Praise for Ditch Diggers and Plumbers

How many bodies do you think could be buried in this “grave” if placed end to end?

All we need is a tombstone or two, right?  Too bad the digging hadn’t been done prior  to Halloween.

Yes, the sewer work has been completed.  While the outside of my house is looking pretty rough right now:

Gotta love that bush that had to be cut in half. Not.

The basement is looking pretty cool:

Since there would be no water nor usable toilets during the sewer work, Puppy Cody and I stayed at our local Homewood Suites by Hilton hotel.  I was impressed by the size of the “room” – it was actually a small apartment with a full sized kitchen and separate bedroom.  It even had a fireplace! (although I never turned that on, so I can only assume it worked).

There were no guest rooms on either side of us nor across the hall, so the hotel was very quiet.  The exit door was a short walk down the hallway, so it was easy getting Cody in and out.  Outside the hotel was plenty of green space, and there were strategically placed bins specifically designated for disposal of pet waste.  Again, I was impressed.

Despite being quite comfortable in our new temporary home, Cody spent a good portion of her time waiting for Dad to come back to take her for walkies:

Eventually, she did settle down:

Meanwhile, hubby hung out at the house because, even though we’ve used Roy’s Plumbing for at least 30 years and they’ve replaced every pipe in the two houses we’ve owned, he wanted to “supervise” the work.  I’m sure the idea of watching a backhoe digging and workmen climbing in and out of a huge ditch to lay pipe factored into his decision not to spend the time with us at the hotel.  He sent me photos of the work in progress so I wouldn’t miss out:

That’s the utility tub from the basement. It had to be replaced along with the sewer lines.

Glad I wasn’t there.

When I was growing up, many adults would encourage white collar careers, claiming that if one weren’t properly educated one could “wind up being a ditch digger.”  I gotta tell you, the guys from Roy’s Plumbing worked their asses off on a fairly cold, damp November day, and as far as I’m concerned they should be (and probably are) paid more than most people working white-collar, cubicle based clerical jobs – and I’m sure that most of the crew were college educated and/or had extensive training.  Plumbing ain’t easy.  Hubby tells me that the crews working both inside the house replacing the pipes and outside the house digging the ditch, connecting pipes and tying into the town sewer line were professional, efficient and courteous.  They got the entire job done in about 7 hours – an incredible feat in my book.

The whole process, from hotel move-in to sewer replacement to hotel move-out took only about 24 hours, but it seemed so much longer.  We were all a little disoriented by the time it was all over.

But at least now when I flush a toilet I don’t hear that horrendous groaning sound which made me think the entire sewer line was about to explode, that horrible sewage smell has dissipated, and now all the interior pipes are above ground so if one ever breaks again, there will be easy access.  I understand that many new homes are being built this way to avoid ground settling and crushing of pipes.

Was it horrendously expensive?  You betcha.  But worth every penny of it.

I can only hope my fingers hold out well enough to complete all those crochet orders coming in so that I can replenish some of my savings account.  My hats have thankfully become quite popular, especially since I’ve added a line of faux spirit hats (colors as close to official team colors as I can get them, and easy to make regardless of what teams my customers support).

We once again are back to more-or-less normal in Cordelia’s Mom’s world.

How are things by you?

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I love to hear from my readers. You may comment on this post, comment on my Facebook or Twitter pages, or email me at cordeliasmom2012@yahoo.com
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Images by Cordelia’s Mom/TeddyRosalieStudio and/or Cordelia’s Dad

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Head Stitches

Great title, isn’t it?  Guess it caught your interest if you’re still with me.

Not to worry:  I am not injured; I have merely expanded my new hobby to include crocheted hats.  In addition to the model pictured above, I created my own using a herringbone stitch pattern:

Here’s a close-up of the herringbone pattern:

Hey, it keeps me off the street and out of trouble.  Which, for those of you who know me, is a very good thing.

I have completed all of my Christmas afghans (see photo at bottom of this post), and I was hoping to give a few hats to the men in my family.  But hubby has advised that both of the hats I’ve pictured are too girly to be worn by any guy.

