There is so much excitement behind buying your first home. I could not wait for a place of our own. I could not wait to stop throwing rent money away. I could not wait to feel at home. But you always have those people that bring down your excitement with “Oh you’re buying a home? You know the to-do list is never ending.” Or “Oh congrats! It is awesome, but you know it is a lot of up keep. I hope you and your husband are handy.”
Yes, yes, yes. I get it people! Stop trying to dull my excitement. To-do list? I LIVE for making lists and I would consider ourselves moderate on the “handy around the house” scale. So far, so good my friends! We have learned lessons these last nine months. One in particular, I thought I would share. First of all, it is (now) funny and secondly, it may save you some heartache around your casa.
Toilets should not gurgle.
It was 11:30 on Sunday night. We were sitting on our couch, watching TV and I was about to call it quits and go to bed.
“Did you hear that?” I SWORE I heard some weird sound coming from the hall bath. Maybe it was my imagination. We turned the TV down and sat still, just listening.
Okay. It was NOT my imagination. There is was again. I got up and went into CSI mode to check the crime scene. Huge bubbles, one at a time, coming up from the toilet. It smelt bad in there. I pulled back the shower curtain.
No. Seriously. POOP WATER coming UP out of our shower drain! It was filling the base of the tub. I wanted to vomit. No time for that! I quickly ran into our master bathroom. I had JUST finished our bathroom renovation earlier that afternoon. I mean we had not even used it yet! I flung the door open and almost died. Our HUGE soaking tub and walk-in shower were FULL of POOP WATER!!! I wish I could describe how terrible the smell was.
By this time, I hear Tyler yelling from the laundry room. Uh oh. He went to shut off the washing machine to keep more water from draining down and coming back up other places, but had found another not-so-pleasant surprise. See that drain pipe in the picture to the left? Yep, our tiny laundry room is actually stubbed for a sink…that is clearly NOT there.
Open pipe = big mess
Yes, more poop water coming up out of the pipe, onto our pretty hardwood floors and running out the door, across the kitchen and towards the fridge. By this time, the dogs were running wild and trying to see what was going on. I was trying to catch them, keep them from stepping in poop water and herd them outside. Tyler was trying to block the water from coming out of the pipe in the floor. I decide, at this point, to shut off the main water to the house, because we really had no idea what was happening. In hindsight, we clearly had an issue with the water leaving the house, not coming into the house….but I mean, I was doing anything I could think of to make it stop! Tyler was quickly trying to get the sewer water off our hardwoods to save them (which he DID! Woohoo!) and I went down to our (thankfully) unfinished basement to find the main water valve.
I turn the light on and I am not even kidding…it was literally RAINING poop water from the CEILING!!! Every spot where there was a drain location, the water was leaking and pouring from the ceiling.
How is this happening?
I really wish I could have gotten this on video. Me, screaming and running around. Tyler trying everything he can to stop it from spreading. The dogs, running around trying to get into the water and barking. We went from peacefully watching TV and getting ready for bed, to me getting rained on by poop water from our basement ceiling in about 53 seconds flat.
Thank GOD for smart husbands. As I was frantically putting any bucket, bowl and container under the leaks in our basement, he had gone in the garage and found the wet-dry vac. You never really know you need one of these until you NEED one of these. Like that one time when I accidentally left my convertible top down in a monsoon rainstorm. That was a NEED wet-dry vac situation as well.
He sucked out the sewer water from our soaking tub, the showers and around the laundry room pipe. I know it is totally and completely nasty, but it immediately caused the water to start draining the right way. The leaks from the basement ceiling stopped once the pressure around the drains decreased. Thank goodness. Now, just don’t let anything go down any drain. It was 11:30pm. A plumber would have to come in the morning.
Fast forward to Monday morning, the plumbers show up and immediately identify that this was an issue with our septic tank. My husband had to take down a huge chunk of our fence to get a Bobcat into the backyard. If you think your backyard is muddy, try digging up your septic tank in Georgia clay IN THE RAIN. We had some throw rug casualties over the next few weeks from the mud.
They opened the tank to find absolutely huge roots growing all through it. They guessed it had not been pumped in about 10 years. The previous owners had verbally said it was much more recently pumped, but we had nothing documented in writing to note that, so we couldn’t do anything about it.
I watched a man take a ladder, put it down inside our septic tank and CLIMB DOWN INTO IT. At this point, I didn’t care how much it was going to cost. He deserved EVERY penny. Just make poop water stop coming out of my ceiling.
This was the only real picture I took of the whole ordeal. I think I was too busy freaking out to stop and document it. And yes, that is Luna’s head at the bottom looking out at them. She barked at them the entire time they were here. I think she was just mad they could dig holes faster than she can.
I think we used an entire bottle of bleach to clean up the crime scene(s). Thankfully, all our pipes are draining the right way and the sewer water is gone.
I’m sure there are so many more lessons in home ownership coming our way, but for now, I leave you with…
LESSON ONE: Get your Septic Tank pumped immediately when moving in and go buy yourself a wet-dry vac for emergencies!