We were supposed to be out and about on Sydney’s brilliant public transport system looking at all the stuff we missed last time we were here, but instead we’ve spent two days stuck in the caravan park.
The issue? Plumbing.
Since arriving back in our camping spot from our aborted television appearance last Sunday (it’s on again for this Saturday 10th June – 9:15am Channel 9 Weekend Today) the grey water hasn’t been emptying very fast, if at all sometimes. In fact, except for the overflow nothing is coming out.
I’ve spent hours pouring bicarb soda and vinegar down from inside, and attempting to hose water up the pipes from outside – I say attempting regarding the hose because all that happened was nozzles popped off everywhere and I got soaked.
“I think we need to call a plumber,” I said to Tracey, but she had more faith in me than I did.
“You can do it,” she said. “It’s only pipes.”
So then I tried a more serious chemical drain cleaning product which had us sitting up into the wee hours in the pouring rain with the door, the hatches and all the windows open so the fumes didn’t asphyxiate us and the kids in our sleep. Finally, at 2am, it was down and we were able to hit the hay and dream of reasonable call out rates: something I was quick to check out the moment I woke up and realised I couldn’t have a coffee because with the sinks doing bucket impersonations I’d disconnected the incoming water and turned off the pump.
“About $90,” I said to Tracey. “And then the hourly rate, of course.”
“Isn’t there anything else you can try?”
“I could get under the bus and have a look, I guess,” I said unenthusiastically.
I’d been successfully putting it off until now because the ground under and around the bus was all muddy and soggy with rain and the muck from the overflow.
“What about trying this?” said Tracey. She’d hit the Google while I stumbled into my day clothes.
She’d pulled up a photo of a plumbing tool which wasn’t overly expensive and, I agreed, was worth a shot.
So I headed out for coffee. I mean, to Bunnings. Two hours later I arrived home with a clearer head and a spring loaded four meter length of wire on a sort of fishing reel which I could shove up the pipe and turn so it’d dig into the blockage and, like a toddler in a pantry, tear everything away from the walls.
I managed to shove it in about two inches. Whatever was stopping us from having showers, teas, coffees and fun was right there.
“I’m going under the bus,” I said to Tracey. “I’m thinking maybe when we scraped the driveway turning into the studio last week we crushed a pipe or something.
“You putting something down on the ground?” she asked.
“I don’t think it’ll help,” I said.
I was already wet through because the rain hadn’t stopped yet.
Less than thirty seconds later I was back.
“Fixed,” I announced.
“Really?” Her tone said she had doubts. “So what was the problem then?”
“Ah,” I said, turning on a tap and frowning when nothing happened. Then I remembered I hadn’t turned the pump back on yet. I headed back out. “Technical stuff. Not sure I can explain it properly to a lay-man.”
“What did the problem end up being?” she asked again suspiciously when I came back up and this time got to watch with great satisfaction the water not hanging about.
Clearly she wasn’t going to simply enjoy the fact we could do things like shower on the bus again and not inhale toxins from bottles with more warning labels than a pack of cigarettes.
“The tap was off,” I mumbled. Tracey frowned at me. She might have been trying to think of a nice way to say dickhead but I took it as not understanding what I meant. I took a deep breath and continued, “I have to stop the grey water coming out when we drive around and turn it on when we park. I hadn’t turned it on.”
Thing is, I can remember turning it on as clear as Tracey’s glasses which were staring at me. So clear was the memory, in fact, I suspect I’d turned it ‘on’ twice when we arrived back from the studio last Sunday – for fun we’d taken the bus to Kiama and by the time we got back it was late and I was knackered.
“So are you saying,” laughed Tracey (thankfully), “we’ve been stuck here, spent $50 on products and had no sleep all because you didn’t turn on a tap?”
“It could be worse,” I said indignantly to my wife.
“If I had my way we’d have been paying a plumber to turn it on.”
Raising a family on little more than laughs
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You never cease to scare me.
Parents tend to get so peeved when kids ask “stupid” questions, but in reality they’re an incredible resource. Never tell a kid “the pipe is blocked”, i.e. making an assumption about the cause. Only say “the water isn’t working”, cold hard fact. Out of the 5 of them someone is bound to ask “Have you turned the tap on?”
Hey so inspiring to see your journey, we have friends in the states traveling around in busses with their kids, home schooling and living the life they love. They find theirs through involvement in a health and wellness company 😀