Comes now “The Hole”, the third category of crawlspaces that plumbers encounter. The Hole is a place that separates the men from the boys. It’s probably similar to some of the bad places prisoners throughout history have been sent to for isolation purposes, except a plumber can escape if he has to. A true Hole has an undersized entrance, which is unfortunate for for smaller guys like me because homeowners will say things like, “make sure you send your littlest man,” (true example) which I happened to usually be when I was a plumber for AttaBoy Plumbing Company. Calls for The Hole are good news to the guys with beer belly’s because they can’t fit into them to do the work. Sorry ’bout ya ‘lil guy!
The access is merely the gateway to good times. Once inside, and after you have pushed years of cobwebs out of your way, your flashlight beam falls on a graveyard of old plumbing debris left behind by plumbers past. Abandoned sump pumps and old cast iron drain lines laying around make passage nearly impossible since to crawl over the top of them reduces your clearance to about eight inches. Of course, a “littlest man” like myself can practically jump over those hinderances.
There are other goodies scattered about in the Hole like, oh, I don’t know, mummified furless cat carcasses. I found one of those once that actually looked more like an NFL “The Duke” football than a feline. I wonder if they use cat leather for balls in other countries? Anyway, animal bodies aren’t really that much of a concern unless they’re less than a week or two old – I’m sure you understand. However, human remains are always a concern and can be reason enough to just wiggle your little man body on out of there and not bother to holler “no charge today” to the homeowner as you’re bolting for the truck.
Everything I’ve written up to this point has just been about getting access to the work you were hired to do in The Hole. Once you have managed you finally reach the place where your plumbing repair will take place, a whole new set of concerns come into play. I’ll talk more about them next time.