Back to the drawing board.  I’m determined to create a masculine looking hat that incorporates the team colors of our local football and hockey teams.  If I can’t do that with crochet, I’ll just have to re-learn knitting.

Once I’ve figured that out, I’ll be starting on the next phase of my hobby:  baby afghans.  I already have several people who love my full-sized afghans so much that they’ve asked if I can created some for my tiniest clients.  Wish me luck.  The baby afghans had better work out, because I’ve already purchased a whole bunch of yarn.

If nothing else, my hobby will give me something to do when I’m sitting in a hotel with Puppy Cody while the sewer work is being done at my house.  I’m so looking forward to being able to flush the toilet without having to worry that the whole system will suddenly blow up.  I will have the easy part of the project; hubby will be staying at the house to supervise the work.  We both just want it over.

Hope all is well with you.  The world is slowly getting back to [the new] normal; may it continue to do so.

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I love to hear from my readers. You may comment on this post, comment on my Facebook or Twitter pages, or email me at cordeliasmom2012@yahoo.com
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Images by Cordelia’s Mom/TeddyRosalieStudio

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When the House Itself Says Trick or Treat

Most of us have been there, many more than once.

You spend months searching for that perfect house, submitting bids and finally winning one.  You do the home inspection, arrange for financing, and eventually close the deal.  You move in, anticipating that some cosmetic updates will be required, such as painting, curtains, maybe floor sanding or new carpeting.  You may even set enough  of your now limited funds aside for replacing the old lead pipes with copper or PVC (depending on the building code in your area).  After all, these  upgrades are what make that house your home.

It isn’t very long, however, before you discover that most of those major updates detailed on  the realtor’s listing were done by the seller on the cheap and others weren’t really done at all.  None of the windows open and all have to be replaced (ok, so this one maybe you knew about before you moved in, and maybe you budgeted accordingly).  The “new” furnace and hot water tank both fail within the first two years and have to be replaced.  Tearing up the ancient, smoke-infused carpeting reveals “original hardwood floors” that are seriously discolored by pet stains and other fluids you prefer not to think about.  In some spots, the hardwood is damaged.  In other spots, the hardwood is covered by asbestos based linoleum which could only be removed by a professional contractor with the proper environmental license.

Fine, so you go with new wall-to-wall or area rugs.  Hardwood floors are cold and noisy anyway, right?

One of the selling points when you purchased was that the roof had been redone within the last 7 years.  But the then-owner hired a fly-by-night roofer.  Long ’bout Year 3 in the house, a sustained windstorm blows half that roof off, and the roofer is no longer in business.  You have to add an entire new roof to your overly stretched budget.  And heck, as long as the contractor is up  there anyway, why not take down the old crumbly chimney?  It’s no longer needed – the furnace and hot water tank which you installed both vent out the back wall of the house.  And you weren’t happy when the town building inspector knocked on your door to tell you he saw birds flying in and out of the top of that chimney, so maybe you want  to do something about that before they get in the house?

Long ’bout Year 4, you think you’ve pretty much done anything that could possibly be needed in the house.

Then the main electric panel goes down and can’t be rebooted.  For safety reasons, it’s advisable to replace the whole thing rather than try to repair individual wires and circuit breakers.  Even the outside wires and the meter are replaced.  The house is 82 years old and that was the original wiring, with the exception that at some point the fuses were replaced by circuit breakers.  But who knows how old those are?  So, the electric gets upgraded.

Surely, you’re done now, right?

Nope.

Within months of the electrical repairs, your area experiences a sustained series of torrential downpours.  The sump pump which you haven’t heard running in four years is now struggling constantly to pump water away from the basement.  You congratulate yourself that you had the foresight to purchase a home that had previously been waterproofed by (hallelujah!) a reputable well-known company which has been in business for many years.

