20 September 2014

The day our house broke. Again.

I detailed the beginning of our house drama in my last post :

read the full details here if you'd like to :)

Quick recap for you: Jesus fixed our AC, Jerry turned our water on,
Sears remodeled our kitchen, Seth fixed our water heater, and Gavin
fixed the plug in our main drain. All in the first 3 days after we
moved in.

Two days later, our main sewage drain stopped draining again.

We had been meticulous about putting no more than 4-5 squares of
toilet paper in a flush.  We had been extra vigilant that nothing big
would go down our drain.

Yet, it was plugged again.

After looking in our outside drain-out pipes (I knew what those were,
thanks to our first plumber, who kindly taught me about them), we
determined our main drain was plugged again. We called the plumbers
directly since our home warranty was crap and wouldn't pay for
anything "under the foundation."

Mike the plumber came out this time. He cleaned out the drain. Then, it got
plugged up again 2 days later.  He said the drain pipe was likely
broken and recommended a camera guy come out.

The soonest we could schedule a camera guy was 5 days later.


So there I am sitting on our second toilet after work, when a bug runs
into the bathroom and straight at me.  I was no-where near done yet,
but I wiped really quickly and jumped off the toilet seat and out of
his way.

I ran to the kitchen to grab bug spray.  I had pulled up my pants, but
there was no time to zip them.  We didn't have bug spray there, so I
grabbed the next-best-thing: all-purpose cleaner.  I figured, why not?

I ran back to the bathroom, and luckly for me, the but was still
searching for a human or something because he was still there in the
bathroom.  I sprayed him a few times with the cleaner, but nothing

So I sprayed him a zillion more times with cleaner until he was
swimming in a pool of all-purpose cleaner.  He ran under my boots that
were sitting in the corner of the bathroom, but I didn't want bug guts
on the bottom of them, so I moved them out of the way.  He then ran
into the in-bathroom closet.  I sprayed the closet a few more times
before I ran outside to the shed to get the legitamite bugspray.  I
figured if I was going to go in the closed after him, I should have

I unlocked the shed, grabbed the spray, and ran back into the
bathroom.  I opened the closet door, and by all luck, he was paralized
in a pool of all-purpose cleaner.  I sprayed him a few times with the
bug spray, just to be sure he was actually dead and not just

Because if anyone tries to shoot me, I'll just pretend to be dead so
they'll walk away.  I wasn't going to let this guy away so easily.  A
quick ten shots straight to his heart should make sure he can't get up
and walk away!

I then left him there, deciding we needed to keep the bug spray in the
house, I then closed the shed door. because I wanted to let the pups
out to go potty.  I figured they had been holding it all day, and they
probably needed to go asap.  I walked back inside, looking a bit
defeated, when my husband walked in.

My pants were half on, I'm just shutting the door, I'm covered in
sweat, and yeah, my hair was a mess.

"What happened?"

"A huge bug tried to attack me and you would be so proud, I didn't
even scream!  I just jumpped off the toilet, grabed some spray and got

"And why were you outside?  Why are your pants half-off?"

So then I had to tell him that the all-purpose cleaner didn't help and
that I had to get something stronger and I ran out to the shed.  He
was stunned that the bug just stood there while I got better spray.  I
was a little surprised too, but hey, I'll take what I can get.


The camera-plumber came out and things were worse than we originally
suspected.  All the plumbing going towards the house is original
cast-iron plumbing grom the 1950s.  And it has more holes than swiss

I could really go for a side of some swiss cheese and crackers next to
the wine I'm going to need.

All 29 feet of it underneath our slab foundation needs to be replaced.
And the line going to the city, which is all PVC, is broken in 2
places.  Not exactly ideal.

They're going to have to build a tunnel under the house to fix the
plumbing.  And we're going to have to come up with a wad of cash to
pay them to do that.

But hey, in 3 weeks we'll have the most brand-new pipes on the block!


Yeah, I have not only 2 or 3 but 5 water bottles.  You can go ahead and
make fun of me, my husband already did.  (Make it known that he rarely
makes fun of me, I'm just a tad bit excentric.)

When you don't know when you'll see running water again, you want to
be prepared!


A week after the plumber with the video camera came out, we still had
nothing.  No official estimate.  No video that we paid an extra 35
dollars for.  No new pipes.

At this point, we were only flushing fluids down the drain.  I was a
little tired of throwing my toilet paper in the trash can and
subsequently taking the trash out multiple times.  I was also tried of
making sure I went #2 in our upflush toilet so it would grind things
up.  Sometimes you sit down thinking it is going to be a #1 and then
you get surprised with some #2.  It just happens.

So we called another plumber.  One with legit, awesome reviews on
Angie's list.  If you haven't heard of Angie's List, its a service
like consumer reports where people rate services.

The new plumber came out, gave us a written estimate.  It sounded
good, but Ryan and I had to talk about it and see.  I mean, our old
plumbers were nice.  But then they gave us their estimate, which was
THREE TIMES as much.

They loose.

With the new plumber (and the estimate from our old plumber) we
realized that no one was going to make a 29 foot tunnel under our
house to fix the pipes.

They were going to dig a huge hole in my foundation.

