Sunday we were beat from our work on the Roman Holiday Party and I was feeling under the weather, so I spent most of the day in bed - either sleeping or reading (I did make it to Mass in the middle of the day). I came downstairs around 4 or 5:00 to get a Motrin for my headache and because I thought I heard an odd sound via the heat vent in our bathroom. The rest of the family was happily settled around a freshly started game of Monopoly in the sunroom, so I decided to take a quick peek in the basement, fully expecting that my over-active-imagination was responsible for what I thought I heard.
Unfortunately what I saw was water shooting out in about six different directions from a large drainage pipe right over the substantially full tubs of clean laundry in the back of the basement. I went upstairs to find the main floor bathroom completely flooded and spilling out into the hallway and the "school closet" (the floor of which I had just - finally - picked up only a few days before). The Monopoly game was abandoned and the water turned off while John tried to find the source of the problem and the kids and I dragged all the wet laundry into large piles and salvaged the little that happened to be dry.
John pulled some trim off the bathroom door and we had people stationed in every imaginable place to communicate during some trial runs, but the source was not discovered and the water continued to leak in the basement after it had run for awhile.
An hour or so into this, John was just about ready to call a plumber. He thought there was a blockage he couldn't reach, but would give it one more try first. After chatting about it, we decided to try to find somewhere else to spend the night so we could get some slightly less expensive plumbing repair work done during a weekday - likely saving us a considerable amount of money (which is already SO tight in December, isn't it? The homeowner's insurance is a dreaded chunk at just the wrong time of year). A moment's thought brought to mind the friends we should call - they're not too far away, they wouldn't be at all stressed by a sudden invasion and they had a large, comfortably carpeted section of their basement that would take care of us nice (she later pointed out that they had several fold-out couches upstairs as well!). I decided to give them a quick heads-up call while John gave the plumbing snake another try.
I was expecting to talk to the mom of the family and make motherly sorts of plans about sleeping arrangements and such. Instead, I got the dad, who almost immediately declared - "I know what that is! There are roots growing over the entrance to the septic tank and blocking things up." Somewhat skeptically I sent my "phone runners" scurrying to find the cordless phone so I could bring it downstairs to John. A few minutes later, John and I were outside with a long gardening tool and a flashlight, cutting roots in the septic tank. It was a super-easy fix and everything has worked fine since.
I can't believe how fortunate it was that we called those particular friends who had the exact same problem a year or two ago. I'm SO grateful it didn't happen in the middle of the Roman Holiday Party AND I'm super-appreciative that it was merely warm soapy water from the shower that sprayed all over the basement!