View Full Version : My dad was right....

06-08-2007, 04:19 PM
dang it!

Back in the mid 80's, I started getting into this computer craze thing in college. Everyone swore up and down that to make money in the future, you need to get into computer programming...see prior to Bill Gates and the Windows OS....So I took several computer language/programming classes and hated them all - sucking at more than one of them.

My dad tells me one day, "Get out of that stuff. Everyone's doing it and the world's going to need more plumbers than computer programmers." He wasn't telling me to get into plumbing, but to find something else.

Flash forward to June 6th, 2007...so I thought it'd be cool to send a bunch of spaghetti down the garbage disposal instead of dumping it into my already overflowing trash can in the kitchen (I was cleaning the kitchen, duh!) I turn on the cold water, turn on the disposal and start dumping the s'gehti. Hmmmmmm, the disposal is chewing it up, but it seems to not be going down so well.....oh well. It'll be fine. No worries!

Jump to 11:00 am, June 8th, 2007. Wife comes in and says, "The sink is clogged. We need to get it unplugged so I can do dishes." (Tip to the unmarried - by "we", she means me!) Sigh. Get out the Liquid Plumber Gel and pour it down the sink and wait. And wait. And wait. Annnnnnnddddddd wait. Finally, about an hour later, I go back in and run water into the sink, and it's still clogged.

Sigh, again. Ok, so I clean out the cabinet under the sink - dozens of cleaning products that DON'T get used and other things that I have no idea what they're for - and I tear into the plumbing - disconnecting the trap, the extention line from the disposal, etc, all expecting to find a clump of spaghetti hiding in the trap. Nope, nothing. Clean as a whistle and actually, I'm a bit impressed, however this isn't getting rid of the clog.

BIG sigh. Tear into the back pipe, fully expecting nothing to be showing because that would be WAY too easy. And I was right. In the meantime, my wife is telling me what I'm doing wrong, and I'm trying very hard NOT to get upset with her and tell her to go to her mother's....I want to call the plumber but my wife (and my dad, who's visiting us, btw) say we should rent a snake first to save some money. This is crucial, my WIFE and DAD suggest this - remember this!

So, at 2:00, I head out to the local equipment rental store and rent a pipe snake from them for 24 bucks (for two hours.) Take it home, run it though the pipe 3 times and get into some major stinky crap. NEVER under-estimate what you think will be in your pipes - it's the most vile stuff you've ever seen and SMELLED. Put all the pipes back together and run water - and it starts backing up again.

Sigh crap sigh. Ok, so there went a waste of 24 bucks and the cost of my brand new leather work gloves - with all that vile crap all over them! So a friend of ours says, "Get this stuff from the hardware store called 'Big Nasty Drain Cleaner.' It works great!" So off we go to the hardware store - spend 17 bucks on plastic jug wrapped in plastic (which gets my radar going - what's up with this stuff?)

Get it home and it's Sulfuric Acid with warnings ALL OVER it saying, "Be careful! Don't let it get in the sink, don't let it splash on you, watch out for reaction with water and don't stand over the sink while you pour it," etc etc etc. Get the rubber finishing gloves out, and finally pour it down the sink, let it sit the recommended amount of time, pour the rest of it in, sit and then run cold water into the drain as instructed - and it's STILL clogged up!

SIGH sigh about to cry sigh - Ok, 4:00, Friday afternoon, youngest child has friends coming over to spend the night for her birthday party. Only NOW, we start noticing this majorly vile sewer odor coming FROM THE DRAINS in our house! Apparently, the chemical I used wasn't so much to unclog the drain, but to react with whatever is in it and make the nastiest smell in the house you can imagine! When I was in college, I worked in construction and was roofing a church once - and had to work around the sewer pipe on top - it was very much like that odor! Not a poo smell, nor a pee smell, but a sewer smell.

Now, I'm getting concerned thinking that this is dangerous. I mean, if the odor is backing into the house, we might get sick. As I said, it's 4:00, on Friday, and if there's anything you young guys learn, learn this...the service sector, ie electricians, bricklayers, concrete people and PLUMBERS all don't like working Friday afternoons. In fact, you're lucky to find ANYONE on a Friday afternoon to make an emergency run to the house!

