I think maybe it’s my family name or something, but water really hates me. It hated my dad, too. We’re talking everything from being stranded on Lake Michigan in a speedboat that wouldn’t run (with my dad going pale and desperately trying to wave down distant ships as we drifted farther and farther form shore), a hale storm that literally started when we got on a rented pontoon boat and stopped once we got off, a freshwater charter fishing expedition where we caught one fish (the next week the same boat broke records), a saltwater charter fishing expedition that got called back before a single cast due to massive waves and people barfing, and finally Hurricane Charlie in ’87, Virginia Beach, where we slept on cots in a high school turned hurricane shelter with like 1,000 other people.

Good times. But as I said, water hates me.

So on Tuesday when I came home sick from work, feeling like horrible hell and wanting only to lie down and rest, I found out the basement was flooding.


Nic and I pretty much shop-vac’d water and dumped it into the utility tub for 13 hours straight, and then just gave up and went to bed, hoping not to float away in the night.

(Every single muscle in my body is still screaming.)

Luckily, we didn’t float away… unluckily we called a plumber who pretty much used scare tactics to try to get us to spend thousands of dollars to replace the entire drainage system, but in reality just wanted to steal money from us by charging for a ‘diagnostic fee’ which constituted him looking at the tree in my front yard and saying, “That tree is the problem.”

Gee, Hercule Poirot, thanks. How much money do you want for the brilliant effing assessment?


Oh, and he’ll wave the $60 fee for coming out in the first place. What a kind soul.

Luckily for him, I’m not as mean as I may seem. Cordial and amicable, but firm.

Unluckily for him, I’m a better lawyer than he is. I was able talk him back into a circle and save myself from getting snared up in some bullshit. You see, all the reasons he gave me for jerking me around came back to bite him when I cited those same reasons for not wanting to give him and his asshole company more money. To wit:

“It’s that tree that’s screwing up your pipes. It’s roots are growing through it. No sense even trying to snake it. Could screw things up even worse. That’ll be $100 for the diagnostic, and I’ll have someone come out tomorrow to give you an estimate (read: thousands of dollars) on tearing everything apart and redoing it. Meanwhile, I’ll run a camera down there to make sure it’s actually roots. $200 an hour, could be a few hours to get it done.”

“But bastard, you already told me it was the roots. It cost me $100 for that assessment, I should know.”

“I know, but we should make sure.”

“But bastard, you have bad logic. You already told me I need to tear everything up, so let me ask you, if the camera shows me that it’s the roots, what will that change about your assessment?”


“And if the camera shows me it’s NOT the roots, you’ve already said that snaking it could make matters worse with the pipe, so would you then snake it?”


“Bastard, why should I spend $600 or more for you show me shit you’ve already charged me $100 to tell me?”


He made me sign paperwork that said I refused service. I just wanted him out of my house before I actually got mad, so I was real nice about it, but I wanted to say, “Dickhead, YOU ARE THE ONE WHO REFUSED SERVICE when you DIDN’T snake the drain, which is what I indicated I wanted done when I called your asshole company.”

You know, I’m not even really that mad. I’m just sad. Why do companies and people like this exist?

I called a different plumber yesterday morning and he was fuming when I told him my story. He came by this afternoon and snaked the drain. About two feet into the snaking, he busted through the backup in the storm drain and all the water was relieved. Problem solved.

Two feet.

He was courteous, honest, and professional. His name is Bill, and his company is Drains Unlimited in Livonia, if you ever need a guy.

Glad to know there are good people doing the right thing by others in the world.

But water still hates me.

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