One Day I Will Rule the World

World Domination, Babies and Middle Eastern Dance

November 9, 2011


Apparently I’m still moping. As evidenced by the fact that I am about to have a caramel pear tart and beer for supper.

You do what you have to, I guess.

So to continue the saga of the sewer line, when it backed up again and we were confronted with the fact that we were not going to get by on occasional augering, Ian decided that he was capable of doing it himself.

I know right.

I was totally wide-eyed and all, “reeeeally??” But I question him a lot less on these things than I used to. So we sat down and watched some youtube videos one night and I agreed that he could totally do it and we started planning the job.

The first weekend he started demolition, he was also going to route this clever bypass sewer line that would run across our basement floor and into the city’s drain line so that we could continue to live in the house while he worked. In order to do that, he had to replace our sewer stack and in order to do that he needed a reciprocating saw to cut through the old cast iron stack. I was out with a friend when he called to say, “I just realized I need a Sawzall. My friend N- has one, but it’s in the possession of one of his friends. He said he could bring it to me, but the guy hasn’t shown up. Since I’m blocked until I can get one, I think I’m going to have to go buy or rent one.”

We were discussing on the phone how much that would be worth it when my friend jumped in to say, “J- might have one”, meaning her husband, who is in construction. So we stopped at her house, procured a reciprocating saw from her husband and ran it back to Ian to take apart the plumbing stack.

Later that night, Ian and I took stock of where we were at. If we spent the week on demolition, by next weekend, we figured, he could be pulling up concrete. He had been advised to rent a wet concrete saw, so we figured we’d better look into that.

On a lark, I texted my friend, “Does J- have access to a concrete saw?” She replied, “That he does not have.” “Yeah, I didn’t think he probably would, but it was worth a shot.” I said. “Wait, now he’s asking how big of one do you need,” she texted me.

I told her what it was for and she replied, “he says let him know when and he can bring one over one the weekend and help you get the concrete up.” “Ummm. Okaaaaay,” I said, “but how will we pay you back?” And she replied, “chocolate mousse tarts.”


When the weekend came, both she and her husband had to work Saturday,  but they volunteered to come over after work. That gave Ian the day to rip out the walls and the stairs and me the day to clean and make tarts and supper.

After supper, Ian and J- went downstairs and sawed concrete until concrete dust was coming through the crack under the door and making the house look smoggy. I put a towel down at the door, but, who knows, it could even have been coming through the floor boards. It certainly filled the house.

And it didn’t end up being as easy as any of us had hoped to get the concrete up. They got a good start, but after a couple of hours they stopped for chocolate mousse tart and quit for the night. J- ended up leaving the tools and Ian continued the work himself the next day.

He also switched to using an air-hammer instead of the saw because, although slightly more arduous, it didn’t throw up so much dust.

There was some point during a respite from the concrete-breaking and digging that Ian said, “I keep thinking that this pipe looks like it’s in pretty good shape. There better be a crack somewhere or I’m going to be upset.”

And we really hadn’t done our due diligence on diagnosing the problem before we started digging. The first plumber had speculated that there was a separation and suggested running a camera down it to make sure, but we hadn’t gone for it, thinking we would when we decided to pursue the issue. The next time the sewer backed up, we’d been awfully hasty to confess the situation to the next plumber and that guy made sad, sad faces at us and told us it wasn’t worth it to auger it when we should be fixing it right and then quoted us a number clearly aimed at discouraging us from having it augered, so we had gone straight to digging it up ourselves.

However, when it came time to start getting the old pipes out of the ground, it turned out it was the top half that looked good. The bottom half was pretty much all rust. Ian said he had hit it hard with the sledgehammer and the pipe shattered.

And it was completely full of roots.

So now the new lines are laid and everything in our house is flushing as it should. It remains that we have no basement and no washer and dryer until we fill in that massive trench and pour new concrete and build new stairs.

To tell the truth, whenever the project has seemed overwhelming, I just pretend to myself that our goal is really all about building me some new stairs and it’s just taking some very complicated demolition work.

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3 ResponsesLeave one →

  1. Alison

     /  2011-11-09

    Wow, I know y’all still have a lot of work to do, but I’m so impressed with what you’ve already accomplished – and what great friends you have.

  2. The Duchess

     /  2011-11-14

    If you need to use a washer or dryer you can use mine! It might be time for a salon anyway!

  1. Can We Do It for Free?

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