The Camera Ran Home Afraid Of The Roots
Three weeks ago the bubbling of the toilet bowl during my shower let me know that there was a clog in our sewage line… again.  The last time this happened a man with a pipe snake and a video camera cleared the line and showed me the roots creeping into our main drainage line.  I assumed that the roots had grown back and this was nothing another $150 and a determined plumber could fix right up.

Our dice did not roll that way.

Last Tuesday, the gentleman that cleared my line last time this happened came out to our house while we were at work.  He called me on my way home with a plethora of spectacular news.  First and foremost, the line was too blocked for any mortal man and a simple pipe snake to clear.  The job would require Hercules, Thor, and Babe Ruth using pipe snake technology that will not be invented for at least 50 years.  Since Babe Ruth is a fictional character, our alternative was to pay him to dig up the yard and replace the entire main sewage line from the house.  Oh, and by the way, his attempt to clear the line emptied about 13 billion tons of raw sewage into my basement so I might want to invest in a new mop.
Hippie Hot Rod. You Better Recognize.

His estimate for the repair was almost $1,000 more than I paid for my car.  This seemed a little high because, after all, my car is the coolest little hippy wagon on four wheels… how could I pay that much more for a pipe that carries my poo? The math was just not working out and we required a second opinion.

Here is where the situation degenerated rather quickly. When the toilet started bubbling, we knew we had a problem.  However, we also felt that we had some time to find an agreeable remedy to the impasse.  Sure, the toilet bubbled and the shower drained slowly but we still had drainage so there was no emergency.  We could shop around, get second opinions and find a cheaper way to fix this before it became a major predicament… or not.

Two days after our pipe’s aliment was diagnosed our plumbing issue went from an inconvenience to an utter catastrophe.  I officially realized this when I heard screaming and cursing that would make a sailor blush coming from the bathroom one morning.  Instead of just “not draining” our pipes were regurgitating into the bathtub while Chris was taking a shower.  She had human feces at her feet and was not in the least bit comforted by the fact that it was her own, mine or Ivan’s. Hey, at least it was not a stranger’s waste, right? That would be gross!

Anyways, we were officially closed for business.  Even an act as simple as brushing our teeth made the shower drain belch sewage into our home.  Flushing toilets, washing dishes, doing laundry and taking showers were no longer options.  We needed to act quickly but regrettably we did not have the cost of a good used car laying around to invest in our poop-pipe.

Can you say “screwed”?

Root Monsters Chew Through Pipe To Eat Poop
Here I should say a quick thank you to Chris’s Aunt and Uncle and our awesome friends The Glenn’s for opening their homes for us to wash ourselves over the last four days.  I would also like to thank the owners of every local business with a public restroom that I used to, um, clear out my own pipes.  Most importantly, though, I would like to thank Chris at C.A.M. Plumbing for making this problem go away.

Like I said, our first quote was a small fortune.  The plumber in question is a great guy that has taken outstanding care of us in the past.  He cleared our drain last time it clogged and replaced our water heater when it sprung a leak and flooded our basement.  Even better, he hooks me up with some glass work from time to time and that is always immensely appreciated when it comes to paying the bills.  He is a part of a national chain, however, and I guess they have set prices for certain things… especially “big” jobs.

Not a family to part with a small fortune easily, we sought a second opinion.  Chris, (my wife not our new plumber) called another franchise and they were more than happy to come out and give us an estimate that exceeded the first by well over $1,000.  At this point it would almost be cheaper to live in a cheap hotel for the next year than to try to fix this.

Enter C.A.M. Plumbing.  My friend Jeff at Carolina Custom Kitchen & Bath put me in touch with the owner of C.A.M. Plumbing.  The owner, Chris, is a local guy with his own equipment and no ties to any nationally known corporate devil.  He came out as soon as I called him and gave me a quote that was a fraction of the cost of the other guys.  I told him to go ahead with the work on Friday and he arrived at our house first thing Monday morning (actually, 15 minutes earlier than he said he would be there).

I will not bore you with a play-by-play of the repair he and his guys performed.  I will just say that in less than three hours they dug up the old line, replaced it with new pipe, filled it all back in and presented me with a bill that was about half what he originally quoted me.  The job was smaller than he expected and he passed this on without us even asking.  Our final bill was less than one-tenth of the original quote.  

This is the definition of quality customer service.

I have a few morals to this story. First of all, if you need any plumbing repair, call my new best friend Chris at C.A.M Plumbing.  They say you get what you pay for but this is a shining example of the inaccuracy of that theory.  I did not sacrifice one ounce of quality or service during this installation and we paid next-to-nothing compared to what the other guys quoted.

 Secondly: this is a perfect example of the benefits of buying local.  The Big Boys have their prices and you will pay them and like it.  They have fancy pressed shirts with their names embroidered on them and you are expected to pay for the stitching.  They might be good guys but their corporate structure will rarely work to the advantage of your bank account.  A quality local guy wants to take care of his neighbor and be able to show his face in the neighborhood later.  Their service will often reflect this. 

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the most vital lesson in this ordeal is this:  You do not want to be in the house when your wife has your poop chasing her toes while she is in the shower.  Be afraid. Be very afraid.  Call C.A.M. Plumbing, STAT.