Whenever I feel a tad bit smug and full of myself, life jerks me back into reality. When I start to think easy street is just around the corner, things go to hell in a hand basket seemingly over night. And when I think I've said good-bye to my last contractor, handyman and service guy, and our home is perfectly clean again-- Well, s**t happens and I'm reminded of the joys of home ownership.
A while back, I lived in construction hell for what seemed like an eternity when we did major renovations on our home. Fortunately, our marriage survived and we lived to tell the story, but oh what a mess, oh the noise, and oh the strange men schlepping, hammering and drilling in my house way too early in the morning, for months on end.
We had a port-a-potty camped out in my front yard for so long I actually decorated it for holidays. And the big dumpster on my curb-- The one all my neighbors thought was placed for them to throw their crap in-- It changed so often that I actually started requesting color coordinated bins from the supplier to compliment the port-a-potty.
Have you ever had a port-a-potty in your yard during construction? It's absolutely shocking the number of people who stop to use it! Seriously, not just the contractors either! The FedEx guy, mailman, bike riders, joggers, dog walkers, strangers driving by with their kids, skateboarders, pizza delivery guys-- You name it, they peed it! One day, a total stranger actually knocked on my door and asked for a fresh roll of toilet paper. Swear to gawd!
But once construction was over-- the potty, dumpsters and workers all gone, life was good-- I mean really, really good. I brought in an industrial cleaning crew that sucked up every speck of drywall dust and dirt. They cleaned, scrubber, shined and sparkled my home to brand new perfection. I could breath again. Ahhhh.
That's about the time "smug" started to creep back in. I knew it was happening and I was getting too full of myself, but I just couldn't help it. I loved my "new" house and thought I was finished with workers messing things up for the rest of my happy life.
Three weeks ago, well after construction was complete, and the massive cleaning crew was long gone, I tempted fate and decided I needed just one more thing to complete our house-- A brand new Toto Toilet in our guest bathroom.
I always hated the old toilet because of it's lack of "flushability". But, when we were remodeling that bathroom, I didn't have another toilet in my budget, so we left the old one and made due. As I said in my Toto post, I'm a low maintenance kind of girl and already had enough "stuff" so I asked for the new toilet for my 51st birthday! I was a happy girl!
When my new Toto was installed, I swear I heard angels singing. It was perfect and always "got the job done" when flushed. I thought for sure, I would never have to live through any sort of construction hell ever again because, basically, I had an entirely new house!
As you might imagine, everybody loved my new Toto Toilet so much that it's the only toilet that seemed to get used in our home. And before I could say "Please don't squeeze the Charmin", you guessed it--
My Toto Toilet backed up. Big time!
Out came the plumber who, after more than an hour of "snaking", could not clear the clog. In came Boss Plumber with a "sewer camera". Long story short-- the bad news was the sewer line was broken. The good news was that only part of the house was affected, so we could use water "sparingly" during the repair, and not have to move into a hotel.
@#$%^&! This was going to be an expensive bill.
After much investigation, the Boss Plumber puts a huge "X" on our yard and another guy arrived to dig a hole 4 feet wide by 8 feet deep. He dug, and dug, and dug, but made little progress. Finally the digger announced we have very "hard dirt" and he'd be back the following day with a jack hammer and more diggers.
I knew immediately when the jack hammer arrived at 7:04AM because the noise nearly blasted me out of bed. The head-splitting pounding lasted for 7 straight hours. In the end, between the hole and the mountain of dirt, my beautiful yard was trashed. The diggers let me know they were done for the day, but the looks on their faces gave me pause. I figured their heads must have ached as much as mine.
Thirty minutes later, the Boss Plumber knocked on my door advising me the massive, just dug hole, was in the wrong place. They'd be back tomorrow to dig another one, just as big-- six feet to the left.
Again I said-- @#$%^&!
Next day, more jack hammering and another whale of a hole. The day after that, the plumber could actually repair the damaged pipe-- The 6" round, very old, ceramic pipe that's actually the City of Los Angeles' pipe and not even on my property, but still my responsibility to repair. And what a repair job it was since the plumber is not "allowed" to remove the City's ceramic pipe.
Boss Plumber explained that he was going to "blow a giant condom into my pipe" to make the repair. I was very tired by this point, and for some reason, at the mention of a "giant condom", I started to blush.
He explained a thick, shiny, black condom-like liner would go into the ceramic pipe to keep the roots out, and the pipe clean and secure. Boss Plumber then showed me the entire process through a sewer camera, a big gadget which I'm sure contributed to the hideous cost of this job.
It was interesting to see the damage through the sewer camera, which perhaps eased my mind a tiny bit, considering all the zeros required on the payment check. But Boss Plumber didn't stop there. Oh no, no, no.
When the job was complete, Boss Plumber insisted on "proving" to me that he actually put MY thick, shiny, black condom into MY sewer pipe. WTF? It never occurred to me that I could be watching a DVD of someone else's condom-lined sewer on his camera's screen.
You'll never guess what he did. Go ahead, guess. I'll wait.....
Boss Plumber used another expensive gadget to wrote my name inside the condom, in the sewer, while I watched on the sewer camera's screen!
But wait, there's more! He wrote my name every two feet on the condom for ten feet! Yes, not only did I have a ten foot long condom, it has my name on it five times for all the world, or at least sewer camera operators, to see! How many girls can say that? I can almost feel smugness creeping back in with that little ditty.
So now I have a beautiful new Toto Toilet AND a ten foot long, monogrammed, sewer condom!
What more could a girl ask for?
Welcome to The Fifty Factor - Joanna