Saturday, December 31, 2022

The Rebellion of the Pipes

I am starting to get a little stir-crazy sitting around this house. I considered walking the Thames Path yesterday and I wound up not going because rain was expected -- but as it turned out the rain was light and I should have just done it. So it goes.

Instead I took Olga for a walk through the neighborhood. We walked a long loop through the Maygrove Peace Park and back along Mill Lane and West End Green (above). You can see our two neighborhood Christmas trees in that photo -- one in the park and one just beyond it on the high street. Also, una paloma blanca!

Here's Olga trudging through that weird cage that surrounds the path known as Wayne Kirkum Way along the railroad tracks. I don't know whether the cage is meant to protect pedestrians from passing trains or vice versa. Probably both. It's like descending into Dante's Inferno in a giant shopping cart.

We are experiencing more domestic drama. Yesterday, very suddenly, our kitchen sink stopped draining. It worked fine when I made coffee in the morning, but around 11 a.m. I found it completely plugged. As an experiment I ran a load of laundry to see if the washing machine is also affected and yes, it is, as I learned when water poured onto the kitchen floor through the backed-up drainpipe. That means the dishwasher won't drain either.

So after cleaning all that up, I called British Gas, because our landlords have BG home protection coverage which includes the drains. They were unable to book a repair and kept saying they'd call me back. They said this multiple times and never did. Meanwhile we tried a plunger and liquid drain-opener with no luck. Finally, in the evening, I called our management company's emergency repair number and a plumber came out at 10 p.m. and basically said all he could do is submit a quote to our property managers because it wasn't technically an emergency. Being unable to use the kitchen sink feels like an emergency to me, but apparently their bar is set pretty high (i.e. we were not dying).

I'm sure we're going to have to live with this problem through New Year's Day, at least. I blame the Russians and their renovations. They probably poured plaster dust or God knows what into the drain yesterday morning and that clogged it up. Why else would it happen so suddenly? I asked Mrs. Russia yesterday evening but of course she played the wide-eyed innocent.


On a brighter note, this post concludes my eighth consecutive year of blogging every single day -- and for three years before that, from 2012-2014, almost every day. I'm pretty happy with that record, though I'm sure some of you think, "Geez, what's he whining about NOW?!"

I will admit I have been whiny of late. Sorry about that. It's been a challenging month, first with being sick and then with all these problems in the flat. I am definitely ready for a fresh start.

Happy New Year!


David said...

Happy new year to you and Dave! Thanks for your blogging. I check every day and am rewarded with something to read that is often inspiring, often brings back memories, often educational, but always interesting. Keep up the good work in 2023.

Moving with Mitchell said...

I would never describe anything you write as whiney. You simply tell your stories and experiences, the good and the not so good. And you’ve had your share of not so good lately. Can you even flush the toilet or run the shower? I’m sure you're right about what caused it. Any hotels nearby where you can take Olga and the management company can pay for it? I’d say you're welcome here, but Olga and the cats would not do well. Oh, yeah, Happy $%"@# New Year,

Yorkshire Pudding said...

To blog every day for eight years is a remarkable achievement - especially when I consider that none of your blogposts have ever been of the quick throwaway variety. They are always well-written and well-illustrated. You have every right to feel proud of this Steve.

How F***ing annoying to have to endure a drain blockage at this awkward time of year - especially when the likelihood is that you and Dave did not cause it. I hope it gets sorted a.s.a.p..


Marty said...

Yup. I think it’s the Russians too, or their contractors. A friend of ours experienced pretty much the same thing when workers poured concrete down the pipes. Epic stupidity.
And truly impressive that you’ve churned a post daily for so long. Too often I write them in my head and then it’s like thinking about going to the gym and never getting there.

Peter said...

Happy New Year to you and Dave (and Olga). And thank you for being there every morning when I log onto my computer.
Cheers Peter

Rachel Phillips said...

