It's a long story but I will give you the Cliff Notes (Who am I kidding? It will probably be overlong and in need of an edit).
Approx 3 years ago my wife and I had another bathroom problem. In our guest bathroom, the toilet broke, not a big deal it happens. Trying to be a handyman, I removed the old toilet and vowed to install a new one. In the meantime, instead of a toilet we had a gaping hole in the floor, where the sewage line attached. Now I don't know if you have ever smelled a sewage line, but it's not great. To stop this smell from wafting through the house I grabbed a hand towel and shoved it in the hole. This was an action not entirely appreciated by my wife. She removed the towel, and that's when the magic happens.
At around 1:30 AM our dog decides he needs his ball to be thrown to him. My wife is a good sport, and throws him the ball. She does this three or four times. On her final throw the ball goes into the hall hits the bathroom door jam, bounces into the bathroom and disappears. Let me give you some details real quick. The bathroom is L shaped. The toilet, or rather hole where a toilet once was, is at the very end of the bathroom, in a nook, or at the bottom of the L if you prefer. Please click here for a drawing. Bones, our dog, comes back without a ball and he is frustrated. My wife tells him to go get the ball, but he just paces. My wife assumes the ball is just stuck, or bounced into the bathtub, or just out of reach. She get up and begins searching for the ball. After about 10 minutes she yells to me. "Dear did you see where the ball went?", I say " I thought it went in the bathroom". She comes out of the bathroom and says " what do you think the odds are that it went down the hole?", My response "Well pretty good, if you didn't plug the hole with something else when you pulled that hand towel out.". Of course the ball did go down the hole, and now it's nearly 2 am and we have a big problem.
If the ball is in the main sewage line, it is big enough to go into the pipe but possibly too big to make it around the debris and build up (we have problems with roots growing into the sewer line), or the L bends when the main line dips into central line. From everything I read online, and mind you I am not a plumber, it seems that if we run water or flush the other toilet then the suction could carry the ball into one of these traps and cause a major back up, like what occurred in my house this weekend. This is the point at which my OCD kicks in and I start to think about every possible bad outcome. I am just convinced I will have to use the bathroom or I will flush the toilet for a stupid reason or by accident. Nothing at this point will change my mind.
The question now is what to do? It doesn't matter that it's 2 AM, or that I am not actually very handy. or that I don't have the proper tools. I decide I must act. Our old house was raised and has a 2 1/2 foot crawl space that runs the length and width of the house, which gives me the ability to see the plumbing. I go outside access the crawl space and begin army crawling to the other side of the house where the bathroom is. I am starting to feel like Indiana Jones because the space I am in is small, narrow, dark, damp, cold, covered in spider webs, and full of bugs. I find the pipes attached to the hole and I can follow them without to much trouble to a point where they flatten out. I believe this is a likely point for the ball to be stuck at or at least near to. Finding the pipe was just step one, now how to cut it open? I don't own any saws, I don't own a PVC cutter that will get through 4 inch PVC. I don't think I can break it as I am in a totally cramped space, I also don't want to break it and I can't go to a store to buy these things.
My solution, and feel free to laugh, was a large bread knife we had. I figured it was serrated and might be able to do the job if I was willing to put in the elbow grease. I crawl back out, get the knife and go back in. laying on my back, unable to extend my arms much I being the process of sawing 4 inch PVC with a stupid bread knife. Not my best moment and clearly not the best decision. After about an hour of doing this I eventually do saw through the pipe, sawing from all sides until I made it through. Now what happens next is a horrible and I will spare you some of the gross details. The smell that comes out of that pipe is just knock you on your back terrible. This pipe has been under the house since 1972 collecting gunk, and, human waste, and hair, and every horrible thing that people put into toilets. The sludge that lined the pipe was so foul and disgusting, I am trapped in this tiny space gagging with nowhere to go. I compose myself grab the flashlight and look into the pipe both directions. About 2 feet from my end is the ball, but to get it I have to shove my arm through the human sludge. Well I did it, I was grossed out and didn't feel like my arm came clean for days but I did it. The next day I went to home depot bought a junction to weld the two halves back together and the job was done.
So what does this have to do with my very modest TG16 collection? Well my wife felt so bad that I did this she worked an extra shift so I could go buy a Turbo Duo that I had been eyeing and Beyond Shadow Gate. If not for this effort I wouldn't have a TG 16 collection. It's funny that I was just looking into more serious TG16 collecting when another plumbing catastrophe stuck.
Please enjoy the awesome Turbo Duo Commercial that I found on Youtube
Thanks For Reading