Sure enough, we call our plumber and they JUST sent their last guy to unclog a washer and he PROBABLY won't make it today, but they can come Monday. MONDAY! I reminded the guy that our house was smelling like the City Lagoons, and he reminded me it was 4:00 on Friday. So, here we go - time to start calling EVERY plumber in the Yellow Pages.

We finally get one that says they may come today, or can come tomorrow. However, their normal charge is 75 bucks an hour (hour minimum) PLUS parts/chemicals, etc. That's on a FRIDAY - if they come on Saturday, it'll be more, of course. Sigh.

24 bucks for pipe snake rental
17+ tax for drain chemicals
75 + for plumber....who MAY or MAY NOT show up today.

Total (figure it up, I'm on vacation and this is way too much money to be spending on a blessed drain!)

6:15, no plumber, house is stinking, so we opened the house up (thank goodness for the cold front that went through last night - all of 77 degrees with a breeze, so at least we won't be hot while we stink!) Party is called off - wouldn't be good to get the little girls sick now, would it? Youngest daughter is understandably upset, and my wife is still getting on my nerves, reminding me we SHOULD have called earlier in the day....sigh sigh sigh..,.

What's this got to do with my dad being right? Plumbers get paid WAY too much money for never being available when you need them!

tl:dr??? Short version...

read the damn thing - it's a story and you don't need to be so fricking lazy! Kids these days! Sheesh....:rolleyes:

06-08-2007, 04:33 PM

Been there, paid that, listened to wife nag even though you did what she asked.

Good Luck!

Are you on a Septic system or city sewer?

06-08-2007, 04:33 PM
Yep, I know where you are. We had a pipe for our cooler freeze and break after a really cold night. Now, I live in AZ, so it's pretty rare for anything to freeze where I live. We called the AC company and they sent out someone to fix it. It cost around $150 to get a copper line replaced that we could of bought for $10 at the hardware store. The cost of labor is way too high.....

06-08-2007, 04:34 PM
Plumbers > computer programmers.

Steady work and they make a ton if they run there own business. Like you said $75 just to walk in the door. I work in industrial sales and have plumbers come in all the time. A lady at work had a problem at her house and a local plumber who is great friends with everybody at work went over to fix it. Was there for 1 hour 15 minutes. Labor fee = $138 as the lady got all the parts from our work at wholesale.

Yeah it's a good business lol.


06-08-2007, 04:42 PM
You also have to think about PC repairmen, though. They normally charge 90 dollars just to look at your computer. If it ends up being a simple spyware scan, you just paid 90 dollars for something you could have done in 10 minutes. Or, if they set up a wireless network for you..which for an experienced installer takes 10-15 minutes, that's 150 bucks pocketed. And nowhere NEAR the hassle a plumber has to deal with. I'd say each has their perks. ;)

But I do know what you're saying Vike, plumbers make a killing and it seems anytime you actually need them it falls on some sort of weekend or holiday that causes you to have to pay some ridiculous fee plus time and a half or double the cost..it definitely sucks. :p

06-08-2007, 04:46 PM
I'm telling ya, I've never seen a plumber take an hour to fix anything at my house, but they get that money anyways...while I know some about plumbing, the lack of doing it every day and the lack of required equipment makes it tough to do the work.

QAZ - I agree. It's funny how almost everyone you meet these days can do "something" along the lines of computers, yet they aren't making the money plumbers and electricians make. In a larger town, if you have a good reputation, there's guaranteed to be a market for you. Imagine this, you have 6 people working for you, what are they called? Journeymen? Anyway, they ALL bill at 75 bucks an hour, and they all work less than an hour and make say 3 calls in an hour. That's 225.00 PER HOUR per person. In one hour, this guy's made almost what I make in a MONTH. Of course, he's got other costs involved, but think about it. He can have those paid off in a day or two and the rest is profit. Yeah, I'm in the wrong business!

Strikefirst - we're on city sewer so I don't have to worry about that, except the blessed tree roots that grow into the line every year...which is another call to the plumber, lol!

06-08-2007, 05:31 PM
I say nothing as I am one of the aforementioned types that gets payed to do your dirty work for you. Trust me, we aren't payed enough for you people. You think a wife nagging a husband is bad, try a wife nagging a worker who's just trying to get home on a Friday night because she's paying him and he should have been done an hour ago even though he just got there. :dodgy:

Starting wage rate for an Apprentice Carpenter in the Union for my zone is $19.35/hr, with a 5% raise every 6 months. That's plus benefits. :D I don't remember plumbers' offhand, but they're a little less.