The drain blockage is puzzling in that the sink, washing machine and dishwasher are all affected which would suggest some quite serious blockage possibly outside the property. Is the shower/bathroom affected? I have a plan of the drains in my house and with sinks, once an ordinary sink blockage has been eliminated, easy to do by unscrewing the Ubend pipe under the sink, then it is a question of tracing where the appliances drain to. Simple steps like bicarb of soda and vinegar and boiling water down the sink can sometimes help or a Mr Muscle product. I note you are assuming you share drainage with the upstairs property. I enjoy your blog and was recommended to read here by Frances in Hertfordshire. I will continue reading and discuss New Year when the New Year arrives. I also blog each day.

Marcia LaRue said...

Happy New Year's Eve 😊🎉🍷
Looking forward to visiting you throughput the New Year!
Perhaps this new year is the year to look for a new place to live!

Debby said...

Take it from someone who feels as if she's done nothing but whine for the last couple months (ugh!) you are not whiny.

PS, if my drains were clogged and I was getting the run around, I would not be whining. I would have moved straight on into bitching my everloving head off.

PPS: Happy new year, Steve, Dave and Olga.

Colette said...

Clogged drains for an extended period are definitely whine-worthy!

Ms. Moon said...

I am thinking that you have every right to COMPLAIN! This is not whining or whinging. It is A CALL TO ACTION!
Yeah. You guys might have to move. This is ridiculous. How do the Russians themselves abide all of this going on in their home constantly?

ellen abbott said...

Well, you were complaining about being bored. My kitchen sink is stopped up too. Not completely, it does drain albeit very slowly and backs up almost right away. Not so quick that it's in the pipes under the sink I don't think but just under the house. I'm going to take the pea trap off and check it just to be sure.

I'm sure this will just make Dave want to move even more.

Pixie said...

I think I would move, but that means leaving your lovely garden. I don't consider you to be whiny at all, have you read my stuff:)

Here's hoping next year involves no disruption by your Russians.

NewRobin13 said...

Reading this reminds me of the days when Roger was managing rental properties, and he and his co-workers would say, "Water is the bane of my existence." Nothing worse than clogged pipes. I hope you get that repaired soon so things get back to normal as soon as possible.
Happy New Year to you, Dave, and Olga.
PS-- I don't think you are whiny at all.

Red said...

Plugged drains are the worst. They limit what you can do and make a great mess so I hope your drains are unplugged very soon. Happy New Year.

Ellen D. said...

Sorry to hear about your clogged pipes - hope you get that sorted soon.
Happy New Year to you and Dave (and Olga)! Wishing you peace, joy, good health, and fun adventures in 2023!

Sharon said...

You have had a horrible month. I can't imagine trying to function without a kitchen drain.
Here's hoping 2023 gets off to a good start and good fortune comes your way!
Happy New Year Steve and Happy New Year to Dave and Olga too!

Jeanie said...

Happy Eight Years of Daily Blogging. Wow. I don't see how you do it every day. And it's not just that you "do" it, but you always manage to come up with something fun or interesting or unique. I learn a lot here, I laugh, I enjoy. And I get to see your part of my favorite city and all you take us to on your walks. Three cheers for you.

As for the drains, I'll bet you are right about the Russians and the dust/clogs. Kitchen sink seems a bit of an emergency to me, too! Water issues are the worst. Here's hoping they make you the first call in the new year (because I suspect you're right and won't see anyone today!)

Margaret said...

Your water issues would drive me NUTS! I am already grumpy about my new gas insert not working. In the middle of winter. When it cost a lot of money and should be reliable. (talk about whiny!) Eight years of daily blogging--that IS a feat!

The Bug said...

How absolutely annoying! I haven't thought of you as whiny - I've more thought that you've had a lot on your plate. Also, if you can't whine to your adoring fans, who CAN you whine to? :)

Damselfly said...

