Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Ebb tide...

After Ike's remnants visited I had been up on the roof every 4th day trying to clear my sewer line. Each time it decided to act up it was Dottie's day off, twice it was just after dark so I was up on the roof and it was midnight by the time things were over.

I had already made up my mind that I was going to dig it up over the weekend and call the plumber on Monday to come put in a clean-out "T" and cap in my front yard. Last Thursday night accelerated that...a lot!

Before I even tried to clear the line last Thursday night I called and asked for "1st call" on Friday; they said I'd have someone here by 8:30. I got up at 7, and was digging by 7:30.

(I had promised myself no photos of me were going up here before I was back down to the "low 2's" but life seems to be thwarting my best efforts at working that down...I hope you forgive me!)

The plumber showed up about 8:20, just as I got to the very top of that clay pipe you see between my feet in the photo. Having had to cut tree roots up to the size of my wrist had slowed down the progress I thought I would make.

He assumed that it was a 4" line (normal residential size) and went to get the supplies to put a "T" in while I kept digging. I started digging down the sides of it, and he came back and took a turn on the shovel because I was pretty well frazzled by that time.

It became apparent that, since this neighborhood was built as Red Cross replacement housing after a flood in 1951, they had used whatever they had, and that apparently they had 6" clay pipe and weren't afraid to use it.

I finished digging under the clay pipe while he went back to trade the 4" stuff for 6". When he returned, he cut the clay; it had such a solid core of tree roots in it that he had to use a "sawzall" to cut them and lift the piece out. There were roots on both sides of the piece he cut out of the line as well...

The plumber's comment was that he "wished those were a pair of fish"...

The shorter of those two is 32" long, 6" in diameter and very dense; picking it up to bag it for disposal, it was like a very dense sponge and weighed around 50 pounds. The other piece was about the same.

The line towards the house he cleared with a small auger, then a medium to clear the line into the house, then he ran a 6" one to the end of the house line. He turned the other way, and after pulling a foot or so of roots out of the line towards the street, it was clear! Meaning that the tree roots weren't from the huge tulip tree in my front yard, but my neighbors elm trees!

So, $1200 later, the on and off again problems of the last 20 years are dealt with, hopefully for much longer than I plan to be here!

Having taken care of that, backfilled the cleanout and packed the earth back down around it, and bought grass seed to fix my lawn there; the rest of my week now gets sucked aloft "in the whirl" again.

My older nephew is taking a job in western Kansas, starting Monday and moving on Sunday to get there. His Dad's birthday party was supposed to be on Saturday, so now it's going to be a combination of birthday and going away. I had volunteered my truck (the only full size in the family) for moving things, and they've put rain in the forecast, so to keep his tools and their furniture dry, I reserved a covered trailer last night (6'x12') to load them into.

So today I mow, tomorrow I shop, and Friday I get my truck ready to go; Saturday I pick up the trailer and take it there to pack, along with dinner and the family party, and then on Sunday I get to drive 850 miles with unloading splitting the miles in half...

I hope you will forgive me if I'm not around much again until next week!

Thank you all for the kind words on my last several posts...I will fill in some blanks on the courtship/wedding one when I get back...

May the rest of the week be kind to each of you; may the weekend be wonderful as well!



Anji said...

Yet again I'm exhausted reading your post, but at least I know what you look like now. I have a eucalyptus tree I grew from seed in my garden, it is now huge and I dread to think the damage the roots could be doing.

Have a safe journey.

Shinigami Liz said...

Hooray, it is great to have a face to go along with you now in my empty little head. I'm sooo happy ya finally got around to doing that you can stop complaining, you look fine, besides, complaining about how we look is girl territory and I do more than enough of that for the both of us lol.

Back when my dad was alive, he owned his own small excavating business and often did jobs like what you had done. He was extremely skilled at that type of work and generally charged $50/hr plus materials. I don't know how that compares to what you were charged (you didn't list an ending time is why lol) but he was always the cheapest one to hire in our area and always did quality work (and quite a few 'rework' jobs fixing what someone else had botched up while charging twice the price.) I am glad you got that fixed, I have heard countless simialr stories about what problems can occur from those situations.

zilla said...

Your plumber looks so much like my plumber, it's uncanny!

Shuffleboard and mall-walking just aren't your style. Still, I hope you find some time for r&r, soon!

I don't understand how roots invade sewer lines without breaking the pipe to smithereens and creating fragrant wet areas in our lawns. It seems no pipe material is impenetrable!

I have to ask -- Chinese Elm?

Have a safe trip, lift with your legs, and don't forget to post that close-up for s. liz and anji when you get back. (Alan has the world's happiest and kindest eyes, ladies.)

robin andrea said...

I have often wondered the same thing that Zilla brings up, how do roots invade the system without completely destroying it? Very tricky those things.

Have a safe journey.

von Krankipantzen said...

Now one mofo of a clog. I thought the grotty hair bits I pull out of my drain were bad but those are totally AMAZING!

I say bronze them and charge admission.

Connie in FL said...

Plumbing seems so behind in technology, doesn't it? Still the digging, still the clogged mess, still the huge bill. Why couldn't it be more like say... phones... every month a better way and very affordable.

Jon-Marc McDonald said...

I need a nap just from reading your post. I honestly don't know how you do it.

I call it a day after just doing laundry.

Anyway, be safe moving your nephew!

Green tea said...

Wow Alan...I need a nap

We have someone come every two years to clean roots out of our Pipes that lead to the street.
The problem is a large 45 year old Maple tree in the boulevard.
Hope this solves your problems, now
take some time to rest..

kath said...

hello alan dear! Poor you... it seems as if it is always something. I hope that now that the weather is cooling down and the year is comoing to a close soon, that life will become calm and you will have some down time.

I love the pics of you that you post!
take care my friend


Deb said...

How are able to keep up with all this? It's so stressful. May the rest of the week be kind to YOU, my friend!