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.


Anonymous said...

I completely agree with your statement about the sometimes suckiness of homeownership. I once lived overseas, renting an apartment and owned no home in the U.S. Whenever a hurricane rolled through, I had no worries, since I didn't own the place. I just sat back, had a drink and watched the show. Of course, it wasn't all great, but that aspect was nice.

William said...

Hey man, don't let it get you down! You have an awesome house and all the work you do is something to be proud of.

Andy said...

Thanks for the support...we're supposed to get an inch or two tonight, I we'll see if it "worked."

It's just demoralizing when you want to improve the house, but you're spending every waking minute fixing and troubleshooting rather than improving. I know there are thousands of you out there who know this feeling, so I know I'm not flying solo and am preaching to the choir, so this was just a little frustration post.

Again, we'll see how the drainage system works tonight.

Green Fairy said...

I understand; there are days that I really miss our condo, and seriously question the wisdom of taking on an old house. It's always something. I remember when home improvement meant changing the color of paint in a room, or buying a new piece of furniture. Now it's all contractors and a personal relationship with the staff at Home Depot.

I do look to your blog for inspiration, because you guys are doing such a nice job. Don't let the bad days get you down too much.

Onlinehandyman said...

I used to have the same problem with tree roots in my front yard. Very annoying not to mention expensive to get cleaned out. It was my sewer pipes that always used to get blocked up and it always seemed to happen at night on the weekend when the drain guys charged time and a half. To prevent this from happening again I began to put a chemical root killer in the pipes once a month - worked pretty well.

Andy said...

Thanks everyone! And, no worries...this won't stop us from working around the house and such.

In fact, my dad just called me and said, glowingly, "I wanted to talk to you about your backyard. I have plans." And then he laughed.

This can't be good. ;) The "foreman" is taking over... ;)