Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Hole in the Ground

We realized last night that we were having plumbing problems. I was upstairs working playing on the computer, and doing laundry, and Nigel called up to me "The downstairs toilet is making a lot of noise."

"And not draining right."


Whenever the washing machine would drain, the downstairs toilet would bubble and burble.

So, this morning we called the plumber (Southwest Plumbing) and told them our tale of woe, and they came out a little before noon to fix it. Which involved snaking the drain via an access pipe that is in our front foundation bed. We used to wonder what that pipe sticking up out of the ground was for. It turns out that probably all of yesterday while I was doing laundry, soapy water was overflowing into the foundation bed. I was inside and didn't notice. The pipe was capped. No, the pipe used to be capped. When we went outside this morning with the plumber to check it out, the cap was on the ground beside the pipe, where the water welling up into the bed had forced it.

But snaking that pipe didn't help. The snake went backwards into the pipes under the house, in our crawlspace, which shook the house, instead of out toward the street, where the plug was.

So the plumber went into the crawlspace under the house, through a small munchkin-size door under our back porch. He had two snakes, one that was quite long, and another smaller one that was about 50 feet, which is long enough to get to the street from the front of our house. He couldn't fit the larger, longer one through the access door into the crawlspace. And it turned out the clean-out was, like, welded shut or something. So he had to install a new cleanout under the house in the crawlspace. And he snaked the pipes out to the street from there.

But it still didn't work. The pipes weren't draining. He needed to dig that access pipe up (the one in my foundation bed) and see where it went. And what was wrong with it. And why it wasn't draining.

That's how I ended up with a hole in the ground, surrounded by Caution tape.

And a big pile of dirt on tarps.

And dug-up shrubs.

And some buried perennials.

And some lovely lawn art painted on the grass. Fortunately, they all start with the word "No." As in "No PSE" (Puget Sound Energy) "No C.B.L." (City of Bonney Lake) Meaning it's ok to dig to China there.

Aren't they pretty colors? I like color in the garden, but I prefer that it come from flowers or foliage.

They're coming back tomorrow. And they're bringing a camera to stick down in the pipe.

Fun, fun, fun!


  1.'re blogging, I'd be crying...

  2. Years ago, we had a similar problem and the washer water would back up into the bathtub, yuck. It turned out to be the main pipe going to the street...roots had grown into the pipe, ugh. Hope it all turns out well. xo

  3. Oh Noooo! I think you need some crime scene tape!

  4. Good Luck! Plumbing problems are worst home shortfalls. Yep I had some issues with willow roots and septic pipes recently, I feel your pain.

  5. Oh no! I hope they are able to solve the problem and you still have a garden left.

  6. Having had a 30 foot by 50 foot hole dug in our front yard last year, I so feel your pain! It was like the earth emptied its stomach contents all over the garden. I hope the camera helps to diagnose the source of the problem. These things are almost the most frustrating when you don't know what's going on. Hopefully this will be resolved without the need for too much more digging. Graffiti in the garden is a look, but I understand why it wouldn't be the look you're really striving for ;)

  7. So sorry to see this, Alison! While I've had my share of plumbing issues, including needing a completely new (and separated from the dual-party) sewer, I never had the giant hole dug where it was an issue, garden-wise. Hope things go well today and that March finds you done, and putting it all back together again!

  8. OMG...I hope you get everything back in order...if that were me, I'd be a wreck...and absolute WRECK!

  9. Oh boy, what a bother.... I'm sorry you and your garden are having to deal with this!

  10. Oh Alison, we had sewer issues in Seaford and went through a lot of the same, including the digging up of my gardens. I hope they fixed it and you can get those plants back into the ground quickly.

  11. I sincerely hope that whatever the problem was, it has been swiftly sorted out and all the damage put back to right once more. I certainly know how annoying and disruptive happenings like these can be.

  12. Oh no, that sounds terrible. Sorry they had to dig up parts of your garden. Good thing your ground isn't frozen like ours is, that would have been way worse. Good luck getting the problem fixed.


  13. Oh-Em-Geee! I would be so upset. Plumbing issues are the worst...I live in fear that some horrible plumbing problem (worse than the upstairs bathroom issues) will befall me before Superman comes home for good! I wouldn't even know where to begin. Hope it is all fixed now...


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