Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Stay on target...stay on target...

It's been a quiet week and a half here at the bungalow...and that's OK. We've just had too much going on. But I haven't lost track of things that need to be done. It's been brainstorming time, and here at the house, we've been brainstorming ways to solve the backyard flooding issue, brainstorming ways to get the painting and flooring done in the basement family room, and brainstorming ways to feel a heckuva lot better about the sewer main situation.

I've also been getting the gardening itch. Ever...so...slightly.

The good news is, I visited Menards and Home Depot today, and definitely found the laminate floor I want. Let's hope they still have it in stock tomorrow, when we'll probably go back to get it. It's EXACTLY what I want, on sale and everything. Plus, the no interest until 2010 is a big, big plus right now!

Also, at Home Depot, I took a gander at primer and paint colors, and I actually think I might have found some colors that I really like that seem to go together and may very well go with what we plan to move down there too! It's Behr paint though...any reviews from any of my regular readers out there? Have you had any problems with Behr? Gina and I, since moving in together, have used exclusively Benjamin Moore. But I've not been all that impressed, specifically, for the price. I mean, it's been fine, don't get me wrong...but it's not like it's been so above and beyond that I'm dying to use it over anything else.

So, I'd love to hear your thoughts on Behr paint. I'm looking at a darker color on the bottom half and a neutral on the top half.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The tropics, without the warmth...

Just when I think I have the damned floodwaters figured out, something else happens. (NOTE: This is long, but I got a lot to say...a lot happened)

Friday night, I went to two Home Depots and one Lowe's to get those stupid 60-lb. tubes of sand that people put in the backs of their pickup trucks in the winter to weigh them down in icy weather. Got five of them, knowing that I'd be gone most of the day Saturday, and I could sandbag the basement stairs in the event that water flooded the backyard and got close enough. So I set them up Friday night.

Saturday morning, I double-check them, and we were gone for the day. In the evening, I come back to find no floodwaters in the yard. Nice. But rain on the way overnight. Rained all night Sat/Sun. I woke up purposefully at 2:30 (3:30 after the spring ahead) a.m. to go outside and downstairs to check the situation. Happily discover no floodwaters in the yard or the basement.

Get up Sunday morning around 9 a.m. Electrician comes at 10, done by 11:30. Still no danger, although I notice there is some standing water in my catch basin in the backyard. Odd, but not bad. I decide to keep an eye on it.

Then, the niagara falls apparently opens above my house. Suddenly, the backyard is flooded badly, but I suspect that the sandbags will hold up fine. My plan will be tested, but appears OK to work. Then, while I'm checking the sandbags, I look down the stairs into the basement to notice that, what the hell? Water is rising up from the drain, and that kinda fast. It's going right into the laundry room, which is fine, except that drain feeds the same pipes.

I scramble (I'm on my own at this stage) to grab all five 60-lb. sandbags and try to manipulate them between the drain and the door to the basement. But I'm too late. Water is not going down in the laundry room, and I look off in the distance to my newly remodeled family room and notice that there is water now coming up through THAT drain as well...much more and much faster than in the laundry room.

I get the sandbags positioned as best as I can and at that stage resign myself to simply hoping and praying that the water coming up stays pooled "around" the drain and doesn't hit any of the new drywall or framework. Thankfully, it does. The drain is depressed in the floor, which is good, because about an 8-foot diameter portion of the floor has been soaked, and there's still about 3 inches of water over the drain at this juncture. This after two downpours.

Now, I'm pissed and confused as well. Also, the yard floodwater is now coming down the stairs slightly, only adding to the backed up drain problem. I get the pump and set it up in the stairwell drain and run the house out to the front of the house. I'm confused because there is no standing water at all on the street, and nobody else is out running around trying to bail out water except me. I surmise that I must be the only one getting water in the basement, or the only one who cares.

After talking to my dad, we realize that my main must be clogged/blocked. That means, I need a plumber/water department guy to come out with a power rodder to clear the main. Fortunately, Gina's cousin knows a guy, and this guy agrees to come out and help me out. He suspects the roots of the bushes (the evergreen-types you see in front of everyone's bungalow, practically) in front of the house have grown through the main and blocked it. I tell him that I was going to pull those out. He says good idea, because they are the absolute worst -- worse than trees. I say, good, one more reason to destroy them.

After two hours of power-rodding the main and pulling out a couple sizeable handfuls of root mass, and nearly $300 to get that done, the drain is opened again and working, and the catch basin is empty.

Supposedly, Tuesday, we're gonna have another similar freaking storm. That will test whether or not this was the real issue today. I hope it doesn't come back as a problem again, because I have enough of a problem with the backyard floodwaters. I don't need sewer backups, especially now that the family room is on its way to being done.

I'm tired as shit -- my back and legs hurt and I'm just so out of it. The basement is a total mess again, and I really don't even feel like cleaning any of it. It's such a freakin' pain in the ass. Sometimes, as much as I absolutely love it, homeownership completely and totally sucks.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Words are very, unnecessary...

The title is taken from "Enjoy the Silence" by Depeche Mode...and that's what I've been doing, at least in the realm of home improvement, for the moment.

A.J.'s first birthday party went very well. We had loads and loads of people, and when he wasn't overwhelmed, A.J. had a very good time. Thanks to everyone who came out, brought gifts or themselves and joined us for our son's big day!

The basement family room walls and ceiling got done, as did the electrical work. We cleaned the floor about 3-4 times and got it decent enough. The fireplace works and definitely warms it up down there, and overall, it's just a nicer room to be in.

We still have plenty of post-party cleaning to do (the garbage men don't come until tomorrow, and there's full trash bags all over that need to be shed). But we're getting there. Work is kicking me in the ass right now; but at least I'll get back to it soon enough. I now have motivation, and something I didn't have before the party: TIME. :)