Monday, September 28, 2009

Closure on the Pipe Situation and a New Addition to the Todd Pad

To follow up on the last post, everything was taken care of regarding the sewage line the day after the second "event occurred." Ironically, the object causing all the trouble in our pipe was the tip of a very old plumbing snake that must have been used a long time ago to clear out a clog and that had become stuck and, obviously, had broken off in the pipe.

You could tell how old it was by the layers of rust on it. Obviously at some point earlier in the month the item must have shifted a bit and started snagging things. At least it wasn't something that the kids put down the toilet because in this case there was nothing we could have done to avoid it which sort of makes it easier to swallow the unexpected costs.

In other news, our good friends Bill and Kathryn and their wonderful daughters gifted us (Carter) their beautiful female Bearded Dragon. "Beardies," as they're known in the pet industry, are beautiful lizards that come from Australia. They are omnivorous and will eat everything from grapes and leafy greens to crickets, worms and even small mice and so forth. We're excited to share some photos and videos of her in the future. I guess the Lindsays' two dogs in addition to the lizard was a little much, so when we found out they were looking for a good home for this radical reptilian, we had to jump on it. Sarah, while a bit less excited than Carter and I, is very accepting of her and is content to see Carter excited about having her live in his room (in a 20 gal aquarium). I'm sure as we take care of her, feed her and clean her habitat that there will be an abundance of learning opportunities. Bill even gave us all the associated accouterments including a UV light, supplements to feed or sprinkle on crickets to make them more nutritious for the lizard, a water bowl with magnetic fasteners to keep it from being overturned, etc. Thanks again guys!

This pic is NOT of our lizard Spike (Carter decided on the name but I secretly call her Gertrude or "Gertie") but ours looks very much like this. By the way, she's very docile so even the kids can hold her but I am limiting that in order to preserve her health an sanity. Thankfully for her health, Claire is quite scared of her!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Our very small trials...

It would be difficult if I were to sit here and try to enumerate the difficulties of our lives here at the Todd Pad knowing that in our relatively small church group (or ward) we have numerous individuals with cancer, organ failure and various mental, emotional and spiritual crisis. Indeed, our lives are wonderful in comparison to so many people who live daily with the death of loved ones, divorce, sickness and the other trials which are extremely difficult to endure yet are all too common; Sarah's expecting and the baby appears to be healthy (sex to be determined in a few weeks!), my new job--while challenging-is going well, Carter just started pre-school again and loves it and Claire, oh Claire, is growing rapidly in every way possible. Now, this isn't to say that there aren't serious trials in our lives--I've come to see that everyone has "serious trials" whether they realize it or not--but it just wouldn't be appropriate to discuss certain issues because the hardest trials are generally things you don't want to write about publicly, such as things from the past we deal with, choices loved ones make or have made, issues of the heart, temptations, trials of faith and so forth. These are the kinds of things that hurt the most but, for the most part, are confronted by individuals on their own, with their spouse, or with the help of clergy or therapy or, unfortunately, swept under the proverbial rug only to surface again later. Now, this ISN'T to say we're necessarily dealing with those specific things right now in our lives, but I think it's worth clarifying that there are different kinds of trials.

So, with that said, we have had some challenges as of late. Since Sunday we've been experiencing plumbing issues. Although we got the intial clog snaked for about $150, today we had another back up which I feared might since we never saw what was blocking it, and we spent an additional $170 getting is re-snaked and scoped with a fiber optic camera system. That $170 helped us find a fairly large, solid object (plastic/metal) which is now stuck about halfway down the straight sewage pipe which leads to the street. That was going to cost A LOT to fix--at least $450 and perhaps as much as $1,500 or more depending on how much pipe would have to be exposed and relaced--but I worked something out on the down low and we're going to get the pipe dug out, cut, spliced and have a new clean-out port put in. EVERYTHING, including the initial work last Sunday night, is going to end up costing us close to a grand, but at least the guy who's going to do the pipe repair is also going to scope it again to see what's beyond that one object that's stuck in there in order to verify that there isn't anything else farther down the line toward the city line. When you're trying to save a little and pay of student loan debt, make a car payment and survive with a pre-2008 home loan, things like this can be extremely disheartening, but that's life!

On top of this, our clothes washer broke a few weeks ago and in an effort to save some dough, I bought one on CraigsList. No big deal...except we didn't get a private seller which is what you want (you know, someone who is moving and sells their washer for 80% off because what else are they going to do?), we got a guy who fixes 'em up and re-sells them (illegal) and that was not a good idea. Anyway, he was basically running a business without a license, so after losing about $50 and five minor garage floods, we finally got most of the money we paid him back and bought a brand new one from Costco (2 year warranty).

Also, Claire broke her leg and was in a cast, although she got out of it early. Those who've had little ones with a cast know the fun of trying to make bathing, swimming, walking, etc. possible. Good thing she healed incredibly fast!

So, in the last 5 weeks or so between these two fiascos we've had about 7 floods, two of which included the always interesting and delightful appearance of everyone's favorite guy....Mr. Raw Sewage which, I must say, was limited to the drains in the tubs backing up a bit and a little water leaking from the bases of the two toilets. "Hmmm...what is that little sphere..." picks it up, "aaahhh, pooop!" Yes, that happened to me when I was rinsing down the tubs after the first incident in preparation for the disinfection of the bathroom. You can't imagine how much bleach/chlorine, cleaning agents, disinfectants, etc. we used on the bathrooms floors and in the tubs. We even washed the beach towels that we had used to stem the tide of water TWICE in color-safe bleach. Then, of course, we repeated the whole process today after the second clog and I've now missed a day-and-a-half of work.

On the bright side, we're all alive, we're still happily married, Carter and Claire think life is all about eating, playing, learning, church, family, friends, sleeping, food and all the other good things that really are the same essential things that make us happy as adults when we're focused on what really matters in this world. Yes our little house was built in 1959 and may have some old drains, but we have drains and therefore we have water and a house and the list could go on and on. Yes we just spent about $1000 on something we had no idea was coming, but we can move on despite the fact that we might not get that fancy SLR camera when we thought we would (December).

Beyond that, the number of people (Chris B., Ryan J., Rick D., our neighbors Reid and Bev, Adam, etc.) who came by, consulted with me or literally got to work to try to figure out where the $&%# "clean out" opening is (that's where you stick the snake...ahem...which in this old house just happends to be in the closet of the master bedroom)--was phenomenal. It makes me realize that when we need help, there are literally a dozens of people we can call, including family, friends and neighbors.

So, we're thankful that our problems can be solved with time and money because there are many, many other issues that can't be solved in that way or, really, at all, at least for now or in this life. I hope that getting through these little obstacles will help us get through bigger ones in the future because I'm sure they're coming...and that's OK.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The newest addition to our "pad"

I was going to find a cute picture of a tadpole, but, they really aren't that cute. So you will have to settle for an all text announcement that we are having a third baby in March. I am feeling chubby and sick in the evenings but I don't throw up and am grateful. Carter definitely wants a boy, we will find out October 14th and can't wait!


This is Danny and here's a tadpole: