Monday, October 13, 2014
$7000 down the toilet
There's a guy in nearby Calabasas selling a 1976 Corvette Stingray.
It has a 350 cubic inch, 8 cylinder engine and apart from a U-joint replacement is in perfect running condition. I'm willing to bet the glove compartment is chock full of cassettes: Foghat, Robin Trower, Little Feat, and Led Zepellin.
For another two hundred dollars I'm sure he'd throw in the classic music collection.
Guess what? I just dropped $7000 in one fell swoop.
But before you jump to conclusions, you should know that on my driveway you will NOT find a pitiful attempt to grab a second bite at the apple, some neon orange pronouncement to the world that I should be out there, in the words of Randle McMurphy, "bird-dogging chicks and banging beaver."
No, the 7K I shelled out went for something far more pragmatic, far more urgent.
Last week, after years of delay, we did a full main line sewer replacement. A PVC overhaul, from the crawl space below the house all the way to main line buried on Le Bourget Ave.
Le Bourget is French for bottomless pit of home repairs.
Like most homeowners, my wife and I had been putting off the replacement for far too long. We knew we had to do it. We just needed to wait for the perfect time. And it seemed the day before my mother-in-laws' funeral was that perfect time.
Years ago, when my daughters were in their early teens and itching for us to leave the house without them, my wife and I went out to Ugo for some passable Italian food. No sooner had we asked the waiter for desert did we receive a frantic call from my youngest. She's the reigning Culver City Queen of Drama, so we've learned to dismiss her tzimis.
"The toilet won't flush and the house smells funny."
OK Abby, we thought, we'll be home soon, not willing to abandon the chocolate mud cake we had just ordered.
When we got home we realized that the girl who cried wolf should have mentioned that the wolf, and the entire pack of wolves, had evacuated themselves in the guest bathroom and the guest shower.
I was looking at three inches of unfiltered, untreated raw sewage. If the sub-flooring in the bathroom wasn't slightly canted -- luckily -- it would have spread out into the living room.
The clean-up took three days and two 5 gallon jugs of bleach and ammonia.
We snaked the main line.
A year later we snaked it again.
6 months after that, and in decreasing intervals, we kept snaking it until last week, when we could snake it no more.
The full line trenchless replacement was a marvel to watch. Had I been thinking I would have filmed the hardworking crew of 10 Armenian plumbers as they destroyed my yard. For the record I did Google Armenia to determine their general outlook vis-a-vis, Jews.
They attached a heavy metal wedge type device to a 25 foot long PVC pipe. Then, with the aid of a hydraulic machine and thick metal cable, literally dragged the new pipe inside the old clay pipe. The metal wedge acted like a splitter and exploded the former clay pipe 4 feet below the surface of the earth.
It rumbled under the ground like a series of 3.2 mini earthquakes.
Like I said, it was fascinating. Not $7000 worth of fascinating, but that's my life.
I don't have a bright orange, 350 horsepower mid-life crises sitting on my driveway. But I do have the iron-clad guarantee that the remains of last night's roast chicken dinner have been safely whooshed away to 5 miles off the coast of El Segundo.
I hope the whales will enjoy it.