Journeymen are traditionally semi-experienced types in any trade, normally 4-5 years of background. Bit of history in that name too, comes from WAY back in the day of the Roman Carpenter. Back then, Apprentices were sent on JOURNEYS to other parts of the Empire to learn the trade. When they came back, they would be journeyed Carpenters, and thus, the birth of the Journeyman. :)

If you're getting sewer smell... I'd put money on the DWV system having a kink, or the sewage being blocked on the way to the main. Those two'd make sense for me.

06-08-2007, 05:52 PM
You know, the rate in my shop is currently $75/hr. After paying my technician (I only hire ASE Master Techs like myself), employee co payments like 401k, social security, health and etc, rent, insurance, equptment payments, etc....I often wish I was a plummer! :)
I fix anything and everything in my home....there has not been a outside repair in our home in years....
Vike, climb under the house, open up the clean out, and fix it dude!

06-08-2007, 06:01 PM
Don't get me wrong - I'm not complaining about the job they do or the people themselves. I, for one, have no room to talk about what a person gets paid for the job they do, though it'd be nice to make those kind of wages! When needed, they are definitely worth the hassle and do their jobs (hopefully) as well as any other professional and saves me a lot of time and hassle, usually!

So those two things you mentioned - the DWV system thingy - no clue on that, or the blockage on the way to the main, I'm hoping it's the second one. I swear though, I pumped 50 ft of snake into my pipes and all I accomplished, I believe, is to push the clog further back.

As far as not getting paid enough - I think every profession thinks that about themselves, though I have the fortunate opportunity to have seen most of them first hand either through working with them or having them onsite with me. I know there are things in my own chosen occupation that makes me wonder why the heck I decided to do this for as little money I make, and then there are others who think I'm overpaid... (See parents and loooonnnnggggg story from this year, lol!)

D - I forgot about those guys! Yeah, I don't think I'd EVER call someone to come in and set this stuff up for me. Good thing I know a LOT of people (in real life and online like you guys, lol!) that makes and computer issues I might have easier for me!

Jimmy - I'd love to do that, but we sit on a slab and I think all the pipes are IN the slab. Can't crawl under the house, or I'm sure I'd be there. Please don't be offended with what I said - I know you guys work hard and earn the money you make - that wasn't my intention at all. I was just trying to convey a humorous story!

06-08-2007, 06:01 PM
man that suck teh balls

06-08-2007, 06:12 PM
Man, I didn't mean to sound mad...and slabs make it tough...
Too bad you can't rent those roto rooter setups!
Hope your plummer shows up soon :)

06-08-2007, 06:38 PM
You didn't sound mad, just wanted to make sure people knew I wasn't implying anything other than relaying a good (or what I think was a good) story!

06-08-2007, 06:44 PM
i once charged 150 bucks to fix some1's comp... all i did was modify ms config , run a antivirus prog off of flashdrive linux to clear the virus, then cleaned it up with adaware. Note... if you use programs to clear viruses but dont want it too look to easy always have cmd up while the scan is running so that when they come in the room you can pretend like it's giving you a ton of information by changing directory (command: cd) to windows/system32 then directorying by page (dir /p)

06-08-2007, 07:39 PM
Vike, DWV is the ventilation system. Drainage, Waste, and Ventilation. Mebbe a suction effect, and the only way for air to escape and get in is through your water drains. :shrug: That one's a long shot.

Do you have a cleanout anywhere in your house? Sucks about the pipes in the pad, but they normally put cleanouts in them so you can get to the issue.

Claus.... what did you do to that computer? I couldn't understand a word of that gibberish after 150 bucks. :confused:

06-08-2007, 07:58 PM
Our cleanout is in the backyard - 5 inch pipe sticking out of the ground makes it pretty handy. The showers, toilets and wash machine (all in different parts of the house) flowed well and I could see the water draining through it. It has to be somewhere between the kitchen sink and the main sewer line, I think.

Last time I had a plumber over (New Year's Day a year ago) the plumber actually broke the cleanout with his snake...I never got a bill for that visit though so I think we came out even!

