We’ve Moved – Part 1

We’ve moved!  And as usual the journey still continues.  We got word the Friday before Thanksgiving (because I chased down the building inspector) that we could move into our new place.  At that point we had the electric hookups (poles and all) installed and had purchased a 1,000 gallon cistern and had it delivered.  Unfortunately the delivery driver from Old Dominion (who had been informed that it was a rural, residential address) could think of no better way to unload the tank than by shoving it from the bed of the 18-wheeler to the paved street some 3+ feet below.  The tank did not break but one of the pvc pipes inside that hooked up to the outlet did.  That meant a delay in getting it into the ground so while we now had a cistern we didn’t have a water line hooked up to the pressure tank and pump.

1000 gallon cistern

We couldn’t wait.  We really wanted to move in and have Thanksgiving in our new home so we opted to rough it for awhile and rely on bottled water (did you know you can flush a toilet by dumping a bucket of water into the bowl? you can!).  We also had a little issue with the cooking facilities.  Our relative had hooked up a RV sized propane tank to the stove and the burners worked just fine, however the oven erupted in flames when it was turned on.  So, not without some challenges but nothing impossible, and I’m happy to say that with a few workarounds we were able to host family and friends for Thanksgiving dinner in our little house.

A few days after Thanksgiving, still doing the bottled water routine, one of my daughters came to tell me the toilet had backed up.  We borrowed a plunger and tried clearing the clog with no luck, then tried a variety of drain cleaners, both chemical and physical, all to no avail.  And naturally after a while it wasn’t just the toilet that was backing up. Before long the entire house smelled like a porta potty at a 3-day long concert!  I don’t know why the clog developed but suspect it was a variety of factors including the nearly horizontal placement of the septic pipe coming out of the bottom of the house and heading underground, the limited amount of water that was flowing through the pipe and the cold weather.  I suspect there was a buildup at the 90-degree angle between the house and the septic tank.  So, I rented a big monster draining cleaning machine.  It was heavy!  Too heavy for me to pull up the steps and into the house (in fact I had a devil of a time getting out of the car – and later back into it).

Since I couldn’t getIMAG0203 the entire machine into the house I just pulled out the long wire bit and dragged it up the steps and down the hall into the bathroom where I’d removed part of the pipe under the sink for access.  You may be wondering why I didn’t use the clean-out valve on the pipe under the house.  Well, recall if you will the incompetent contractor who set the house up for us.  Yeah, he didn’t put one in.  So I got the thing plugged in and started feeding the wire into the drain pipe.  It went in about 6 inches and then stopped.  Not only did it stop going forward, it wouldn’t come back out either.  I had the machine for 4 hours and I had already spent 45 minutes driving home and trying to manhandle it out of the car and into the house before giving up that idea.  I spent the next 30 minutes trying to twist and pull that darn bit of wire back out of the pipe!  It finally came loose and I dragged that heavy wire back down the hall and out of the house.  It had begun sleeting by this time and I was feeling a little disheartened.

I decided that since we needed a clean out valve in the outside septic line and I needed a way into the clog I would just go ahead and cut open the pipe. So with the freezing rain coming down I gathered the saw and a bucket and crawled under the house.  I sawed back and forth, back and forth until the blade broke through the pipe and the backed up ‘water’ began to drain.  As soon as I had a 5-gallon bucket full I backed out, carried it to the edge of the woods and dumped it and returned for more.  I emptied 5 buckets – and in the process a fair amount pooled under the pipe as well which meant I was kneeling in it as I sawed.  Finally I severed the pipe and went around to the front of the house and pulled that long wire under and threaded it into the septic pipe.  No chance of it getting stuck in a 4-inch pipe at least.  At this point I was running out of time, it was freezing cold, I’d torn open my hand when it was struck by the rotating wire and I was muddy and smelled horrible.  I really don’t like home repairs!IMAG0205-001

to be continued (the library is closing)….



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4 Responses to We’ve Moved – Part 1

  1. Rita says:

    Thinking of you. It is December 17, and it would be good to know how you are. I honestly, have no idea how you have done all that you have. I wish more donations would come in to help you through the winter. Many blessings ~

    • boxcarkids says:

      Hoping to post an update on Thursday-my first free day in ages. I will say we “think” we’ve resolved the plumbing issues but still do not have running water.

  2. Sara says:

    I too am a do-it-yourself-er, but I give up easy-you, my friend, are amazing!

  3. bogart says:

    Oh good heavens — sounds grueling, on the septic fix. I’ve dealt with (and refused to deal with — my objection to renting a ditch-witch when we were DIY’ing french drains led to my being labled the ditch-*itch, but I stood firm) those 4-hour rentals and as you suggest, they’re really not enough, allowing for drive time and an unfamiliar contraption.

    I hope this story has a happy ending. Congratulations on the progress you’ve made, and on hosting Thanksgiving dinner!

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