First there was a Man. Then a Woman. Then in quick succession, two cats, a confused dog beast, and two kids. I stay at home with them. I'm the Man

Friday, January 10, 2014

"How Long Can You Tread Water?"

Here's Something:

2 weeks before Christmas it was decided that we needed to spend $15,000.00 to replace the pipe leading from our house to our city's water main. It was not decided by us. It was decided by the age of our 130 year old house and the bad of our luck.

It seems that pipes of that nature only have to be replaced every 100 years or so in this region. So that's good news.

A more accurate breakdown of the costs would mention the single copper pipe maybe 3 inches in diameter and not more that 12 feet long was $13,000.00. The other $2,000 was chipped in by our water heater. Coincidentally, the water heater decided to shit the bed on the same morning I gave up and decided that pumping 2 inches of water out of the house everyday in the middle of winter (now I have an idea what living in Russia is like, anyway) was probably worth a phone call.

I thought the water pouring in everyday was a leaking pipe under the basement. It wasn't. 2 guys from the plumbing company came down into my basement. Also known as "the only 2 guys to ever escape from my basement,"

"So, you guys are gonna dig a pit in the basement? Can you tell where it's coming from?" I asked.

(The plumbing supervisor paused. Really really pregnant pause. Like, 50 weeks pregnant.)

"No man." Said the plumbing supervisor. "This isn't a leak in your basement, man. This is a main line leak. We're going to have to dig out front and pull the line out."

I paused them right back. My pause was pregnant with sick.

"Really," I eloquented. It's all I could manage. My life was flashing before my eyes. I spent so much of it in a damp basement.

He starts to explain and the words kind of wash over me like a mudslide over a tricycle. The colorful streamers on my handlebars suddenly disappeared from view. We don't have the money. Not even a little bit.

We go outside and he tells me he's "gonna dig here" and "Here's where the cement will come out," and, "I hope we don't have to go under that porch too," and, "If you'd like, when we fill the hole back in we'll just put you right in on the bottom and then boom, no more problems."

When we were talking I guessed $15,000.00 dollars exactly. They said, "No no. Not that much probably something like five to eight." We still didn't have the money, but that is a considerable amount less money to not have.

One half hour later: "So, it looks like it's gonna be more like what you said," he told me while standing in the kitchen where I would soon be servicing many of my "johns."

It looked a shit load like that, by the way. An preternaturally accurate amount like that. I have a special category of precognitive powers known as "bankruptcy ESP."

They then went on to explain to us how if the line didn't pull out in one piece, and it ended up breaking in our foundation or nearer to our house, it would cost another $3000.00. My testicles fell out.

They said they'd be there in less than a week. Then 4 days after that. Then the day before Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve eve.

They finally came the Monday after Christmas. Not all their fault. The city inspector in my city gets a pretty sweet amount of vacation time.

They fixed everything up for the $15,000 quote. The kids got to watch them dig with the back hoe and we had our own cop detail because they had to shut down our little one way street to do the work.

We borrowed and begged and begged and borrowed and borrowed and borrowed til we had the money.

"We finance this stuff because most people don't ever expect something like this,"they said. Considering my chances of seeing Hailey's Comet are better than the chances of me ever having to do this again, I agreed.

The plumbing supervisor was really a pretty nice kid. He fixed our poorly flushing toilet for free because he felt bad about the delay.

It's an interesting thing, having to spend an astronomical amount of money you don't have. I alternated between walking around the house with a kooky little frozen smile which indicated denial and walking around the house shaking my head and making losing my mind type noises. Sounded like Cormac McCarthy's ex-wife. Sans, you know, the vagina holster.

The whole thing has kind of made us stronger, in the end. We're not going bankrupt, and our water pressure is the best it's ever been. There's something about a good shower that brings a family together.

I should probably edit that last sentence.



  1. Oh man. I feel this right in the middle of our basement. We are babying the living hell out of our sewer line because its demise is imminent. I'm betting you had the same type of piping we do which is some kind of pressed paper covered by some kind of metal that rusts. I've got a couple of videos of our line showing the outcroppings as the paper is pushing up the metal. We've had to pump water out of our otherwise dry basement in years past but now we're babying those pipes like they're kittens. We ration toilet paper and use the neighbors' houses to do our major business whenever possible.

    I refuse to spend $15K to fix something about a house I don't want to live in anymore. I need to move south & that $15K will go a long way towards getting me there.

  2. Whoa. Glad you picked up your balls man, but mine shrunk right up thinking about when this (or some other) homeowner punch-in-the-throat comes my way.

  3. Homeowner's insurance doesn't cover this sort of thing?!

  4. “…$15,000.00 to replace the pipe leading from our house to our city's water main.” – That’s a lot of money. However, given how old your house is and the convenience it can give you, in my opinion, it’s just fine. Good to know that everything went well until the end.

    Jaye @

  5. I get the reference in the title! I do!

    Proof? "What's a cubit?"

  6. I live in abject fear of this same thing happening to us.


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