And put dirt in my house.  And probably let in about a zillion bugs.
I mean, the plumber reassured me and said that the holes would only be
3x3 feet and they would be covered in plywood.

Yeah, plywood.  That's comforting.

I feel like we might as well leave our doormat on our front porch that
says: "creepy, icky crawling things: Welcome!"  But they most
certainly are not welcome.

The good news is he could start almost immediately.  Which we weren't
prepared for.  Where do we go?  Where can we stay with our puppies?
Do we have to move everything out of the house?  Or just the rooms
where the holes will be?

We set everything up to start on a Thursday, 1.5 days later.  Exactly
3 weeks after we've moved in.  Good thing we still have most of our
books in boxes.  Now we just have to move our bookcases and chairs out
of the library and into another room.

And find the puppies a new place to live during the day.  Can't have
their little ears bombarded with noises of jackhammers busting through
our concrete foundation and brand-new tile.

Do you know what it's like to be suddenly homeless with puppies?  We
have to call to get them boarded for a zillion dollars a day.  Or find
a friend nice enough to let us AND puppies live with them.  Woah.

It's almost enough to make you cry.

Which is why I'm writing all this.  So maybe I can laugh so I don't
cry. (Andy Davis anyone?)


That night we had problems in our kitchen drain.  Something got
plugged and it started draining very slowly.  Then our dishwasher
filled up with yucky drain fluid.

Oh, man! Ryan scooped water out of our dishwasher.  Then we washed our
plates and dishes outside with the hose.  If I had been smart, I would
have filled up a bucket with warm, soapy water and cleaned things
outside that way.  Instead, I made several trips in and out to scrub
dishes with soap and then to rinse them with hose water.

The new plumber stuck a camera down the kitchen drainpipe. Turns out,
it has no bottom.  So we tacked on that project, the plumbers dig a
4th hole, and extended the length of the project, and the cost,

Life is great, I tell you.

I'm listening to a lot of Jason Mraz lately (his new CD YES! just came
out, and it is fantastic! He is also coming to town on Sept 2nd and
3rd...anyone want to go to the concert with us?!) because honestly,
when life is rough, you need something to make it better.  Anything.

I tell you, 3 times now I've gotten in my car, turned on the music,
and it happens to be at the exact point in the exact song "Out of my
Hands," Where it says:

"When it feels like life has gotten out of control,
When it feels like too much, too much to hold,
When it feels like too much to understand,
Know that its out of your hands, out of your hands, out of your hands."

And I just have to keep reminding myself that it's out of my hands.
And in God's hands.  And he loves me.  He hasn't promised me comfort
for my whole life, but he has promised to never leave me.


God provided for us in huge ways. Our friends let us stay with them.
Our other friends offered to cook twice as much food for dinner as
they needed.  Then they gave us dinner each night, for 5 nights!

Such a huge blessing.

It was really hard though.  Our friend's house was all the way up in
the suburbs, so it took us almost an hour to get to work each day.
And we had been told the plumbing project would likely be done early
the next week.

Well, turns out our foundation is sitting on a bunch of rock.  Which
is great for our foundation, but not so great if you're trying to dig
a tunnel down there.  It took the diggers a few days longer than
expected to dig the holes.

And then the holes weren't covered really well, so not only did I
worry about bugs, but also stray cats and stray humans crawling
through the holes into our house.

I'm not actually making any of this up.



We finally got new pipes in 1 week after we moved out of our house.
We had stopped by the house at lease 2-3 times to get more clothes,
check the mail, set the lights on a timer, and check on the progress.

The day we got the pipes in, I was the only one that stopped by the
house because Ryan had a flat tire AND he had a minor procedure on his
back where they had to put him under anesthesia, so he couldn't drive.

Talk about a billion things piling up at once!

So I wanted to make really sure that I got sufficient photos of the
new pipes before the holes started to get filled in.

To Ryan's utter surprise, I climbed down into the holes (they were
only about 3 feet deep) to get better photos of the pipes.  My iPhone
camera didn't have the best flash, so I got a flashlight to help make
the pictures better quality.  Something I picked up from one of my
favorite photographers.  (If you're in Houston and you need a
wedding/family/senior pic photographer, check her out!

I had to really inspect the plumbing so I could sleep better at night.

And who doesn't love a good "before/after" photo?!

Things looked great!


Once the pipes were finally in, they had to fill the holes. I don't
know much about the laws of physics, but I do know that matter can
neither be created or destroyed.

What I don't understand is how we had a HUGE pile of rocks and dirt in
our backyard when the holes were all filled.

I was just so happy to be home I didn't care!


The plumbers removed our carpet but didn't put it back. We were
referred to a carpet guy by a friend.

He showed up bright and early at 9 am to lay back our carpet pad and carpet.

Then he realized he needed some type of glue, so he ran out to get some.

And didn't return for 2 hours.  Ryan and I took shifts at the house
with the carpet laying guys.  They talked so much I just wanted them
to hurry up and finish!  I had to get back to work!

They took 2 more hours to finish.  They did a great job, you would
never know there was a hole underneath.

With our initials carved in :)


And now our little home is livable again.  Complete with an extra pile
of dirt and white rocks in our backyard.

Lets pray it stays that way!


So much has happened since then, but it's sad stuff so I may not write about it.  We'll see.

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