Archived Story

Plumbers are unsung heroes

Published 9:07am Monday, January 16, 2012

Column: Something About Nothing

I thought I heard a strange gurgle late one night when I flushed my toilet. I turned to see what seemed to be waves hiccupping in the bowl. I sighed and then groaned and then drug myself down the stairs to the basement to check the drain. My suspicions were correct. My drain again was being strangled by tree roots.

It must be something about the evening hours that make me notice sounds and drips that were possibly there earlier in the evening but were ignored.

Earlier in the month, again late one evening, I happened to glance at the ceiling of my bathroom. My grandchildren hadn’t been here throwing water and suds at the ceiling. So why did my ceiling look like there had been some sort of water fight in my bathroom?

Yes, we have been plumbing challenged this month. It is the month that I am thankful for Ron, my hometown plumber and my rotor rooter people from Swehla’s. Both of them came immediately when needed after hearing the panic in my voice. Both jobs were larger projects so they could not be handled by my in-house handyman.

It is amazing how many times you have to use your bathroom in the middle of the night when you know it is not working. On a normal night I sleep through the night. Because I knew I had no bathroom I did not sleep and my mind told me I had to visit the non-working room frequently.

We take our bathrooms for granted. During my night time worrying I regretted giving away our porta potty that we used for camping. All kinds of scenarios ran through my mind of what we could do if our bathroom did not get fixed right away. Which neighbor’s door could we keep knocking on? Did we have a wastebasket big enough? Why did we do away with outhouses like the kind we used on my grandmothers farm. Having an extra outhouse around might be kind of nice in case of an emergency bathroom meltdown. Smelly but nice. I didn’t need to use any of those scenarios because of my plumber and my rotor rooter people. We take them for granted too. But these people are there when we need them. It is not a fun job to work on sewer pipes or bathroom problems. They are our unsung heroes.

We have many unsung heroes in our midst that go unnoticed. These heroes take on jobs many of us would not want to touch. I hope these people are told over and over again how much they are appreciated.

Again last week I thanked a woman in Menards that was cleaning the bathroom. I appreciate those people. A clean bathroom in a store takes someone to keep it that way. We forget to say thank you for clean bathrooms but never forget to complain loudly if they are not. I do not think this woman was thanked much for cleaning bathrooms because she had a shocked look on her face when I said thank you.

Look for those unsung heroes in your life. They are the ones doing the job no one else would want to do. Take time to say thank you. You might make someone smile and feel like they are appreciated.

My pipes are no longer gurgling. My plumber is working on a long term solution for my ceiling plumbing problem and I am sleeping better knowing there are people we can count on to help us through some of our nightmares that occur when we own a home.


Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every Monday. Send email to her at