No one would have expected the chain of events to unfold this way, but they did.
I got a coupon in the mail from an area grocer who urged me to buy a 12 pack of Charmin toilet paper at a reduced price. Seizing on the potential to save some cash, I bought a large pack as we were running low at home.
Almost immediately, we started hearing reports from my family that the drains were running slow, and toilet back-ups were happening more frequently. But a plunger solved it temporarily.
Then, last Saturday, while I was away trying to do some yard work at a rental house we own, I got an urgent phone call.
The last thing I had said to my daughter was to PLEASE separate the laundry into at least two piles and start one load to take advantage of the extremely good drying day we were having.
"Dad, the sewer line has backed up and the washing machine is overflowing. There's a lake in the basement."
"Shut off all water, close all drains, stop the washer and start mopping up the spill. Get mom and her super-suck wet-dry vac to work and use the Bissel carpet shampooer to suck it up and start drying."
I immediately packed up the car and drove home quickly with my son. When we got there, I started down the hall and was met by an angry daughter who started complaining that there had been a lake on the hardwood floor of the hallway outside my son's hall bathroom. His shower stall drain had backed up and overflowed, sending water down the hall, through the floor, through the drop down ceiling in the basement, soaking the library, the stereo, the carpeting, the rec room and was flowing through the workshop in an ever-widening puddle.
I turned and began to run down the carpeted steps, looking at the drop-down ceiling tiles bowing, Swollen with drain water, they were about to fall. I missed the last step in the flight and went flying.
Immediately, I felt the sharp pain in my right toe. It was broke.
My wife was running the Bissel carpet shampooer to suck up the soaked carpet, and a shower curtain was draped over the bookcase, drying to divert the last of the water dripping from the ceiling.
I hobbled up the steps, outside the front door and opened the sewer tap. It overflowed and began to flood the sunken window well. I replaced the cap and walked down our driveway to the curbside where another tap existed. I unscrewed it, but the dark interior was dry as a bone.
That meant the plug is between the city sewer and our house.
As my toe discolored, and swelled up, my wife started yelling at me that it was that damn Charmin TP that always clogs our drain up. I didn't know this.
Come Monday, I rented a sewer snake, but I couldn't get leverage with my bum foot to effectively ram the 50 foot snake into the block at 40 feet. I returned the $40 rental snake, and called a plumber. They arrived on Tuesday, and went to the same rental business I had, rented a 50 foot snake and ran it down the outside tap. They trapped the snake at the tap with their foot, and within 15 minutes had punched through, cleaned up and left.
But before they left, I mentioned that my wife thought Charmin was the cause of it all. "We could have told you that. We hear that a lot," they reported.
"What's the worst brand?" I asked.
"Charmin" was the confirmation.
I thought to myself, that would be something good to be telling people, to warn them... but then, the plumber couldn't charge me $40 for the rental, $10 for fuel charge, travel time, two man-hours @ $57/hr, plus taxes and minimum one hour. That's about $200 spent because of the sale on Charmin.
It seems there's a good reason why plumbers don't warn people about the use of Charmin bathroom tissues.
And my toe paid the price!