this post. So, seven months later, I’m here to tell a story, which happened over the course of only SIX WEEKS. I’m still trying to keep learning the lessons I see in front of me. Old habits die hard, but life has a way of stretching us to the point of discomfort in order to teach us how to grow. It is up to us to take our life experiences and make the very most of each opportunity. I hope this post can share some useful nuggets of wisdom for all my readers.
In mid-August, our whole family got hit with covid. We had evaded it for years until someone at a youth group activity was a carrier from their infected family and coughed in my daughter’s face. It really is that contagious. Every day, another family member fell ill. Six of seven of our household caught it. (My husband and I were both fully vaccinated for our professions.) We missed an entire week of work. Even one of our cats caught it. Everything you hear about the difficulties of that illness is true. I hope we do not have to endure that again.
Right as the last stragglers were regaining our health, a home disaster struck.
At 5am on a Thursday, I woke to a giant belching sound simultaneously coming from both of the bathrooms, followed by noxious fumes flooding our 2000 sqft house.
Both toilets and both showers in my home spontaneously began backing up. Each had a violent reflux of fecal water and 50 years worth of sludge coming up from the drains. No amount of plunging saved us. It took 2 more days for my landlord to get a plumber over. The drains would partially slow-drain, but the stench and the sediment of nightmares lingered. The toilets lost their water pressure, but at least they flushed, sort of. It was a 50/50 chance whether their contents would come up the shower drains.
Everything my family of 7 did on a daily basis, from dish water or laundry water, to restroom contents, etc. now flooded my laundry room. It was the lowest point of the house, so the water had to go somewhere. I could hear it from the bathroom and kitchen sinks. I constantly prayed that it would not flow upwards. That would be my worst nightmare. (As if it weren’t already.)
When the plumber came in, he spent 3 hours with a very long plumbing snake and found nothing. Just nothing. Can you imagine the sound we had to deal with for three hours with an industrial wire roaring and banging in the pipes? It was a rough, deafening day. I don’t believe all that time was necessary, but he was on weekend on-call pay rates.
The plumber said the house didn’t have an emergency port access. (We found them a month later.) He said they would would come back 3 days later to dig a trench in my back yard. They would locate the blockage, remove it, and install an exterior relief system for the system, should there be any need for it in the future. We would not be allowed to send anything through the pipes until then.
Dishwashing? No. Showers? Nope. Laundry? Impossible. No flushing. No hand washing. No. Nope. NO. Nothing. FOR THREE MORE DAYS?! HOW IN THE HECK WERE WE SUPPOSED TO DO THAT?
In short, we were partially displaced from this disaster for six days total. We had no emergency savings at the time, because it had been spent during the two weeks prior while my entire family endured covid for the first time, and missed so much work. The landlord knocked $100 off our monthly rent, because he did not see this fully displacing us. He didn’t even cover emergency cleaning services- my husband and I did it ourselves for about $250 in extra cleaning supplies plus extensive labor.
Our washer and dryer were RUINED after sitting a full week in sewage. We lost so, so much, equivalent of many thousands.