Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The story

The preface to this story is that I was at Meijer's that morning. I got home and unloaded the van. There were lots of groceries. I started putting stuff away, and noticed I had some messages. One was a debt collector. It drives me insane. They call daily, but it is never a person, always a machine. And when I try to sit on the line to tell them I'm not who they think I am, I end up waiting for 20 minutes before I quit. (They called again today. They are evil.) The second message was from the guys who cut down the trees. I guess he had arranged with Brad to get some estimates on the remaining tree branches. He asked if we could call him back. Well, I hadn't talked to Brad, didn't know what was going on, and I wanted to hurry and get the groceries away before running to get kids. I didn't call him back.

So, I get done getting food put away, run and get the boys, make them lunch, put C down, make my lunch, and start eating it. I had noticed the dirt/ditch guy was working in the front, but I didn't think anything of it. Brad arranged all of it, and I tend to stay out of it. Well, I happen to look out front and there is water spraying everywhere.

****Allow me to digress for a moment to explain why he was digging. We have major flooding issues at our house. Our plan was to put a layer of clay deep down to keep the water from seeping in. Then we are going to bring in a lot of dirt to even out the yard and change the slope. We obviously don't want water sloping into the house. Then we are digging an underground pipe to help divert water to a huge ditch we are putting in the backyard. It will be a "lovely water feature" at some point. At least that is the plan. Okay, on with the story...***

In all fairness to him, the water line was not marked. If you can tell from the pictures, we'd had all of the utilities marked recently. But they apparently only mark the beginning of the line and don't follow it all the way to the house. Everyone assumed the water line went straight to the house. It didn't. It went toward the house, then followed the outline of the house to the basement (right below the porch). They didn't mark any of that. We found it out the hard way.
So, I go out there and the dirt/ditch guy says, and I'm not kidding, "Oh, I didn't know you were home. I already called 911 so they could get a hold of someone to come and fix it." There were many things running through my head at this point. 911?! Seriously?! He hadn't called, hadn't rang the doorbell, hadn't knocked. What made him think we weren't home? Apparently, he had called the guy who had left a message and they assumed that since I hadn't called back, I wasn't home. That or I WAS BUSY WITH 3 CHILDREN!!!!! Or how about, I just didn't want to talk to him yet. I have that right, ya know.

And now I have to ask the question, how does Brad always miss it when we have water issues? He missed the entire flood last year. I called Brad at work, and he said to turn it off at the base by the street. But that his tools are in his car. So, I go to our neighbor, who I love, and he let us borrow one of his wrench thingies. (seriously, I'm so not helpful when it comes to tools) I use my wrench thingie to open the cover to the off nozzle, but I obviously don't have the super long tool they use to reach it. Duh Melisa. Well, dirt/ditch guy uses his borrowed tool to try to "clamp the plastic." Uh huh. Maybe it would have worked. I don't know a thing about tools. The result of his effort is that the pipe collapsed or something and water was now filling the hole instead of spraying outside of it. We could no longer see the pipe. He said he had called the water department an hour ago (through 911?) and didn't know what was taking them so long. I go in and start calling the township and am told they they do sewer only. She asks if it is sewer. Uh, I have no idea. It wasn't marked. She says she'll send some guys out, but to try the water department too. So I do. And she has me go downstairs to the basement and shut off our water. Apparently she underestimated it when I said we had water spraying everywhere. I meant 6 feet into the air outside, and she thought I meant a sink or something. In the mean time, I'm confused because I have no idea how turning off the faucets in the house will help outside. I'm running up and down the two flights of stairs from the front yard to the basement trying to see if I'm turning stuff the right way. She finally realizes it is outside, and sends some guys.

While this is all happening, the boys are gleefully playing in the water. Normally, I'm not a mom that cares about such things, but this was bad for a number of reason. Huge massive hole quickly filling with dirty water that would be hard to see drowning kids in. Large piece of equipment being operated by a guy I'm quickly losing confidence in. Me, running in and out of the house not able to keep an eye on the boys. I tried to tell them they could watch from the porch, but the temptation was too much for them to stay away from the spray, so I sent them into the house and told them to get on the computer. You don't need to tell me I'm a stellar mom. I know. TV and computers can be very effective free babysitters.

The water people get to the house very fast. And then the sewer people came. My d/d guy has the idea that if he digs the hole deeper and wider, the water will move and expose the broken pipe. So he keeps making the hole bigger and deeper. And bigger. And deeper. The big problem with this being: trees. If you didn't know, we have taken down about 20 trees since moving in. And he happened to be digging right next to one of the trunks. Which is actually why he didn't realize he had hit the water line. He thought it was just another root. While he is making this hole bigger and deeper, he blows a hose on this digger attachment. Yeah. Nice.

They end up bringing in a pump to get the water out of the now very large hole. In the meantime, I get to chat with some of the workers. Apparently, one of them had come to look at the house about 6 months before we did. (Did I mention our house is a foreclosure?) He mentioned that it looked really different with all of the trees gone. This is true! They all ask what we got it for, I tell them, and they get really surprised. "That is a really good deal. Especially for this area! This is a great area with wonderful schools. It is in high demand." Nice to hear that.
A lot more time is spent helping the workers find our meter and such. When they started the water again, they had to drain the line in case something got in the pipes. So I take the worker down to the basement and he sees that there is a drain right next to the meter. This thrills him and he asks if he can just run the water into the basement. Sure, why not. Our basement has an awesome water system. I'm not worried.

The water guys inform us that since our d/d guy dug the hole for them, the line wasn't marked, etc. they weren't going to charge us for the fix. Sweet. That is music to my ears.

While D/d guy is switching to an attachment that doesn't have a busted hose, his trailer smashes into the back of his van. I guess he had taken it off the hitch and forgot. It was just a little dent, but it also managed to mess up the bumper pretty bad. Poor guy. And he had a flat tire that morning too. Talk about a bad day.

D/d guy starts to fill in the hole with the clay and then the regular dirt. When he finished, he realizes that he can't find the tool we borrowed. He thinks the water guys took it. I wonder... And just when sanity is restored, Brad gets home. Lucky guy. Missed all the excitement. ;)

5 chocolate lovers:

Joy said...

What an ordeal!!

Brynn said...

HOLY COW!!! THAT IS AWFUL!! Way to have a good attitude though! Seriously, I"d be a wreck!

iPhilip said...

lucky Brad!

Croft Family said...

Hey you are not only a good mom but a good wife. Good for you to have the strength to deal with an ordeal like that one. GOOD JOB!

The Melo's said...

What a crazy thing!