By Brandi Haas
“Honey, the basement is flooded…again.”
Fewer phrases can quicken a homeowner’s pulse than the dreaded flooded basement. There’s the mopping, the tearing up of carpet, the obligatory swearing, and worst of all, the call to the plumber.
After administering what can only be described as a colonoscopy of our main sewer line, the plumber’s diagnosis was grim. “There’s a tree root in the pipes. We are going to have to dig up your driveway to get to it and repair it.” I asked the inevitable question, “How much?” The plumber took the next 20 minutes to measure, pace, smoke a cigarette, consult a magic eight ball and then checked his calculations on an abacus.
“It comes to $4975,” he said while avoiding making eye contact with me (which makes sense, since my eye was doing that twitching thing it tends to do under duress). Now, the way I see it, when the plumber tells you the broken pipe is in fact under the driveway, necessitating the digging up of said driveway to the tune of $5000, you have two choices: kill the plumber and bury him in a shallow grave, or, laugh hysterically. I chose the latter (which ironically still seemed to scare him).
Between fits of laughter, a near-piddling, and the start of my Grey Goose and cranberry IV drip, I called my husband to break the news to him. “Well, if it has to be done, it has to be done.” My husband’s coolness under pressure is, surprisingly, one of his most annoying qualities.
“They are going to dig up the driveway!” I bellowed.
“Are you worried about the landscaping? It can all be fixed,” he tried to pacify me.
“Landscaping?! That’s the least of my worries. What if they dig up an old Indian burial ground? Which, of course, will most decidedly end with a poltergeist issue. Or worse, what if they find a pet ‘semetary’?! Do you know how many fish I have flushed in four years? That’s probably what’s causing all the plumbing issues. That’s all I need: a dozen zombie goldfish sloshing up the stairs to seek revenge on my lackluster fishbowl cleanings!”
“Zombie goldfish?” he asked.
“Yes! And remember that shaggy-looking beta that always stared at me with his one good eye?”
“You mean Daisy?” he said.
“Yeah, that’s him! You know he’s going to lead the zombie goldfish attack or become a poltergeist.”
“I don’t even know what a ‘poltergeist’ is,” my husband’s patience was wearing thin.
“Do you know that 18% of marriages fail because one spouse lacks a working knowledge of horror movies of the 1980s?” My husband is a numbers guy so I think my clever use of statistics will sway him.
“I have to go now, honey. Do not annoy the plumbers while they are working.”
Ten minutes later I’m down by the driveway asking the plumbers what I feel to be very valid questions. “Can’t this procedure be done laparoscopically? You know, a small incision, robotic arms, ultrasound? Come on, I have cable and high-speed internet! We are living in a rapidly advancing world!” Needless to say, that guy did not appreciate my vision of the future of plumbing.
Frankendriveway is healing well, no worse for wear other than a giant, concrete scar. And happily, no ancient burial grounds were uncovered.