06-08-2007, 08:09 PM
have you tried pressureizing the line to blow out the clog? even if the non pressure rated pipe did blow at least you would know where the clog was

06-08-2007, 08:49 PM
No, because like I said before, the pipe is in the slab and would be a heck of a mess if that sprung a leak - tearing up floors and what-not...

06-08-2007, 09:07 PM
Tim wants to know if you have plunged it yet, he can't post because he is banned.

06-09-2007, 06:48 AM
Plunged like crazy! Started doing that when it first started getting plugged up. I haven't plunged it though since putting those chemicals down there....

Whew - woke up this morning and pee-yew! My wife and oldest daughter don't feel safe sleeping with the windows open (I grew up sleeping with the windows open all summer - go figure that times have changed so much...) so we had to close the back bedroom windows. Woke up this morning and that was the first thing I noticed.... Man, does it reek! I actually debated not brushing my teeth just so I could cover up the smell. http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v402/vikingshadow/smilies/puke.gif

That plumber better show up today!

Hob Hayward
06-09-2007, 07:07 AM
Man that sucks.

Somehow I have a feeling that the answer is going to be blatantly obvious in the end, but maybe not.

BTW, why did Tim get banned?

06-09-2007, 07:25 AM
We can rent roto rooter machines in michigan...30 bucks for 2 hours.

You would have thought a snake would have been ablw to do it.

Good Luck man!

Until then just dab a little cologne under your nose!

06-09-2007, 11:19 AM
Whooooo HOoooooooo! The plumber FINALLY came. We were getting worried, so my wife calls them again (I'm notorious for *****ing people out over the phone if they've commited to something and haven't followed through, so my wife said she'd handle the calling aspect of this service, hahaha!)

At 10:00, no plumber still, so we call them and they tell us they had a main break in a town about 20 miles away and wouldn't be able to come to our house today. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So, back to the yellow pages - first person we called is available and comes out within 15 muinutes - yahooo!!!!

He climbs on the roof and runs about 70 feet of snake down the line and sure enough, he gets it. Said I probably pushed it as far as the snake I had could go, which was about 20 feet too short. Guy was nice and helpful, and he ended up on our favorites list. Of course, this little call is going to cost me, but it's so nice to have our sink back and no odor!

Thus ends the next somewhat exciting chapter in the Vikingshadow saga - stay tuned for more, that I'm sure, will be coming soon, lol!

06-09-2007, 11:22 AM
yeah, that happened to me. my mom clogged the sink with noodles, and it took 4 weeks to unclog it and now our dishwasher doesn't work, so i have to do all the dishes by hand.

but yeah, i feel your pain....thank god i don't smell it!!! but all it took to unclog ours was a snake (i don't know why it took 4 weeks though)

06-09-2007, 07:14 PM
Claus.... what did you do to that computer? I couldn't understand a word of that gibberish after 150 bucks. :confused:
First I pressed f1 on startup and changed bios to have it boot from my flashdrive, which I had already loaded Knoppix onto. I used F-prot which is the best program to buy for anti-virus (its effective and less annoying than norton etc) and it's free on knoppix. I used that to delete all of the virus body. I rebooted windows, and ran Adaware off of a different flash drive, helping to remove all remaining viral problems. I opened command line and pretended like that helped me because all text makes people think it's complicated. I then changed the boot.ini file the system.ini file and the services file through run: msconfig, to help optimize their computer. I did a defrag and removed unused programs that they approved and then left about a gig of HDD as backup RAM (yes you can do this).

anyway I wrote all this before I realized he was banned. IM or PM me for 411.

Until then just dab a little cologne under your nose!
in an unrelated matter when my friend graduated from HS his aunt gave him this college gift pack that was loaded with everything from snacks to tide pens and febreeze and had some red zone body wash/ shampoo (ya! i know right!) in it. I told him he could be more economical with it by just wiping a pea sized blob under his nose and pretending like he doesn't smell rather than actually bathing.

06-09-2007, 08:22 PM
I prefer wearing the little cedar tree car thingy around my neck - not only do I smell like a pine forrest, but the moths stay away from me as well and I stay green all year round...

06-09-2007, 11:29 PM
Ah, I can understand that Claus! Your grammar is much better this time around; I can actually see what words go with what. :D

Haha, good to know that they got your plug undone so you can live without gas masks anymore! The sewage has a lot of methane gasses, which, as you know, are not pretty in the slightest for human health.