New format.

This old house.

We had a major plumbing emergency in the kitchen this past weekend. As I watched my brother working on the problem, I was thrown back to a time when I saw my father doing a similar thing.

The kitchen sink has been draining slowly for a long time. As in years. We'd usually be able to get it flowing good. Sometimes we'd bring the garden hose inside, put the nozzle on high, and point it down the drain. That worked a lot. A couple times we have to take off the u-joint and actually clean it out. The worked at lot. But this time, nothing worked. It was a different sort of problem. Much bigger.

So my brother got his 25 foot "snake" and snaked the drain line, which is not actually lined up with the kitchen drain, from the roof of the house to as far as it would go. And go it did, all the way to where the pipe makes a 90 degree turn into wherever. My brother came down into the basement and checked the floor under the kitchen. Looking for some sort of inspiration, he called me over to get my opinion. I pointed to a place in the lead pipe where there was an oar handle sticking out. We both recalled when my dad drilled a small hole just above that 90 degree turn and snaked it clear from there. We decided the problem was on the outside.

So, my brother dug a two and half to three foot hole along side the outside of the foundation. There we found the problem. Actually, he found the problem as I was taking a nap nursing a massive headache. Anyway, that lead pipe was jointed to a tile pipe on the outside of the building. And guess what? That tile pipe was all caved in. An area about four inches wide and long was rotten. At least I hope it was just rotten and not chewed. Well, I don't even want to think about that.

So, he went out to Menards and got some plastic plumbing pipe. He cut a length of the plastic plumbing pipe about two feet long and made a slit lengthwise in it. Then he took the slitting plastic plumbing pipe and wrapped it around the wounded tile pipe, slit up, from the edge of the foundation to about a foot out. He then cemented the slit and rotated it so the slit was facing down. Then he cemented the end seams. He let the cement cure for a while. Then he filled the hole back in with the dirt he dug out.

In all honesty, I didn't watch the entire operation, so I'm just relating it as it was related to me.

Of course, my dad, in his wildest imagination would never have imagined that 30 plus years later his grown son would be performing such a major plumbing project in the same area as he did. But you know what? I think it'd be nice if there was a way to get those two men together and introduce them to each other. My brother turned 19 on the day my dad died. They never got to know each other as men.

ADT Home Security Systems came knocking at my door at 6:00 p.m. this evening. The guy's pitch was, if we let them put one of their home security signs in our front yard, we'll get a free home security system. Yeah, right. I didn't even open the front door, much less unlock it. The guy was a big black guy and his lower lip was pierced. He was probably about 30 and well-spoken. But I was home alone. Sorry, Charlie. Am I a bigot? I'd like to think not. I was just being cautious.

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L.M. Carnes 2002.

All content herein owned by L.M. Carnes unless otherwise noted.