I am constantly impressed by my roommates.

Monday morning, our plumbing backed up.  When my roommates’ dad bought this house last August, the basement wasn’t finished; in fact, it was a damp mildewy mess, with some walls made of mdf-ish wood, some made of just wood paneling, with a drop ceiling, a thin wet carpet, and just altogether gross.  The plan was to finish the basement and put a full bathroom into it, so that the basement could become my bedroom.

They did that, working every weekend for a couple months, and the result is amazing.  They conquered this basement and I love living in it.  But while working on installing the bathroom, they discovered that the plumbing in the house was done all wrong.  Instead of the main sewage pipe sloping down 1 inch every 4 feet, it’s nearly level through the whole basement floor.  Which means that... um... the stuff doesn’t drain so well.

Which wasn’t a huge deal, until they put this shower in down here.  Because now when stuff backs up, the lowest opening in the system is the drain in my shower -- as opposed to the sinks on the first floor, which would never be in danger because any back-up would never climb an entire story.

So, Monday, it backed up, and there was about a half-inch of yucky water in the bottom of my shower.  Not really nasty gross yuckiness, but pretty gross, and it did smell.  So plan A was to get a plunger and try to force the obstruction through the pipe and out where it belongs.  Plan A didn’t work.  So Konstantin went out and got a sewer tape (sometimes called a sewer snake), opened the clean-out on the main sewer pipe (which is in my closet, incidentally), and started running the tape into there.  In case you don’t know (as I didn’t), a sewer tape is a flat, stiff band of metal, about a half-inch wide and 25 or 30 or 40 feet long, rolled up into a circle.  The end of it is much like the end of a fancy arrow, like a four-pointed 3D triangle.  So when your stuff gets clogged, you feed this tape into the pipe and hope that it breaks through the obstruction enough that you can flush it away with a toilet.

That took a decent amount of effort on Konstantin’s part, and after about 15 minutes of battle, he prevailed.  And I spent the next 2 hours cleaning my bathroom.

I think I’m a fairly handy person.  My dad is a roofing / siding / window contractor, and he’s one of those people who can build and fix just about anything... and I have learned a lot from him growing up, both around the house, and working with him during the summers for a couple years.  But we’ve never had any plumbing problems at my house that I can recall, so I don’t have much experience there.  And Konstantin and Dimitry spent 5 years (re)building their entire house with their dad, literally 5 years, every day after school and on weekends.  And then they did a lot of re-doing on this house here.  Between the two of them, if there’s a problem they can’t solve, I’ve yet to see it.

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