Reading your blog each morning is always a pleasure. I'm so glad I "found" your blog!
You're not whiny. Clogged drains, burst pipes --- water issues are horrid.
Wishing you, Dave & Olga a new year filled with peace, joy, laughter, love, good health, and prosperity in the coming year.

37paddington said...

Happy new year to you and yours, Steve! You don’t whine. You simply report. And clogged kitchen pipes is definitely an emergency. I bet you’re right that the upstairs renovations are to blame. Also happy blogging anniversary. I was an early reader of yours I think. And as it turns out a faithful one. I’m so glad I found you all those years ago. You are one of my blog world touchstones.

Janie Junebug said...

I've never thought of you as whiny. I applaud your consistency in blogging and from now on when I think of Dante's Inferno I will also think of a shopping cart.


The Padre said...

Love The Olga Girl Shots Over The Years - So Dig The Daily Installments - Thanx For The True Dedication There Brother Man - All The Best During This Next Trip Around The Sun


Kelly said...

Ditto much of what everyone else has said. Like Mitchell, I also want to know if it's affected your shower or toilet?! That would definitely become an emergency situation, IMO.

Yours has become one of my favorite blogs I visit. Happy New Year, Steve... and all the best to you, Dave, and Olga in the coming year!

Peace Thyme said...

This is unbelievable even to me, but I have taken care of a lot of the minor plumbing problems in the homes that we have lived in over the years. And, as the new year begins, I have a couple of suggestions, if you don't mind. Since I detest chemicals, I have always done this method for clearing clogged drains. 1/2 cup baking soda followed by 1/2 cup vinegar. Wait a while and follow that with 1 cup of hot water. However, with all your plumbing things failing at once, I greatly suspect the Russians!! Happy New Year!

jenny_o said...

Let's hope 2023 does not go on the way it began for you! (to change Mary Poppins' advice slightly)

Water in and water out are both major problems if they're not working right. I would have classified it as an emergency if I was making the rules. But that is of no help to you. I hope they get you sorted out soon.

And it's not whining when it's objectively true, remember that :)

All the best in the new year to you, Dave and Olga. Thank you for consistently interesting and engaging posts; long may you write!

Linda Sue said...

Your flat is rejecting you.

Andrew said...

No advance symptoms of blocked drains and then wham. Yes, I would be looking upstairs. Builder asks plumber mate how he is going for work, with a not so good reply. Don't worry, I'll get you a job tomorrow. I shouldn't begin the year being so cynical.

A very happy New Year to you, and it's your blog. Whine away and we'll still be here.

sparklingmerlot said...

Happy New year to the three of you.
Well done on 8 years of daily blogging. I, for one, am so glad you do!
At what point does faulty plumbing become an emergency? I sorely hope the Russians are experiencing the same inconvenience.

Allison said...

The Russians did it, why else would they suddenly plug up? I wish you the best with the repair and hopefully they will not have to open up any walls. Congratulations on your non-stop blogging, that's impressive. You're not whiny!

Jim Davis said...

Well, that drain situation is simply awful. Hope it is fixed soon. Happy New Year to you & Dave.

gz said...

Here's wishing all of you a happy healthy and peaceful new year..these things are sent to try us...but why always at weekends and holidays!!

River said...

Every single day for eight years! Well done.
Our drains tend to back up when the flat across the lobby flushes their bong residues, my toilet makes gurgling noises and sometimes bubbles up like boiling water and it takes several flushes to clear it. Once I had a lake of brown whatever bubble up through my bathroom floor.
Anyway, I blame the Russians too.
At least you had a nice walk with Olga.
Happy New Year.

Chris and Mike said...

Happy New Year, Steve, Dave and Olga! Thanks for so many years of daily blogging - always interesting, every post. Hope the plumbing is quickly fixed, and that you soon get out on a good walk.

Chris from Boise

Steve Reed said...

David: Thanks for reading consistently and I'm glad you enjoy it!

Mitchell: Well, I FEEL whiny! No, it doesn't affect the shower or toilets, thank god.

