The Money Pit. Part 9. Black Jesus.
This is part of an ongoing blog. To read it from the beginning, read “The Money Pit, Parts 1-8.
It was October 30, 2010. The morning of Halloween Eve.
“Was that the doorbell? My husband asked me as we were standing in the kitchen at 7:30 drinking our morning coffee.
“I think so, and why was it playing the 12 days of Christmas?” I asked him back.
As I walked off to the side of the kitchen and looked out of our French doors, there was no one there.
“It’s closer to Halloween. You would think the doorbell would play something a little more scary,” he said.
“You would think the doorbell would actually need someone to push it,” I replied.
This was getting ridiculous. Poptart and I weren’t even fazed by the latest turn of events. We just stood there like two assholes and made jokes about the potential possession of our dream home. On top of it all, it was getting cold as hell and we currently had no heat because we couldn’t turn the damn furnace on for fear of lighting the house on fire. Luckily our beautiful 3-year-old daughter’s bedroom was upstairs and she had a separate non-flammable furnace. At least someone in the house was warm.
The very next day the doorbell did it again, but this time it didn’t play the 12 days of Christmas. This time it sounded like an alarm of some sort. What the hell was going on? I ran to the door and looked outside and sure enough, there was no one there. If this was a game of ding-dong ditch these kids were professionals. I had already spoken to the Home Warranty Company regarding our doorbell problems and they could send over an electrician, but they assured me they wouldn’t cover priests or exorcisms of any kind. Luckily Poptart was able to solve the case of the possessed doorbell before we had to pay yet another $60 dollar service fee for an electrician. Apparently we had a defective door chime. This was a small box that plugged into the wall and would go off when someone pushed the doorbell. It is also programmable, so you can program in songs like the 12 days of Christmas, Silent Night and Devil Went Down to Georgia. Our box had somehow gone rogue and no longer needed the doorbell to activate it. We simply removed the box from the plug and used the $60 dollars to buy the Do It Yourself Guide To Exorcisms and The Field Guide To All Things Demonic. Amazon was having a 10% off sale and I think you’ll agree it was money well spent.
Around the beginning of November the temperatures in Houston dropped. And I mean REALLY dropped. We even got snow this year. It was so unbearably cold in our house and we didn’t have the money to fix the furnace so we were going to have to make do with what we had. We were lucky and had two fireplaces but they were both gas. The one in the den had gas logs already in it but the one in our bedroom did not. I don’t know if you’ve ever bought gas logs before but when you’re broke and looking at a couple hundred dollars for gas logs, a space heater from target for $65 looks much better. That and a pair of fingerless gloves so I could turn the pages of my book at night were all I was pretty sure I was going to need to get through this winter.
I brought the new space heater home with my adorable new gloves and I was so happy about my new finds. I took the space heater into the master bedroom and proceeded to set it up. This was no ordinary heater. This baby promised to heat up the whole room. I was excited to finally get a chance to sleep in some comfort. As my daughter and I were in the bedroom setting up my new prize, my daughter ran into master bathroom. She came back out and kept saying “Bubbles mommy, bubbles.” Well let’s be honest. She’s three and most of the stuff she says is just odd so I just said “That’s nice dear,” and kept putting the wheels on the heater.
“BUBBLES MOMMY! BUBBLES!” This time she said it with much more conviction and grabbed my hand and pulled me into the bathroom, pointed at the toilet and sure enough you could hear a gurgling coming from the toilet. Before I knew it water was flooding out of the toilet in large quantities. Tell me this isn’t happening. This was the very same bathroom that flooded the house before we bought it and now it was threatening to do it again.
I ran out of the bathroom through the bedroom and into the den. I had to find the number to the Home Warranty Company and fast. I needed a plumber and I needed one now! That’s when I saw the kitchen bathroom was flooding as well. NO! NO! NO! I shouted. Just please don’t touch the new hardwood floors. I ran upstairs and checked the bathrooms up there and we were safe. For now. So far it was just the two. I got a hold of the Home Warranty Company and their usual Crooked Plumber Company wasn’t available so they were going to contact an emergency plumber for me. All I can say now is that those toilets overflowing may have been the best and worst thing to happen to us, because we were finally put in touch with an honest plumber.
His name is Michael. When he showed up and I answered the door I didn’t know that I was about to meet the Black Jesus, but he has truly been our savior. It was late that night and poor Michael searched everywhere for our cleanout pipe so that he could snake out our plumbing. Of course our cleanout pipe wouldn’t be in the usual spots. Why would it? It is by the front door, but I’m honestly shocked that it wasn’t on the roof or in a neighbor’s yard. Anyway, because Michael couldn’t find it that night we couldn’t use the bathroom. So you know the old saying. If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown…well you’re going to have to go down the street and use the Shell station cause it ain’t happening in this house.
The next day Michael showed up bright and early and was able to locate the clean out pipe and get us our toilets back. My daughter LOVED him and she doesn’t like anyone. She followed him everywhere. Michael went to his truck Mini-Me followed. Michael went into the backyard, Mini-Me went into the backyard. I’ve never seen anything like it. After Michael was done cleaning our or pipes I asked him about the leak in the kitchen and told him what the last plumber had told me about what he called the “water stains” in the dining room. Michael took one look at the supposed water stains and started laughing. He used his thumbnail and scraped one of the discolored areas away.
“If this was a water stain, I wouldn’t be able to do this,” he said. “This is masking tape residue. You’re getting ripped off.”
Michael proceeded to tell me that the reason the other plumber wanted to go through the kitchen counters was because he probably had a friend who does kitchens. Michael also told me some great news finally. The leak in the kitchen was NOT in the walls. He was 99.9% sure it was coming from the icemaker. I loved Michael. Then Michael hit me with the bad news. “You have a tree in your pipes and you’re going to keep overflowing until you pull it out.” Awesome. Add “tree removal” to “new furnace” on the list of things we can’t afford to fix. I needed a martini and a vacation and considering it was 10:00 am and my husband was at work it wasn’t looking good for either of those things.
Later that I night I used my bathroom that worked, put on my new cute gloves, fired up our new space heater and dragged the fire extinguisher from the kitchen into our bedroom. I put the fire extinguisher right next to the new space heater. Just in case. With this house, I wasn’t taking any chances.
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