The Flood that birthed Boxapolyse

Sidebar for all of you who need to be caught up on what Boxapolyse is, and how it happened.

A month or 2 ago my husband and I noticed some problems with our main drain in the basement. A few times water would come back up the drain when we would do laundry, but it would slowly go back down in a few hours. Then we noticed it would happen when we used the shower upstairs, but again it would go down after a day.

Finally one day we noticed that when we flushed the toilet the water would come back up the drain, and wouldn’t go back down for several days.

We thought to ourselves “oh this is normal, it probably just needs some Drain-o and then it will be fine.”

One morning we noticed the basement had about an inch of water but it wasn’t going down. We decided that if the water didn’t go down that we would have to call a plumber. Well, we came home and the water hadn’t gone down at all, in fact it had increased from the morning to an inch and a half of water stagnant around the drain and starting to overflow underneath the stairs and into our storage area.

It was 9pm but I immediately called a local plumber that we had known and left a message for him to come take a look at it when he was soonest available. In the meantime my husband and I carried buckets of water from the basement upstairs and outside. We couldn’t pour the water down any drains so this was our only option.

After 2 hours of taking buckets upstairs and the water not looking as though it was going down, we had to call it quits. We each took a shower and went straight to bed.

The next morning the water was 2 inches high and there was no way it was about to go down again. I had texted my employer to let them know that I needed to take care of this situation right away, and they suggested a Roto Rooter Professional. I had called the local Roto Rooter man and he said he was very busy that day but he would try and find time to come over and help us. I was so grateful for his response and told my boss that I would stay home and take care of this situation.

I was carrying buckets upstairs in while I waited for his arrival, and was trying to get rid of as much water as possible. When he called to tell me he was on his way I explained a little more of what was happening and was anxious to know his assessment of the situation.

When he arrived he went to our basement and looked around the floor drain area. He then went over to where the ground piping was to the area where the main flow was for all the water in our house. Our basement was a mess. I’m not just talking unfolded blankets and video games out of the cases. I’m talking about boxes that were storage that were laying around, disassembled tables that were just taking up space, garbage bags full of crushed cans spilling over, empty bottles on the bar table, and just a slew of random decorations that were never put away.

I was so embarrassed.

The Roto Rooter man had asked me if I could move over a couple of things since he needed to get behind our mini basketball pop-a-shot to find the ground pipes. I was trying to move it and it was stuck so he said “Oh, don’t bother I’ll just crawl underneath it.” I stood there with a blank look on my face as he awkwardly crawled underneath trying to assess more of what was causing the backup.

He explained that the problem was coming from the roots of the giant tree in our front yard. Apparently this happens in the city quite a bit and it needs to be done every couple of years. This was our first time ever experiencing this problem and we’ve been in our house for 5 years. He told me that the damage was bad but definitely fixable – he would have to snake the drain, clean underneath the house, and replace the cap that would have to be sawed off because it was so rusty. In total it would be $695, and as I stood there uncomfortable with the state of my basement and the water not going down, I told him to take care of it. I had texted my husband telling him the situation and that we would be going forward with the repair.

The Roto Rooter guy was incredibly kind, and told me not to worry so much about all the stuff in the basement that was piled everywhere. He said it wasn’t as bad as some of the other basements he’s been in. He brought in his hacksaw and a giant machine to take care of busting up all that junk in the drain. I kept asking him if he needed anything but he said he was just fine. I continuously thanked him for coming on such short notice but he waived it off and said it really wasn’t an issue.

As I was upstairs allowing him to get down to business, I heard him call upstairs for me to come down. He asked me to turn the water on from the bathtub (temperature didn’t matter) and to just let it run for the time being. A few minutes later I heard another call from the basement and went down to see what was up. Our Roto Rooter man asked me if I could get him some paper towel to wipe up the area and his machine when he was done. I told him no problem and turned to head upstairs when he stopped me and said there was one more thing he needed. I said “yeah sure, whatever you need what can I get you?”

