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Mary was pacing the carpeted floor of the living room. She held her youngest son Miles to her chest. He was two and fussy, running a small fever. Last night he had thrown up twice, and Mary hadn’t been able to sleep. Her other son Daniel was four, sitting on the floor in front of the television, half watching a colorful and loud show for preschoolers, half of his attention put on banging two plastic Spider-Man toys together. Every few steps Mary would bend at the waist, ducking down a bit to look out of the window behind the couch, and out to the driveway.
Mary’s husband had gone in to work early, leaving before the Sun was fully up. Mary had been left to take care of the two kids. She had taken them downstairs, set them both in the living room and turned on the TV, then went to the kitchen to get breakfast together. She hadn’t noticed the wet floor until she was walking across it in her bare feet.
The white tiles were soaked with a thin layer of freezing water. She quickly found the source, the cabinet under the sink was wet, and when she pulled it open she could see a small crack in the pipe there. The pipe was slick with water and shining in the soft light squeezing in through the open cabinet. Her first move had been to tip toe across the water and grab a pack of foil wrapped toaster pastries for her sons to share. She went to the fridge and made two glasses of chocolate milk in sippy cups and then gave her children their breakfast before hurrying to the phone and calling her husband at work.
He was swamped, and annoyed when he took her call. He got even more surly when she told him what had happened. “Call a plumber,” he said in an exasperated tone. Then he hung up, and Mary was left to take care of the pipe.
She went into the living room and sat on the couch, watching as her two kids ate their breakfast and drank their milk. They had been arguing over what show to watch, but settled on a cartoon about a young boy who happened to be a pirate. Mary had her phone in her hand and brought up the internet, where she googled plumbers in her area. She had dialed one, and they had promised to send someone out quickly.
So there she was, holding her youngest son, pacing back and forth and waiting for the plumber to arrive. Finally he did, forty minutes after she had called. He drove a large white van, pulled it into the driveway, climbed out and headed for the front door. Mary pulled the door open before the guy had a chance to knock.
“Hi, I’m Tim,” he said, shaking hands with the woman. He was in his late thirties, tall and thin, wearing a large tool belt.
“Mary,” she said introducing herself. She turned and set her youngest next to his brother, and then led Tim to the kitchen. “I mopped it up, but it keeps leaking,” she explained as she stopped in the doorway while Tim kept on, stepping through the new puddle.
“No problem,” he said as he bent and opened the cabinet door. He peered underneath the sink and nodded his head. “I’ll cut off the water, and then I can get this fixed up in no time.”
Mary felt relieved. She didn’t know how hard it would be to fix the pipe, but it seemed like it wouldn’t be a big deal.
Tim turned off the water valve to the pipe, then stood at the sink and turned the faucet on so any water left in it would drain. Then he bent once more and ducked under the sink. He used a rag he kept stuffed in his back pocket to dry the pipe, then he hurried out to his van and brought in a small tub and a flat edged putty knife. He went under the sink once more, by this time having drawn an audience. Mary’s two sons stood in the doorway, watching the man work. They thought all of his tools hanging on his belt were neat.
Tim opened the tub to reveal epoxy. He used the putty knife to apply some of the epoxy to the pipe. Next he wrapped the area with the crack in rubber, using two clamps to hold it tightly in place. Tim let the epoxy dry, then used water proof tape to wrap the rubber for added protection. He stood from under the sink, went to turn on the water valve, and then tried the faucet in the sink. The water ran from the spigot
and down into the drain. Tim bent at his knees and made sure the pipe wasn’t going to leak again. It didn’t. He smiled and turned to see Mary with her sons in the doorway.
“You’re all set,” he said. “It wasn’t a bad leak, so I didn’t need to cut out the pipe, I just patched it up.”
“Oh you’re a life saver,” Mary said, going to get her purse. When she came back she was surprised to see Tim had taken the mop she had left against the wall and was mopping up the leaked water. “You don’t need to do that!” she said.
Tim waved her off. “It’s not a problem,” he said. “You have the kids to take care of.”
After he was done Mary wrote him a check, and then gave him a cash tip from her purse. Tim told her it was unnecessary, but when she insisted he took it and thanked her. He bent and gave a high five to both of the boys, then her left, leaving a very relieved stay at home mom behind him.
