Duct Tape, Plumbing, and Bad Medicine

Our house is held together by duct tape. Ordinarily, I am a huge fan of duct tape, but using it to hold floor tiles together, lock doors, and replace drywall is getting kind of old. On the other hand, it works pretty well for all of those things, so I am also thankful for it.

Unfortunately, duct tape will not fix everything. After a month of increasingly regular visits from roto rooter, we now have a lovely home video of the inside of our pipes which was taken by them yesterday. In the line between our bathroom and the city main, there are several breaks, some roots, a couple of fractures, cracks, and one large hole. Nice. The entire line needs to be replaced if we want to be able to remove roto rooter from speed dial.

Actually, it was their estimate for the work that will be getting them off of speed dial faster than anything else. $8450.00! Eight thousand four hundred and fifty dollars. WTF?! That’s over 10 months of SSI! A loaded mac pro. 8 macbooks. 16 iPhones. We were not prepared at all for a number like that. We were already bummed that K would be contributing most of her tax refund to the cause, but her full refund plus our entire savings is not even enough to cover it! The best thing I can say is that we both somehow managed to get through the experience without puking.

We had two other plumbers come out to give estimates later in the day. The first guy quoted us $5K. A relative bargain. We called 3 references that he provided who all raved about him, and the Better Business Bureau seemed to approve of him as well. I didn’t like the next plumber. He would not give us a straight answer about anything and suggested we replace all of our pipes. It is true that they are all very old, but we have not had any problems with the rest of the pipes, so replacing them seems unnecessary and I wondered about his motives for suggesting it. His estimate was $5800-$6400 depending on the amount of work. We will most likely go w/the lowest offer. We both liked that guy better anyway, so it was nice that he also had the best offer. We will wait until after our insurance company comes out to take a look before we do anything, but from what we hear, it is unlikely that they will pay anything. Makes me growl.

Duct tape also could not fix our wireless router which finally crapped out and had to be replaced the other night, and it will likely not fix our gas fireplace heater, which stopped working this morning. I know that money can’t buy happiness, but it sure can buy a lot of things that make people much happier!

Duct tape will not fix me either. The Straterra is not working so well, and I have started the process of weaning off of it. I will try the last drug again with a different dosage and slower released pill, and hope that the “side effect” of not breathing was being caused by either an additive in the other formula of pill that I was taking or by some combination of the timing and dosage that was not working well. The Straterra works a little. Things haven’t been horrible and I have been able to work even though it has been very hard, but my body has been rejecting it in some way or other ever since I started taking it. It has been long enough now that I don’t think it will go away. Every day I wonder how much longer I can stand taking it. Soon, I won’t have to wonder anymore.

Hopefully things will go better with the next experiment. If not, I have no idea what I will do. It is looking very doubtful that I will be able to go on our Florida/Baltimore trip. It makes me very sad. I really wanted to see Hannah and the rest of my family, and the timing was great because Cindy is going to be there. I was really looking forward to seeing her and Helene. I know I can see all of those people at another time. Still, I am bummed. I won’t give up hope completely yet. There is still a little bit of time until K has to change her ticket so she can go to Ohio instead of Florida.

Month after month after month after month after month. This is not the longest time I have spent in test tube hell and I know that eventually something will work out. Still, it is hard to be patient. I can’t remember the last time I had a ‘normal’ life. Maybe stable is a better word than normal. A time when I was able to work more regularly, make plans, go to karate class, leave the house easily, read, socialize, have a life…

I shouldn’t complain, but once in a while things need to be whined about outside of my head. I will at least try not to dwell on the bad things. Many things are good. My business is growing and even though I am completely overwhelmed and it is very hard to work much of the time, I have been getting things done and keeping my clients happy. Even though our house is broken and held together by duct tape, it is a wonderful home full of love and cats. I have the best partner in the whole world. We have a great car. Excellent computers. The sun is shining. Enough whining for now. Time to go outside and enjoy the day.

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