Oh yeah, the house

Lest you think all we do is worry about the election, we have also been moving along on house projects. With the long-awaited, anxiety-ridden sewer project behind us, we’ve at last been able to make progress on putting the front porch back together (half of it at least) — this time, enclosed to make a sunroom.

First, Mike had to return the yard to some semblance of normalcy after heavy equipment and the giant dirt pile had pretty much decimated it. (I was overwhelmed at the mess so he handled it by himself, thank god.) We’ll probably have to totally redo the lawn at some point, and add more topsoil near the porch as it settles, but that we can handle. (We already did that once, adding a couple truckloads of topsoil a couple years ago to level it up from when they installed the original sewer line from the street a couple years before we bought the place. Nothing like déjà vu all over again.)

The brick piers holding up the porch had deteriorated badly, so we had two of them rebuilt (the other two and the other half of the porch will have to wait). It took one guy one day — after we’ve been fretting over it for 3 years. What a relief.

With that key step done, Mike shoveled in 2 tons of gravel (by hand) to fill most of the giant hole under the porch. Can you say, “Oh my aching back!”? Even torn apart like it is, it’s really the best it’s ever looked!

Next he’s installing new floor joists. With the nice weather this week, we’re hopeful we can maybe get a floor back on before winter. Mike thinks big and would actually like to enclose the room, but I just don’t think that will be possible. It’s likely the windows and sliding door we’ve already purchased will just have to wait out the winter in the garage.

In the meantime, I’m thrilled we’ve gotten this far and look forward to someday next year enjoying the view of our beautiful Japanese maple from the new sunroom. It has the most amazing fall color. I’ve always said it’s the best part of the house. But maybe if we keep going the way we are, the house itself might just catch up.

Why one of our 11 trick-or-treaters exclaimed, “I love your house! It’s like a mansion.”

This despite the unfinished driveway piers, the ripped up porch, the construction debris…wow. I wanted to give that sweet little girl a big hug and a big handful of candy. Out of the mouths of babes…

I can live for two months on a good compliment.
                                                   ~ Mark Twain

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