Saturday, January 10, 2009

Sno Pix #3

Ok, so I told you that a tractor came by to plow and then to spread sand. And you really didn't understand what I meant by "tractor." Because, of course, where you live, you have big honkin' trucks.

The tractor passes the kitchen window, with its bucket of sand.

So I rushed to take this picture as the tractor sped by after coming up the street to spread sand on Wednesday morning. We do live in the country, in a tiny town. N'est-ce pas?

On Friday we had a mini-disaster. Almost. After shaving, I noticed that the bathroom sink was draining slowly. I went down to the utility room to check out the settling basin. All our domestic water (sinks, bath, shower, laundry) feeds into one drain-pipe that empties into a little concrete well in the floor where yucky stuff settles out before the water exits the house.

The plumbing was built this way because the water went directly from the house out through the yard and into the vineyard, where it ran downhill and joined a stream to the river. So the settling basin was useful.

Now, however, we are connected to the town sewer system and there is no longer a need for the basin, but it's still there. About once a year the darn thing fills up because the sediment has hardened and blocked the flow of water out of the house. The toilet is connected independently to the sewer, so there is no nasty stuff in there, thank goodness.

When this happens, I have to open the trap and get my arms in there to clean out the basin, then snake the connector pipe to clear it out. It's not the most pleasant job in the world, but it's ok. Except when it's below freezing outside and I'm working in an unheated utility room.

So, after about forty-five minutes of messing around, and a good deal of cussing, everything started flowing properly again. Except that the bathroom sink still drained slow. So I grabbed the débouchoir à ventouse (plunger - doesn't it sound better in French?) and got busy in both the sink and the bidet. After a few good plunges, something gave way and the water drains normally again.

I need to think of a way to connect the two drain pipes downstairs and bypass the basin. Hmmmm...

Ah, the joys of home ownership.


  1. Yep! when you own a home, it's always something!

  2. It's almost like a character in Proust, isn't it - Mme de Débouchoir à Ventouse.

    (BTW - word verification is "crebrip", which might be a good word for what settles in your settling basin)

  3. Walt

    Do you have "liquid plumbr®" in France or something equivalent?

  4. The whole story would have sounded romantic in French. Sorry you had to do that, and hope you had a restorative to warm up.

  5. Plumbing is so distasteful, lol.

    I love all these snow laden posts appearing currently in European and North American blogs. It never snows in Sydney so it all seems quite alien to us here.

  6. wayne, ain't it the truth!

    autolycus, very good!

    beaver, yes, we have many varieties of liquid drain cleaner, and we use it regularly.

    chris, I fell much better now, thank you!

    victor, we're lucky we only get it mildly. I don't know if I could deal with real winter weather any more.

  7. Liquid Plumber's French equivalent is called Destop. We use that and generic brands of the same kind of drain cleaner.

    My word verification string is "tenesse". Is that pertinent?

  8. Walt, everything sounds better in French!

    Donna in SF

  9. " need to think of a way to connect the two drain pipes downstairs and bypass the basin"

    You must plan something springtime is coming... fast this year ;))))


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