YP: It's more terrible timing, which seems to be my theme for December! Why did the drain have to become blocked on a holiday weekend? Happy NY to you too!

Marty: Oh, lord, I hope it's not concrete. I didn't even stop to think that anyone could be THAT clueless!

Peter: And thank YOU for being there to read whatever I pull together!

Rachel: I found your comment in spam! Darn Blogger! Yes, I think this clog is somewhere deeper in the drains. The liquid drain opener didn't work and I'm scared to plunge any more for fear of drawing more congestion into the pipes. I think I'll let the pros handle it.

Marcia: It might indeed, depending on what the plumbers and repair people say.

Debby: Now, see, I wouldn't say you were whining at all. I guess it's good we all have high tolerance for each other's daily travails!

Colette: Right?! I'd call that an emergency.

Ms Moon: I don't know how they stand it. But there's constant chaos in that house. We can hear all of it.

Ellen: That's like our sink; it drains very slowly and the clog is definitely somewhere deeper in the plumbing.

Pixie: Yeah, that's the thing -- we've invested a lot of time and energy in this garden.

Robin: Yes, water is the property owner's curse! (And the tenants' curse too!)

Red: Here's hoping! No one came to fix the problem yesterday so it looks like we're living with it until after New Year's Day.

Ellen D: Same to you in the new year! Thanks for being such a consistent and positive commenter. :)

Sharon: There HAS been some bad karma coming my way lately! LOL

Jeanie: You know, it's just a matter of making it a habit. I sit down and write first thing in the morning while I have my coffee and then BOOM -- I have a post!

Margaret: I think it's perfectly reasonable to be annoyed when you pay a lot of money for something and it doesn't work! Argh!

Bug: Well, I'm glad you're all there to listen to me. Happy New Year, Dana!

Damselfly: Well thanks for your patience! I promise not to complain in EVERY post. LOL

37P: Yes, we've been reading each other for years. I remember when Sally (Lettuce) came to New York and you two had plans to meet up, and that was way back in 2009 or so!

Janie: Ha! I wonder what Dante himself would think of a shopping cart.

Padre: And thank YOU for reading and prompting me to slip Olga a steady supply of hidden treats!

Kelly: No, thankfully, the bathrooms seem to work fine. This is somewhere in the main kitchen pipe leading to the outside drain. HNY to you and yours, Kelly!

Peace Thyme: Thanks for the hint! I detest chemicals too. Unfortunately our blockage seems to be too deep in the plumbing for household drain-openers to work. I think we need some heavy duty professional equipment.

Jenny-O: Is that a thing? It's not whining if it's objectively true?! I like it! And it definitely lets me off the hook. :)

Linda Sue: And why should it?! It should LOVE us after all we've done for it!

Andrew: Well, hopefully it wasn't THAT deliberate, but you never know!

Merlot: Mrs. Russia told me their drains are working fine. But they're upstairs so I suspect they have a lot more "space" in their pipes before things back up! I'm not even sure our households are connected, to be honest. This problem may not be the Russians at all.

Allison: The timing DOES make it seem suspicious. I just can't imagine anything we did within those few hours to block our drain.

Jim: Thanks, and here's hoping! Happy New Year!

GZ: The timing truly is astonishing!

River: Bong residues! LOL! A lake of "brown whatever" coming through the floor definitely sounds scary.

Chris: Thanks for reading and being such a consistent commenter! It's always motivating to get reader responses every day. :)

Ed said...

I learned in college when I lived above a couple who cooked a lot of greasy foods that went down the sink, that it was always better to live on the top floor. I followed that advice thereafter until I bought a house and was in control of my own destiny.

Sally said...

Steve, I’ve just joined the fan club, from Australia. Reading back a little, I’m sure to enjoy your shared thoughts. Thanks. Sally

Steve Reed said...

Ed: I can understand that! I wish we controlled our own plumbing, believe me.

Sally: Welcome! Glad to have you visit! :)