Setback

This is not what we planned for a joyous new year:  basement flood on the night of December 31st followed by morning diagnosis of broken and dislocated terracotta sewage pipe dating from 1950’s, due to tree roots.  Of course, the broken pipe runs directly under the new patio and sunporch.

DSC_9276

The big dig.

The solution is to lay a new PVC pipe across the middle of the backyard.  In the process, another problem has been uncovered.  (Isn’t that always the way?  More on this another time.)  Today, trenches are being dug with an excavator, the old terracotta pipe from the house is being cut away from the cast iron pipe that exits the house, and a new pipe is being connected to link the house with the main pipe at the far edge of our property.

Cutting away the old pipe to make way for the new.

Cutting away the old pipe to make way for the new.

It’s not an easy job and conditions are harsh.  Huge stones are being excavated as the trenches are dug and the high temperature for the day so far is 34 degrees F.  It was nearly ten degrees colder when work started this morning at 8.

View of boulder excavation as seen from the kitchen window.

View of boulder excavation as seen from the kitchen window.

Here’s the good news.  The planned garden renovation, especially the retaining wall to be built between the upper and lower levels, was not yet underway.

Thank goodness for silver linings.

42 thoughts on “Setback

  1. Linda Butcher

    Thanks for seeing the silver lining in all of this. Good luck with the continued process, & maybe this excavation will help ease the digging of the new & upcoming retaining wall?

    Reply
  2. Nancy Shannon

    so sorry. property problems and upkeep keep us busy all the time. My house dates back to 1875. lake house goes back to old fishing cabin from the 40’s and addition from the 60’s. I have had it with old properties. no more! My daughter just bought a house up near Hampton Park in charleston. I am so glad she bought a new replica of the old. she considered an old one but it would have taken a lot of expensive renovation. her realtor friend advised against the old. She does not have time to handle all the work. Good luck. n Sent from my iPad

    >

    Reply
  3. Amy Langley

    What a mess! i hope it stays dry long enough to get all those trenches filled in. We are finally getting our promised El Nino drenching rains and The Girls (dogs) are refusing to go out in our muddy mess of a backyard. The decomposed granite instead of lawn seemed like such a good idea in August…

    Reply
    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Jessica–I’m sure it will come right in the end. What would life be without a few surprises along the way? Certainly, we can’t expect them all to be good ones.

      The river is much more visible in the winter when the leaves are down. You can’t tell much from this photo, but there are lots of native shrubs and small trees that block the view most of the year.

      Reply
  4. Sandra Smith

    Marian, this is such distressing news! I hate that you’re having to deal with such a mess, not to mention the unexpected expense of all the work that has to be done. Thinking of you and send good vibes that things go smoothly from now until you are done with it and your new garden, wall, etc. Best, Sandra

    Reply
  5. johnvic8

    Oh, my goodness, what will be next? I will have a glass of wine in your behalf. I would love to think that you will look back on this as a positive…now you just have to find out what could possibly be positive about this mini-disaster. So sorry you have to deal with something as monumental as this. I once had a basement flood on Christmas morning…it shorted out the tree…but at least all we had to do was replace the water heater.

    Reply
    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      John–Let’s hope the something next is something good. A lottery win tonight would make up for it! Sadly we found no buried treasure, only a big rock that now has to be moved.

      Reply
  6. An Eye For Detail

    Oh Marian, how awful. And New Years Eve it happened?? I really don’t know which is worse: the actual cost of these things, or the work/dirt/renovation/interruption of life. Maybe they are equally not good! We left an almost 100 yr. old house up north that was always having problems, for this 1992 built house. Yes, I yearn for the solidly built older one, but no, not the associated problems!

    Reply
    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Libby–This is the first house we’ve ever lived in that was more than a few years old. Our neighborhood is great and we still love this place, but we’ve had our share of challenges over the last few months. I think it will be a great motivator to get moving on the garden, so not all bad, right?

      Reply
  7. Julie

    Oh Marian, I am so sorry to read your post as this must be a huge worry. I hope the workman make a good job and finish promptly. Thinking of you.

    Reply
    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Julie–The plumbing work is finished and everything seems to be in good order. Of course the garden is mess from one end to the other, but that can be made right in time. And oh, there’s still that mystery surprise to deal with.

      Reply
  8. Deen Meloro

    So glad no one was hurt and that the new porch seems intact and in good shape. Not a fun thing to have to do at all, let alone in bad weather.

    Reply
  9. casa mariposa

    Here’s the silver lining: you were home when it happened! Something similar happened to a friend except she was 3,000 miles away and the damage was severe by the time she got home. I’m sorry that you’re having to deal with this. 😦

    Reply

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