Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Plumbing Saga Day 5: The Long Night

This is a continuation of our plumbing saga story. To view the previous installment, click here. To go back to the beginning, click here.
The day begain with the rather unusual sight of a bobcat still in our backyard. So much for the 1 day rental.... Maybe, just maybe, things would go better today, they would find the line, fix it and be off. But I didn't get my hopes up too much, as I was starting to get it that wishful thinking was going to have me disappointed, if I wasn't careful.

First to arrive on the scene that morning was Brad, the city guy, sporting another copy of the plan of our property with some handwritten notations. It seems that the city has records that have not yet seen the light of data entry.... Every year the city runs a little camera robot through it's sewer lines, recording data on where there are holes in the line, aka residential hookups. Now that it's Monday morning, he's been into the office, accessed those archives, and found two measurements that give coordinates of sorts (they are distances from two manhole covers, with our connection in between). Not exact, but pretty darn close. I play measuring tape assistant and Brad roughs the ground twice. He then eyeballs the probably line towards our property and marks the spot with where he thinks they will find the line if they dig. I'd say X marks the spot, if only he'd drawn an X....
Talked to my brother the night before and he wondered about just running a brand new sewer line through the crawlspace from the left side of the house to the right side of the house, directly under the laundry room where we were dying to put a second toilet, then straight out to the main sewer line on the easement, making a new connection there. I said I'd ask the plumbers.
When the plumbers arrive, they are pretty pleased to see Brad's marking, saying, "He's usually pretty accurate. I'll bet we find it."
I interrupt there musings to ask about my brother's idea, but before I can get it out, Joe the bossman-plumber says he was thinking the same thing. So that's two smart men with the same idea, so the idea gets advanced. Joe cautions that the city may want to charge for that, so not to get too excited.
Meanwhile Don the plumber gets to work and drives the bobcat back out to the front yard, then around the house and now enters the backyard via the the right hand side of the house, moving well along the new blacktop walkway that had been put in for mom when her driveway was paved a few years back (this pavement is essential to her being able to get her walker around to the door she uses to access the house). as they knock down the fence post closest to the house, and the bucket emerges into view, I figure she isn't going to be using this entrance to the house anytime soon.
Our neighbor Kevin had poked his his head over the fence for an update that morning, laughing a little nervously, knowing that the easement is on his side of the fence, and our project hasn't gone all that smoothly up to this point... I laugh back and wish him happy kayaking, and turn my attention back to "the dig".
Goodbye planter, I say, as the bobcat wipes it out. They'd asked me if I wanted to save any of the plants in it, consulted with my sister, and the verdict was no. So it got creamed. She had a bit of a look of shock on her face when she came outside later though, as there wasn't much left. She had been was thinking that we could rescue the herbs and flowers ourselves after the planter was pushed aside, but that turned out to be the thoughts of the naive. Oh well, live and learn...
At some point Joe tells me that the idea of a brand new connection to the sewer main was dead, as the city would charge alot to do that. Oh. Oh well, it was a good idea. But we went back to plan A, which was finding the existing connection....
"Dig right here," says Joe the bossman-plumber to Don the bobcat-driving plumber...
Once the hole was dug, Don was in there like a dirty shirt (getting a dirty shirt) probing around with a thingy until they found the line. And found it they did. Only thing was, the line was collapsed, almost completely. It was old clay tile that had definitely seen better days. So the bad news was that the sewer line was collapsed. The good news was that the line was collapsed between our property and where the line hooked up with the main sewer line on the easement.
It took me awhile to understand why this we good news, but it meant that the city was going to have to pick up some of the costs. Oh, yeah baby!!!
So the plumbers moved in to dig up that part of the line. That meant that our neighbor's fence was coming down, and their yard was going to meet the wrath of the bobcat. To be clear, this was all on the easement, but one doesn't really think that way of land that's within one's fence once you are used to it. This is Kevin's look of surprise, as he said, "Whoa... we only went kayaking for 2 hours!!!" Good thing that he and his wife Connie are so good natured. We tried to hide the fact that we rather fancied the extra light pouring into our yard with the fence down, but we couldn't resist. Nice neighbourly fun, all made possible by the city promising Kevin to make things right on the easement when they were done.
In the end, the trench was 7 feet deep. This is Cory the city guy poking around. Cory would become as much of a fixture around the house as Joe, Don, Carl, Liam and Brad....
To keep us occupied, or maybe out of their hair, Don the plumber had suggested that we might like to bury a time capsule when the trench was closed. Cool!!! Sissy and I had great fun gathering things. This was a feature about 150 years of Victoria history. Other items we include were: a Red Bull container, Lipton's Chicken Noodle Soup, liquid tea, Olympic momentos, stamps, a few coins, Purex hand sanitizer, Magic Erasers and various other bits from the junk drawer.
The dig did keep on rather a long time, and at one point we were forbidden from any flushing. We eventually went out for a drive, then to the library to kill a few hours (and use their facilities), then to dinner, then came back around 8:30 pm to see how they were doing on their estimate of being connected by 9:00 pm... I left mom and sissy in the car and made my way to the back yard, only to find a large hole, a bevy of tired men, and no connection. Their next best guess was midnight. I said we'd be back then went out to the car. And made a corporate decision and drove to the local Travellodge where I checked in mom and sis for the night. Back to the house to throw some things in a bag for them, back to the hotel to drop the stuff off, took a quick shower using their facilities (yeah!!!) then back to the house.
They were still at it, using big lights, but in the end, Joe the bossman-plumber told the team to call it quits at 10:00, as the next step was to jackhammer into the foundation of the house, and we didn't want any noise complaints. Just as well, I was tired, and I figured I was in for a night of "camping" regardless. So off they went.......
To view what happened on day 6, click here.

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