Sitting on the ground running his machine, he looked up at me straight in the face and asked, “Do you have any cold beer?”

I was somewhat not at all surprised at this request and immediately remembered we had 1 BudLight left in our mini fridge from a few weeks back. I got him the cold beer, put it in a koozie, and then went to get his paper towel. When I came back I asked him if he wanted me to heat up some egg rolls for him but he insisted that just the beer would help him get through the rest of the day. He said that the food “slowed him down, but the carbs in the beer keep him energized.”

What? Haha…. okay.

I was talking to him for a little bit and asking him how his day was going and he said it was exhausting and he still had a handful of houses to get to before the day was over. I asked him if he should be drinking and operating a machine so large and powerful and he said “Oh it’s just one beer, I’ll be fine.” In my mind though I was wondering how many other houses he had been to already and had “just one beer”. I guess if one beer makes him happy, who am I to say anything to the sweet older man.

He then said, “Hey, if you have another beer, I’ll make it an even $400.” With my eyes wide but my mouth shut, I was racking my brain where there would be any other beer in our house!! We don’t usually have beer unless my dad is visiting so that BudLight was honestly a total whim that we had it. I told him I would be right back and I would try to go look for more beer.

I texted my husband and told him what was happening and he said “Go buy some from the store!!” I said I was not going to leave a stranger in our house alone while I went to go buy beer. I called one of our neighbors knowing they were home and asked if they had any beer, unfortunately no they didn’t. I found a lonely seltzer drink at the back of our fridge upstairs and had offered it to our Roto Rooter guy, he respectfully declined saying “no I need a beer for the carbs.”

He packed up his stuff and went to his truck to write up my receipt for payment. I came outside with my debit card and he said I was one of the nicest clients he’s had all day and told me that the bill would only be $400. I was in total shock. I told him it was a deal and handed him a $20 bill and told him to go buy himself a case of beer for the rest of his workday.

Now that the water was draining it was time for me to take inventory of the damage. There was water soaked into the walls and into the bottom of the stairs. Quite a few items in our storage area that weren’t in a plastic bin were trash. The only way for me to do a deep clean was to completely clear the area of everything, so upstairs it would go. The boxes that had water on them would be pushed to the side while the boxes that didn’t get wet were to go upstairs into the living room.

I don’t know how many stairs I climbed up and down that day between the water buckets and the storage bins, but I do know that my legs and butt were going to look phenomenal after all this! The dogs were upstairs and the boxes had gotten so high and wide that they weren’t able to come up and down with me anymore.

I was jamming out to my tunes while going in and out of the house and up/down the stairs, and pulling/pushing boxes all over the place out of the contaminated area.

I was on one of final trips back down after carrying a large load up the stairs when I slipped on some water and slid down the stairs. I tried to catch myself on the railing but my body weight pulled my arm back so far that I had to instantly release my hand and let myself keep sliding. I put out my right foot stop myself and smashed my ankle against the wall pretty hard. I hit my head on a few stairs during my personal tornado too.

As I lay sprawled out on the stairs like a star fish, my clothes completely soaked, and my patience at it’s end the most ironic thing happened. The song “CLUMSY” by Britney Spears started to play on my bluetooth speaker.

I was in so much pain, shock, and anger that I started to laugh but it turned into hysterical crying and screaming. The dogs not being able to get through the boxes started barking and whining because of the wailing I was currently doing.

After I gave myself a timeout and allowed myself to have pure hatred for the water on the stairs, I told myself it’s time to get back to work.

Now that everything was cleared out of the area it was time to go to the store for some bleach, a new mop, and an industrial sized fan to dry up the water as fast as possible before mold started growing.

Once back home I bleached everything and any surface that the water had touched. I even had to move the washer and dryer because water was underneath both machines.

My husband came home to a bleach aroma and a cranky wife. (Sorry again honey!)

I then had to explain what had happened and why I was in the worst state. I then showed him the living room full of boxes that will NOT be going into the basement until each one is assessed thoroughly.

This was how BOXAPOLYSE was born.

From falling down the stairs………..

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