Then, you notice a smell in the basement.  It’s not a damp smell, it’s not a mold smell.  It’s shit.  That’s right: sewage somehow seeping into the ground water.  And now that it’s late October, the heating season is upon you and each time the heat kicks on, that smell gets drawn into the house itself.  The plumber confirms your worst fears – there is a break in the sewer line underneath the house.  It is a pipe under your property, which means you own it and are responsible for maintaining it.  You can’t call the town’s street department and complain, it’s not their problem, it’s yours.  The entire system must be replaced, in the basement, under the yard and out to the town’s sanitary sewers.  The 15-year-old sump pump will also have to be replaced.  The bubbler system installed by the waterproofing company will need to be flushed and possibly repaired in spots. Once the sewer repairs are completed, grading and landscaping will be required.

A good portion of your recently revamped savings account will now disappear.

Houses are fun, aren’t they?

But at least you have  good neighbors and a decent neighborhood.  Even if you wanted to sell at this point, no one would consider a house that  smells of shit as soon as you walk in the door.

And certainly, there’s nothing more that can go wrong, right?

One can only hope.

Happy Halloween, Everyone!  May your own house behave.

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I love to hear from my readers. You may comment on this post, comment on my Facebook or Twitter pages, or email me at cordeliasmom2012@yahoo.com
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Images by Cordelia’s Mom/TeddyRosalieStudio

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Go Figure

My stats are steady!

Even though I’ve taken a break from WordPress, and pretty much from all social media, my views are every bit as good as they were when I was posting on a regular basis.  Good to know, I suppose – at least I haven’t been forgotten already.

The last couple of months have been hectic.  One family member sold a house and bought a new one, another family member got divorced, and yet another eloped.  Busy, busy, busy!

In addition, hubby and I completed the refinancing of our own home, which lowered the monthly payments and thus allowed me to pay off the balance of a small home improvement loan – in total, I’m saving $218 a month.  Which sounds great, except that we then got the school tax bill, and the taxes increased by $300 a year – meaning the monthly mortgage payment will go back up by about $25 a month.  I can hardly wait for the newly-assessed County bills to come out …

On top of that, my cell phone carrier informed me that they’re upgrading their network and my old [really old] phone would no longer work, not even for voice calls and text, so I was forced to obtain a 5G smartphone.  And of course, if I lease that phone, there will be an additional monthly payment.  Haven’t decided yet whether to just buy the phone outright or continue to lease it.  I really hate those monthly payments.  But does it make sense to purchase a phone that will likely be obsolete in a few years?  Feel free to weigh in on that.

In any case, I am now the proud owner (or lessee) of a Samsung Z Flip 3.  For the time being, I’m having fun with it, never having owned a smartphone before.  I love the fact that it folds in half to fit nicely in a pocket (and to protect the screen), but opens fully for ease of viewing.  I don’t like the way the battery runs down rapidly when applications are used.  So far, I haven’t had to charge it more than once a day, but just in case, I purchased an extra charger to keep at my office.  Probably if I only use the phone for talk and text, the battery life will be just fine, but hey, it’s a smartphone – I can now surf the web, play games, watch movies & TV on a device that can easily be hidden when the boss walks into my office.  (Don’t judge unless you personally have never sneaked a web search in while at work.)

The nice young man at the carrier’s store even synced the phone to my car.  I promise not to play Candy Crush while driving.

By the way, did you know that many cell phones no longer come with chargers?  People like me, going from older technology, don’t have a bunch of chargers lying around the house, so I had to go to Best Buy to purchase them before I could get the phone activated.  Minor annoyance, but these days it doesn’t take much to irritate me.

Another annoyance is the fact that we were informed that my husband’s older i-Phone also needs to be upgraded in order to be usable on the new network.  More money!  But at least he’ll pay for his own – and he already has a compatible charger.

Meanwhile, Puppy Cody tolerates the humans in the house as best she can.  She spends a large portion of her day looking for the last remaining spot of sunshine:

Happy Weekend, Everyone!

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I love to hear from my readers. You may comment on this post, comment on my Facebook or Twitter pages, or email me at cordeliasmom2012@yahoo.com
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Images by Cordelia’s Mom/TeddyRosalieStudio

 

Posted in That's Life | Tagged , , , , | 19 Comments