(No, not that kind of snake. I’d be typing from another state, thank you very much. I can handle reptiles as long as they don’t take me by surprise. Take note, creatures. Please. Take GOOD notes.)
Nope, this post is dedicated to Joey, from Joe’s Triple A, and his wonder snake.
(Nope, not that kind of snake, either. Where is your head? This is a F-A-M-I-L-Y blog.) 😀
A few weeks ago, darling, put-him-in-my-pocket-because-he’s-so-cute Joey went to RivertonMotors to look into buying a truck or van (I forget) for his business. (I can’t even remember if he actually bought anything. I just remember the enthusiastic phone call I got from Kenny after they met, about the ridiculously low price quote darling Joey gave him. I know. Priorities.)
(Kenny meets all sorts of wonderful people at work, in all sorts of wonderful careers, and it turns out that when you get someone a really great deal on a new car, they like to reciprocate. It’s especially helpful when their chosen profession fits into the home improvement spectrum, because we all know how much work our home needs.)
So while Joey and Kenny were chatting about automobiles, Kenny happened to mention that the drain in the laundry room kept backing up. Initially, it was just a small ring of water around the drain, but over the course of months it continued to grow in size until it was a massive puddle of bubbles and lint every time I did a load of laundry. It always drained itself after the rinse cycle was over, but the disgusting, linty mess left behind was starting to get on my nerves. (And on my feet. Icky!)
He also mentioned that in the four years we’ve lived here, the downstairs toilet has never flushed properly. Oh, it swirls and swirls, and water comes right up to the edge of the toilet, causing the user much alarm and frantic plunging (ha ha, doesn’t work!) before the swirling stops and the water settles, but nothing actually goes down. Joey said that was an easy fix, one Kenny could do in a matter of minutes, and then he told him step-by-step what to do.
(I’d like to take a minute to point out that, while Kenny feels like I share our secrets with the world– I WISH I had that readership!– on my blog, he does the same thing at the dealership. I would also like to point out that he will probably never meet the vast majority of my readers, and those few who know him in person already KNOW what he’s like, so he’s relatively safe. He, on the other hand, tells his customers amusing stories about our family life and then invites them over to our house. Where they come. To fix drains and toilets. And landscape. And install attic fans. And secretly laugh at us because they KNOW stuff.)
Anyway, back to adorable Joey…
Last night I put a small batch of the girls’ underwear and socks in the washer. I turned the load level to SMALL and went upstairs to cook dinner. When I ran downstairs for a can of green beans, imagine my surprise when I had to practically swim the two-foot distance from the hallway to the washing machine. Water was everywhere. It had backed up in a ten-foot radius around the drain, which meant there was water under the washer AND the dryer, the soft water system, the cupboards, the water heater and the carpet. I ran into the bathroom to grab the toilet plunger, hoping that would help move the water down the drain. I splashed (it was ankle-deep, people!) to the drain, but I had trouble finding it because there were so many soap bubbles. I hit them out of the way with the plunger, and after a few good pumps, the water finally started to recede.
I came upstairs, dripping and slimy (ew and eeeeeww!), and told Kenny he needed to call his plumber friend, because no more clothes were getting washed until I was sure I wouldn’t have to bail out the laundry room with Anthony’s sand pail. After some frantic searching for his card, he called Joe’s at 6:30 PM. They promised to send someone the next morning, by 10:00 AM.
Kenny left for work this morning and told me he hoped I would get to meet Joey. He described a “kid” (Kenny-speak for anyone younger than 30, which is funny, because he’s only 38 ) with dark hair and a goatee. Oh, and he said he was small. As in, short. (Which is also funny, because it turns out that Joey and Kenny are about the same height.)
When I opened the door to our mystery plumber, I saw a 24-ish pair of dimples with brown eyes, perfect teeth and a goatee. It was all I could do to refrain from alternately hugging him, patting him on the head and pinching his cheeks. Joey. Adorable. I wanted to bake him some cookies. (I am a little weirded out that at 33, my inner grandmother is coming out. What is that all about?)
So Joey goes downstairs, does a little investigating, goes out to his truck, and comes back with a heavy-duty red metal thingy and a bucket full of plumbing stuff (that’s as technical as I can get). We tolerate a few minutes of horrific metal-on-metal screeching, I hear the washer start up, and Joey is done. My drain is clean, there is no more swimming pool on my laundry room floor, and I am fighting the urge to kiss Joey’s cheeks. He goes out to his truck to put everything away, and comes back with the bill. “Hey,” he says. “Did Kenny fix your toilet? Because I can take a look at it, if you want me to.”
(Let me just break here to say that two days ago, I walked into the downstairs bathroom to put something in the garbage, and nearly threw up from the crud that had overtaken the toilet. We don’t use that bathroom at all, only SOMEBODY had. Angry with the stupid toilet for being worthless, I held the handle down in protest, and can you believe it? IT FLUSHED! As soon as the water drained out, I grabbed for the bottle of Lysol toilet cleaner and gave the toilet a thorough soaking. A day later, I scrubbed it out, and then one day after THAT, Joey had to stick his hand in it. THANK GOODNESS I had to throw something away two days ago, because he would have run screaming from our home had he seen the toilet in its original state.)
I replied that Kenny had not, in fact, fixed out toilet, and by the time he got around to it, he’d be dead.
So Joey stuck his hand in our (clean!) toilet and did some scraping at the hard water and chemical buildup. I’m not even sure what he did, and I’m not sure I want to find out. Let me just say, he washed his hands REALLY well. In less than five minutes, we had a toilet that flushed. AFTER FOUR YEARS, we have a bathroom that the kids can use while they’re playing downstairs. I don’t have to run up the stairs while folding clothes to relieve my post-baby(ies) bladder, which is always tricky and somewhat of a game of chance. (Will she make it? Oh no, I’m afraid there were too many stairs. It looks like she’ll be changing part of her outfit today. What a shame. She was thisclose!) I’m not even kidding here– I flushed the toilet six or seven times in a row, and marveled in the beauty of each complete flush.
Wiping away a tear, I walked up the stairs to write a check for darling Joey, who laughed off my apology at having to stick his arm in my toilet. He told me that it wasn’t even that gross, and there were several homes that were so bad, he had to tell them there was nothing he could do for them, because there was no way he was sticking his arm in their toilets. (Yeah, that would’ve been mine, two days ago.) He charged me $89 to snake my laundry room drain, and $0 to fix my toilet. I paid him $100 and tried desperately to refrain from kissing his forehead and giving him a gentle noogie. Had I been cooking meatballs (a la Wedding Singer), his pockets would have been full of them. I’m just saying…
I think we both got EXCELLENT deals. (Poor kid… he had no idea just how lucky he was to escape. He could have been my Bugs Bunny, and I could have been his abominable snowman.)
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a toilet to flush, some laundry to do, and a two-year-old to console. “No more bubbles? But I LIKE the bubbles! It’s FUNNY when they come up.”
Who’d’ve thought that a snake could make a girl so happy and a boy so sad?