WOSTER: Water in basement: Is there an app for that?I saw a television commercial the other day about basement cleaning that really hit home.
By: Terry Woster, The Daily Republic
I saw a television commercial the other day about basement cleaning that really hit home.
I just caught a glimpse of it, so I don’t know the company name or any details. We have this gizmo on our television that lets us stop the action and go back to replay stuff we missed. That’s handy, but I never remember that we have it, so I never use it. And that is why I don’t know the details of the commercial, even though I could have replayed it a dozen times if I’d thought about it.
(Once you leave the channel, you can’t go back and use the replay feature, apparently. I probably shouldn’t put it that strongly. Let me qualify: To the best of my limited knowledge of this particular electronic device, once you leave the channel you are viewing, you can’t go back and use the replay feature on that channel. It’s entirely possible I’m wrong about that and there’s a push-button somewhere that lets you go back on every channel on the set. If so, I haven’t seen it, and I doubt I’d get around to using it if I did know it existed.)
Back to the commercial. The young couple had water in their basement or sewage or something — and if it wasn’t the basement, it was the garage or kitchen or another room in a house or office, a building, at least, where they didn’t want the mess — and one-half of the couple was pretty distraught over the cleanup they were facing. The other half was less distraught, because he or she (sorry, I didn’t go back to see if it was the male or female) had a handheld electronic device with what appeared to be an app that let them schedule a cleaning service. The commercial ended with both halves of the couple beaming. Advances in technology had saved the day again and all hail Silicon Valley. If that wasn’t the commercial, that’s my vague awareness of it, and that’s what it should have been.
Well, along with the other half of my couple, I sort of saw that commercial while in the middle of a relatively major basement cleanup project brought about by water and sewage. We awoke one Saturday morning in late July to discover that anything put into the drains anywhere in the house ended up on the floor in the basement. I’m no home maintenance wizard, but even I could tell this was Trouble, with a capital T and that rhymes with P and that stands for P-eeww.
Like other husbands down through the ages, I had to survey the basement and pretend to know the problem. I went down and sniffed out (yeah, sorry, that was an easy one) the trouble spot. Nothing was exiting the floor drain in the direction of the city main out in the middle of Capitol Avenue (and when I say in the middle of Capitol Avenue, of course I mean several feet under the middle).
A weekend is not a good time for trouble calls, but what’s a person to do? I made the call; the guy came out, worked a long, long while, then broke the news that it wasn’t going to be easy. His diagnosis? The sewer line collapsed somewhere between the basement and the street, and he’d have to return on Monday with a major-league dirt-digging machine. In the meantime, well, we had no drains.
He came back, and he and another guy worked most of three days before they had replaced the entire clay pipe with space-age polymers or something like that, all the way from the city main to the basement. Then they left for several days. Now they are back filling the holes. I haven’t received a bill for the work, but I’m guessing it will be ponderous, as Scrooge’s business mate Marley said of the chains Ebenezer was forging.
Bright side? If I decide to sell this 106-year-old monstrosity, I can tell potential buyers it has a brand-new sewer line.
Down side? I didn’t study that TV commercial, or I might have sought a cleaning app that first Saturday instead of a plumber.