How a Great Plumber Saved the Birthday Party
When you’re raising two toddlers, life gets pretty hectic and is full of surprises that seem to occur at the most inopportune times. Although the kids give me great joy, I do have to admit they are a lot more challenging than I could have ever imagined. But all in all, we’ve been able to navigate the issues without too much drama.
However, I do recall an incident that happened when I was setting up for a big party celebrating my eldest child’s birthday, the smart and sassy one who shows a lot of love, while always getting into trouble. I had spent the entire week cooking and preparing everything for his birthday party to which we’d invited a lot of family members and of course, all his little friends.
The party was to begin at 2:00 PM on a Saturday so I got up really early to get all the decorations up before the guests arrived. I’d made sure I had enough time to do everything but then I suddenly heard an odd noise coming from the bathroom. I ran to the bathroom and saw that the toilet had overflowed, water was everywhere and my little boy was splashing in it for fun.
Apparently something had clogged the toilet and it just would not flush, and kept overflowing every time I tried. I was really pressed for time as it was so I cleaned up the mess as quickly as I could but knew our guests would need to use this bathroom so I had to figure out some way to unclog this toilet! It was clear that I needed a plumber.
I called one that I had used in the past but was worried he wouldn’t arrive in time to fix the problem , especially since it was a Saturday, of all days to have this happen! But as luck would have it he picked up the phone and said he’d leave immediately for our house. I should have realized I could count on him because he’d never let me down before, had a great reputation and did advertise himself as being available in emergencies.
The plumber was ringing my doorbell 20 minutes later. He’d brought his tools and as he entered the doorway he assured me he would take care of everything. I was so relieved. He went right to the bathroom and told me to just carry on with setting up for the party. My boys seemed happy to see him too, even if they didn’t quite understand what was going on. They sensed that I was in a much better mood.
Unclogging the Toilet
The plumber got busy fixing the toilet and afterwards explained to me what the problem was. Apparently, my little troublemaker decided to find out how much toilet paper he could cram down the toilet before he tried flushing it. He practically used up the entire roll before he tried flushing and it was all wadded up down in the drain so the toilet backed up.
The plumber told me that if this should ever happen again I should immediately shut off the water at the valve to stop the water overflowing. He showed me where the valve was right at the base of the toilet and it’s very easy to turn it on and off. Knowing boys, and especially mine, there is no guarantee this won’t happen again, no matter what I tell them.
The plumber went on to say that once I’ve turned the water off I should try using the plunger to loosen the blockage and hopefully dislodge it so the toilet will flush everything out into the sewer. He said that the water in the toilet bowl should be enough to force the blockage to dislodge. Once the toilet water has passed down the pipe then I could turn the water back on and try flushing it again. If the blockage has been completely removed it will flush normally.
But because my little boy had done such a good job the plumber had to get a snake from his truck and use that to dislodge the blockage. He was able to shove the snake down into the wad of toilet paper and push it through the pipe into the sewer system. Once he finished, he just turned the water back on and the toilet flushed normally.
It only took the plumber a few minutes to dislodge the blockage with the snake, so while he was there he inspected the toilet and discovered that the floating arm needed to be adjusted. I did recall that I could hear water running in the bathroom once in a while, but never really looked into it because everything seemed fine. In reality there was something wrong with the toilet.
He pointed out to me that the handle with the floating ball needed to be adjusted to prevent the water from running into the tank for no reason. Our water bill had gone up recently, so apparently this was why. I was really grateful that he found this problem and took care of the matter. He even showed me how to adjust it myself should this ever happens again.
Thankfully the Plumber Saved the Party
I am so thankful to my plumber for saving the day by unclogging the toilet and taking care of another problem within a span of just 15 minutes. He was friendly and nice and the charges were very reasonable. I hate to think of how things would have turned out if he hadn’t been able to get here so quickly! As it turned out I was ready for the birthday party in plenty of time and not one of our partygoers had any idea of what we had been through earlier in the day.
Before that morning I hadn’t given much thought to how important it is to know a good reliable plumber you can call in an emergency. I’m just so thankful I have one that really cares about his clients as well as the quality of his work. I really appreciate that he is willing to come out in an emergency on a day he’d probably rather be spending with his family.