Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Underneath it all...


Robb is my hero. No really, Robb is a pretty amazing guy.

Yesterday, he spent the better part of the day crawling around underneath our house, making all sorts of interesting discoveries.

For instance, the reason that our foundation needs to be replaced may not be entirely due to the movement of rain water under our house. It might have something to do with the fact that the drain from the kitchen sink wasn't actually seated properly, and so all the water that left our sink drained under our house.

I'm trying not to be upset about this. Thousands and thousands of dollars in foundation repair seem like no biggy when we realize that this plumbing idiocy will make our conversion to a grey water system easier. Right? Right?

Anyway, Robb has already fixed this. The sink now drains into the lateral drainage pipe, instead of pouring into the dirt.

Robb also discovered that our pipes are not, in fact all copper (good) but mostly galvanized steel (less-than-ideal). Damn housing inspectors told us that the pipes were copper. Bastards.

Also, someone has been using the crawlspace under the house as a storage barn. For the past fifty years. We have enough mysterious crap to keep us scratching our heads for a good long time. Like, the windows that don't fit anywhere in our home. Where did they come from, and why did someone chuck them under the house? Damned it we know.

Robb tells me that the crawl space isn't seething with spiders, which is what I imagined. Nope, everything down there is long dead. There are plenty of dead spiders in dusty spider webs. And Robb has earned a special home renovation merit badge, the one that involves not realizing that he was crawling on top of the bleached white mummified rat.

Yeah, he's my hero.


ellen said...

A hero indeed! Your home will be so lovely when you are f inished, but I am sorry to hear about your foundation. It would be so much more fun to spend the megabucks on something you could see and enjoy.

Music WOman said...

Oh my!

Definitely a hero! I wouldn't be the one crawling under the house!

Here in the Northeast, cellars are common, so I would probably never have to crawl under anything anyway. That sucks that you have to fix the foundation. However, it's the most important part of the house and once it's repaired, you house should last a lot longer. My sister in law had a house with a crumbling foundation and had to use my father's house jack to jack up the house while repairs and lolly columns were set in place. Ugh.... not fun. And once the house was fixed, it took the fun out of rolling marbles around on her hardwood floors.....

Good luck!

Anonymous said...


the pleasures of being a home owner!

But it's your biggest investment and you'll be happy to know the foundation is secure when it's fixed. I know - not a big cosmetic improvement for the price, but well worth it in stability and peace of mind! Robb, you are a hero!

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

I should note that the repairs to the foundation is not news to us. We bought the house, understanding that we would be having to do this work.

Mel said...

I heard about your spare windows and was envisioning you making a mini-garden-green house or those little boxes with a slanted window on top to overwinter things, then realized.... California. Duh.

Good luck, and much applause to Robb. I am not brave enough for such crawling.

Martha said...

You could use the windows on the cute little chicken coop you are going to build!

robb said...

Mel- I did the same thing. My first thought was: Build a cold frame!

Martha- Good idea!

Anonymous said...

I suggest you add TRUSTWORTHY HOUSING INSPECTOR to Robbs list of future jobs!

Ok, here's what I think you should do- Call up your peice of crap housing inspector and report them. I wish to god it were possible to re-negotiate the price of the house- but get a good lawyer who will work for you pro-bono to get some money to put real plumbing pipes into the house where it is missing. Is that possible?

ALL Copper pipes mean ALL pipes, not a percentage of them. Dont believe them if they start spouting that percentage of "what we couldnt see bullshit." Robb in his own condition is crawling around inderneath for petes sake, and was not a trained housing inspector, and saw this, right?

The house is YOURS, right? Nail their asses to the wall! You wanted the house when you were told it had copper piping. It sounds to me more like part of it was removed in the past and replaced with less than ideal stuff. It was one of those "Well, it will be good for 80 years" deals. Well, the time has come.

The house is in whose names on the deed? Is it AT ALL possible to renegotiate the price? Or a repair or replacement bill? CAll the inspector, or who ever regulates inspectators, because they screwed you over with a "full disclosure" and lied straight to your face. There are organizations there to protect you- use them.

About 20 years ago my mom paid some local jackass to repair the barn roof- so some joker showed up with some tar on a stick and dabbed it around. In the dark, you couldnt tell what was going on, but in the rain I sure could tell we had been duped. I was so mad I went over to the guys house (with my rightous anger and a pitchfork) and threatened to tear the guy a new one for ripping off an old lady. He DID show up and do a real job after I did this, (at his expense) but he also could have called the cops on me. This falls under the "I sometimes have anger issues".

I did indeed call the Better Business Bureau on him anyway, and the local township, and elder abuse agencies and the local church (who he was referred through, since he was someone son) and got his ass nailed to the wall for ripping off older people. NO one had spoken up, cause they didnt want to make a stink, or look like they had been duped. This is just how we do it out here in the sticks. YOU are in a major city, with protective services for your exact situation, and I advise you STRONGLY and immediately, to call someone. There may indeed be far more problems- Do this now and save yourself some real money, and the time it takes to earn that money. Now you have to question just WHAT else was glossed over in the inspection- electrical wiring, anyone? Welcome to the joys of home ownership!

Also, dont forget publicizing this in the local news, if all else fails, cause Robb was ripped off as well, and you guys fall under "handicapped" status, right? This gives you added attention and sympathy. Who in gods name rips off an handicapped guy? They may have thought it was ok to go after YOU, but when they target Robb as an ignorant victim, your claws should come out.

Get rid of the windows and throw them in your trash- put them on the street with a "free" sign on them and maybe you wont have to pay to take them to the dump!


Anonymous said...

My house was built in 1978. It has never had a leak or a flood. A few years ago... it sprung a leak! What a MESS! Why? Who knows? Why then? Ahhhh the mysteries (and costs) of home ownership!!! Welcome to the club!

Mortadella said...

Hi Lisa & Robb,

Red in SF here. You guys probably already know this, but thought I would chime in, in case it helps - usually drain pipes out west here are always steel (or plastic in some parts) and the pipes that bring the water in are copper.

Congrats on the house, btw! =)

red in sf


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