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Every year, sometime between September and December, I have to call a plumber to come snake my washer drain. I used to resent spending the hundred bucks to clean out my drain line, but I get pretty damned tired of wet socks, and having the washer spin it’s water all over the laundry room floor is not an event I appreciate all that much. So, when Oldest Son told me Thursday night that the washer had backed up a wee bit when he washed his jeans, I made a mental note to make the annual call the next morning so I could get my line cleared out before the holiday weekend.

Well, they sent the same 15-bricks-shy-of-a-load guy that they sent last year, but I figured, “No problem, he’s just gotta get the ball of lint or whatever it is built up in there out…he did it last year, he can do it again.”

Have you noticed that I am overly optimistic by nature?

Dude comes knockin’ at the front door when he was done, and since I was on a conference call, I just waved him in and held up the check I had written for him so he could be on his way. He motioned that he didn’t want the check and needed to talk to me. Great. So, I told the peeps on the conference call to hang tight a few minutes while I talked to him.

He proceeds to tell me that he was not only unable to clear my drain line, but that I must have a collapsed pipe under the house somewhere because his snake came back with mud on the end of it. He was going to have to call the office and have them send out a different guy, probably Tuesday, since Monday is Labor Day.

I sent him on his way, finished up the conference call and called the office myself. Given that I’d talked to Sara (the office manager) several times already trying to work out the logistics of getting someone here on the Friday before a holiday weekend, she already knew that I was not going to be happy to wait ’til Tuesday, so she sent her ‘best plumber’ over right away.

Mr. Best Plumber arrived, and to be fair, he was really nice, really knowledgeable, and really patient with my endless questions. His prognosis was not so nice: “Uh, well, ma’am…if you’ve got a collapsed line under there, I’d really recommend we just bypass it and run a new line over here to your sewer main. We can redirect your sink drain while we’re at it, since both your washer drain line and your sink drain line run under your deck, and I’m pretty sure you don’t want us tearing that up, right? Right…well, to divert the two lines, you’re looking at $1,700.”


After I exhaust him with all the questions I can possibly think of – all directed toward avoiding spending $1,700 – I thank him, take my copy of his written estimate and send him on his way.

Plumber dude needs to put the crack pipe down if he thinks I’m gonna cough up $1,700 to avoid wet socks. Especially on the word of Mr. 15-Bricks-Shy-of-a-Load who assumes I’ve got a collapsed line, but doesn’t know for sure.

Uhhh…no. I may be female and I may not be an expert in plumbing, but let me tell you what – I’ll duct tape the 27 ft. vacuum hose from the pool to the drain hose on my washer and run that sucker out my kitchen window and down to the access cap for my sewer main before I’ll cop a case of the “Okie Doke” and shell out $1,700 on a “maybe” collapsed pipe. Who do these jokers think they’re dealing with, anyway??!!

But before I even go hillbilly like that, I have other resources available to me that I’ll tap first. Like Baby Sis’ super-handy, Master Electrician, Knows-Something-About-Every-Damned-Thing-Imaginable hubby, for one.

After talking with him last night, I’m off to Wal-Mart to buy a Shop-Vac to implement his first idea, just as soon as my kids return with my car.

Stay tuned…