Anecdotes, the Eighteenth

Brooke here.  Three things:

Look at this lovely illustration of a French drain. We assumed this is what they meant when they told us we had them. Feel free to make your "U and Me" comments at this time.

First, we have discovered that when the previous owners said they had installed “French drains,” they did not actually mean “French drains.” They meant “plastic pipes covered in rocks ‘n crap and dumped on top of the ground.”  We could not for the life of us understand why we still had drainage issues when we had French drains!  If they had said they had stuck some plastic tubes on the gutters and allowed them to become lost in the sea of ivy and generally wrecked by the elements, we wouldn’t have spent a year looking for two of every spider in the basement before the flood water crested the sump pump.  The cause of the drainage problems has become much, much more clear.*

As for the second thing, Brown is currently under the sink in the hall bathroom, replacing the trap.  He was told they did not make this particular type of trap anymore, and had to track it down in a couple of different stores.  The leak is fixed; the need to gut the old iron plumbing, not so much.

As for Thing the Third: it’s that time of year again!  Don’t forget to enter the DIY Ultimate Kitchen and Bath Giveaway contest every day until November 18th.**

* I thought the French drains were clogged, so I kept blasting water into what I thought was the access pipe to the drains and wondering why it smelled like sewage down there.  Funny story: outlets for French drains and sewers can look identical. 

** If you win, we can no longer be friends.  So I hope you like your big Vulcan stove and jacuzzi tub, enemy-mine.

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5 thoughts on “Anecdotes, the Eighteenth

  1. Milan

    You know you have an old house when your Saturday routine is standing at the counter of some old, off the beaten track hardware store holding a corroded lump of metal as the guy behind the counter shakes his head and says “we don’t get much call for those anymore…..”

    Bonus points if he then turns and shouts “Hey Pop! Got any more seven-eights threaded left hand street elbows?” and is rewarded by the family patriarch delivering a dusty cardboard box containing just that.

    So, is the flooding from ground water not being caught by the non-existent French Drains, or from downspouts dumping directly against the foundation? The latter might be a whole lot easier to fix.

    1. yfnsa

      Last time I played this game “we don’t get much call for those anymore…..” was followed by “they don’t make those anymore, they’re illegal”.

      Better yet was when the clerk who I’ve known there for 20+ years said “but I have some, I’ll bring one in from home”. When I picked it up the next day he wouldn’t take any money for it! Baked goods were gladly delivered the following day.

      1. My Word

        My uncle, rest his soul, had a basement and shed full of stuff like that. And otherwise he’d make one.

        On a different note, good luck with really installing the French drains…

  2. Dorothy Heydt

    Don’t worry about my winning the ultimate kitchen … I would have nowhere to put it. My basement flat doesn’t properly speaking, HAVE a kitchen. I have a small laundry room into which we transplanted a fridge, a toaster oven, an electric kettle, an industrial-strength hotplate, and a mingy 700-watt microwave. Yes, the house has a real kitchen: it’s upstairs. Up a flight of seventeen stairs; I have counted them all. I climb them no oftener than I have to.

  3. Pingback: The Never-Ending List of Things to Do (2011 version) «

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