I thought I was doing so well. I've been remembering to make all my phone calls this week, and mostly responsible about the repair people. First, I finally got around to signing the contract with the roof re-sealing folks and getting in their queue. As I had hoped, they fit us in before our housewarming party. They showed up on Monday and took the better part of the day. Now our roof is bright, shiny silver, and the porch roof as well. No more rusted-looking shingles or layers of flaking paint and sealant, and I hope both roofs will endure for many years to come. For some reason they also decided to seal our chimney (I didn't ask them to do that, or not to - never crossed my mind), so now that has gone from brick red to shiny silver as well. Guess you can't win 'em all.
The refrigerator repair guy came out the same day. He said that the grinding noise in the freezer is because the bearings on the chiller motor are wearing out. He will be replacing the motor. This is covered by our home warranty (we paid a $100 service fee for him to come out. First, I priced what a technician would cost to repair the motor if not covered by warranty, and it was a bit more).
Then yesterday the plumber finally came to snake out the downstairs drains. First I bought a $25 auger at the big orange store and tried to do it myself, but after I got 10-15 feet into the drains (I took off the p-trap in the sink and everything. Even remembered to put a bucket under it first. So competent!) I was no longer strong enough to shove any more in, and I clearly hadn't hit a clog (the nose of the auger was clean). So we called the plumber, also covered by the home warranty folks.
[Well, only if you have a ground-level drain cleanout, which we don't. So they were going to make me pay for all of it, after they told me it would be covered and said NOTHING about the cleanout. Through badgering, I persuaded them that if I paid the plumber to remove and reset the toilet ($175), we would effectively have a ground-level drain cleanout, and so they should cover the snaking from that point ($350). I note that if I had known about this tidbit beforehand, I could have removed the toilet myself, and reset it for $1.50 in new wax ring costs. I am proud that I can now confidently say that I am competent to remove and replace a toilet. Not that it helped in this case.]
I was extremely pleased with myself, but I quickly got a frantic email from my sister, who graciously let the plumber in: "Bad news. Call right away." He had confidently said it would be 30 minutes to do the snaking and set his (motorized. This makes me feel better about my useless little T-Rex arms and my little manual auger) auger to work. But instead of hitting a clog, after many feet of auger (such that the auger nose was in the sewage pipe under the front yard), he hit...tree roots. Lots of them. This is the mother of all bad augering news, though I note that the daddy of all bad augering news is "the pipes under your house are crushed and we have to dig through your concrete basement floor to access them. They also appear to be leaking sewage under your foundation and undermining the structure of the house." This has never happened to me, and I hope it never does, or to you either.
So today I talked to the ueber-plumber and he gave me several estimates, depending on how thorough a replacement we want and how deeply our pipes are buried. It can't be done before our party (Saturday), as it takes a day and a half to do the work, and probably involves some logistical preparation; among other things, it may result in a backhoe on my front lawn. Which is on a very busy road, by the by. And I need to get two more estimates anyway (I already have some names, which is more progress than it sounds like - finding a company that will even offer an estimate for the type of work I want has proved to be a headache several times so far). So we are deciding whether the slow draining is too much of a disaster to hold the party. And the ueber-plumber is visiting tomorrow to get all the details and provide an official proposal.
If you (especially my prayer buddy) could say a prayer for our party (no plumbing disasters, please God!) and for the cost of the repair to be as low as it can be and the repair to go smoothly and be completely successful, with no collateral damage, I would appreciate that, truly I would. I think St. Joseph has a soft spot for my house (I suspect he found it for me), so maybe he would help. I know...there are more important intentions in blogland...my general intention is for my marriage, which is probably more important than my plumbing (in the literal or figurative sense, really). But this is weighing on my mind.
Post on the staircase soon, I promise :).