If you say it with a French accent…

Our family joke about what they served at that fancy French restaurant…”sore de bree.”

The not-so-funny joke when it’s in your basement…”sewer debris.”

Yes folks, the long-awaited sewer replacement project is finally underway, after wasting 4 months waiting for a no-show plumber and finally finding someone else.

Yesterday — basement trenching, all 15 filthy feet of it on the laundry room side:


Plus another 3×3 hole in the furnace side where the old drain was cemented shut (duh, leaving no place for the water to go in the event the boiler blows off or needs to be drained down, which it has twice so far in the three years we’ve lived here, or the water heater goes belly up, which I’m sure we’re overdue for):

 Today — yard digging:  







The original plan of trying to run new plastic pipe through the old clay tile pipe didn’t pan out, so the plumbers had to dig out all the old pipe, including under the porch. (We ripped out the floorboards and the joists months ago, when we thought this would all be over in a couple weeks.) Talk about threading the needle, as the CAT man had to perch atop the hill, avoid falling backwards, and dig without harming our beautiful Japanese maple — easily the best thing about the house. (One of the plumbers, evidently a tree aficionado, suggested we sell it on eBay for $13,000.)



We were without running water most of the day — thank goodness for Wal-Mart. That minor inconvenience, though, is nothing compared to what our poor plumbers had to deal with — with good humor and considerably less swearing than I could have managed. Gives new meaning to having had a sh*tty day at work. It’s worth every considerable dime we’re paying them (don’t tell Mr. “We Should Just Do It Ourselves” Mike I said that, but even he has to agree with me on this one.)

Now the CAT man is busy trying to refill the hole. Plumbers will be back tomorrow (if they haven’t decided to seek a new line of work) to clean up around the inside holes, re-cement everything, and make a few more plumbing hook-ups we need to accommodate “the world’s smallest powder room” project and a maybe-someday project to add a master bath/laundry room. At least we have running water again.

We were very, very close to having another sewer backup (we’ve had two so far). This all happened in the nick of time.

Just another day in the hood — fixer-upperhood. One of those times when “la vie dans cette vieille maison n’est pas si fantastique” (“life in this old house isn’t so great,” assuming my college French hasn’t failed me).

Ah oui. C’est la vie. C’est la guerre. Et bien sûr — C’est le pew.

Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today,
at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little,
at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick,
at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful. 
                                                          ~ Buddha


  1. robbie said,

    Wednesday, September 24, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    Nice photos of dirt in the basement! And what a BIG pile on the front lawn. Surprised you didn’t push Mr. Mike into that hole. We are ssssoooooo jealous. NOT!!

  2. WritingbyEar said,

    Wednesday, September 24, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    Mr. Mike hastily hustled me off to our local hangout last night to drown our anxieties in beer and wings (complete with DQ after) — all the more lovely because now it’s SMOKE FREE! We are beyond happy about that…and Tuesday Wing Night was still packed — so much for the smoking ban being bad for business.

  3. Rege said,

    Sunday, September 28, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    I thought you said we had the worlds smallest.

  4. WritingbyEar said,

    Sunday, September 28, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    I think Mike measured last time we were there and yours is bigger than ours will be. We’ll see when ours is done — perhaps there will be a trophy involved (world’s smallest plunger?).

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