Basement Bathrooms

The last almost five months continued to move forward, but this week I've hit a “stopping point” for at least two of them until the next year.

Last post, I mentioned this:

A good example is while I was fixing Partner's toilet that wasn't flushing (just a simple stalk replacement) and our youngest comes up the stairs because the downstairs toilet basically exploded (water pouring out of the bottom, ruptured wax seal, no longer flushing, soaking the carpet). I've been trying to get around to it for almost two months and just removed the carpet today to find out how much drywall damage was done.

I managed to get the carpet done and set some fans on it. I figured once it was dried out, I could get some repairs done, pick up a wet saw for tile, and maybe get it tiled.

Except two days later, the floor was wet again. I was worried it came from the toilet drain (I had a rag in the pipe and a bucket on top). However, I quickly proved that wasn't the problem. After a week of investigating and the wonderful smell of sewage filling my home office, I tracked it down to water from the dishwasher and kitchen was somehow bubbling up underneath the shower and then flooding the basement.

Half a week later, I got a plumber who gave me both good news and bad news. The good news was that he used his large pipe cleaner and found somewhere Roto-Rooter had been missing that was causing it to slow down enough that it was leaking.

The bad news, on the other hand, is why this is still part of the entanglement. It should have backed up through the toilet drain or the shower drain, but it didn't. Instead, it came through a cut out in the concrete which means its a cracked pipe underneath said concrete.

This means I could tile the bathroom but somewhere between now and ten years from now, it's going to flood again. The only way to properly fix it, is to remove the shower and the sink, jackhammer the basement floor to find the cracked pipe, replace it, pour new concrete, and then replace the shower, toilet, and probably the bathroom sink. Then, after all that, I can tile the bathroom and finish.

And with that news, everything got tangled up even more because the bathroom is partially preventing me from cleaning up another room which is preventing me from finishing my office from the derecho damage that happened last year.

Honestly, there is nothing I can do about it this year. I need to budget a couple thousand dollars for the jack hammering to fix it properly and I don't want to half-ass repair it just to damage whatever I do put in the bathroom when it leaks again. So, that gets tossed onto the pile of projects I cannot finish and another room ceases to be useful in our house.

Overall, I've gotten through most of the five phases about this. It's heartbreaking and frustrating, but everything just seems to go wrong and its all tied together into this impressive knot that I can't find the end of. I'm really good at unraveling knots, like good enough that the jewelry store saleswoman would hand me all her tangled necklaces while she sold stuff to my partner (many years ago, there is no JB Robinson in Iowa).

The news also was kind of a relief. The sewage stuff was stressful because I didn't know the source. Now, the immediate danger is resolved and I should hopefully be able to plan to get it repair in a way that won't plunge me too far into debt.

This means, I can still wait until the second round of siding (another post) gets on the house and I can work on that derecho damage because this winter, I'm looking at ice in the bathtub again.

As a side note, my brother pointed out that I have a strange tendency to present things in “that's good news, but it's really bad because, but it's really good because, but it's really bad…”

This week, I realized that he is completely and utterly true.

I'm driven by finishing projects. I'm also not that great as money management (which one reason why Second-Hand Dresses and Flight of the Scions won't be out this year. There is a good chance one of them won't be out for next year either, but it really depends on the next six months and if I can get through this knot without cutting it.