Big Muddy

I’m a little worried about Hillary Clinton. I do have something to say about her but it will have to be later on.  I will only interrupt my extreme busyness to tell you that I spend all of my time hosting WebEx presentations (…the CDC reports earliest flu activity in 10 years … virulent strains bringing more severe illness… and so on …) and baking bread. In fact, I am so into the bread making that I couldn’t wait until Xmas for a Danish Dough Wisk so that Santa could bring it to me. My bread kind of stinks* but the process of making it is very therapeutic for me.

*That’s an oxymoron because my bread actually has no smell and no taste either. But it’s awful purty.

Busy or not, we  can’t let a week go by without some kind of Creek Project story. Here is the end result of a few days of digging and back-hoeing from my backyard to the street. When they were all done doing whatever they were doing, the end result is that my topsoil is buried, the stupid clay/sand from the depths has been churned to the top and it’s a sea of mud wherever you look. The dog is delighted; we are less so. He digs in it, he rolls around in it , he otherwise enjoys himself in it and then drags some in the house when he returns.

like a 40 degree Woodstock for dogs
kind of like Woodstock if Woodstock happened when it was 40 degrees

As soon as they shoved the dirt back to a reasonably level appearance, the crew said goodbye to us because they were being laid off for the winter.

Anyway, did you know that YouTube is loaded with Lady Bird’s home movies? This isn’t a home movie but it does have a bit of a White House Staff Christmas party where the Bajas are playing what I believe is the Woody Woodpecker theme song. And the dog stars of all time, Him and Her, are in the finale stealing the scene from George Hamilton.

A Creek Runs Through It

In case any of you were worried about the new creek bed, don’t. It remains dry and in pristine unused condition. Our basement, on the other hand, continues to churn out a stead stream of water every 10-15 minutes, courtesy of two brand new sump pumps with a big battery for back- up in case of power failure.

I was out of town for two days and things, apparently have been happening. I let the dog out this morning and saw this in the backyard:

it’s a big hole

And right now, this is in the street:

f copy

men and machines

I took that shot too soon – the red dump truck just dumped it’s contents into the circle and more men and machines showed up. The plan, if I understand correctly, is to install a pipe under the ground in my backyard and run it to the street, create a new catch basin right at Orange Cone #1, connect that under the street to the existing catch basin at Orange Cone #2 and it will all work by gravity and everything will be great.

In other news about things that didn’t work out – you might remember we had a new concrete stoop installed at the end of the summer. We found an ironmonger with a great reputation and contracted with him to install a beautiful railing along the sides and down the single step so poor old Suzette will have something to reach for in case she goes ass over teakettle when going up or down. [A note on language here: I want you to know that Spellcheck changed my original “ironworker” to “ironmonger”. It inspired me to change my original “ass over tits” to “ass over teakettle . Rarely do I appreciate Spellcheck’s interference in my creative process, but this time thatbastard helped me to stay classy.]

The railing was a custom order but it would take three weeks until the job was done. The timing was great because that meant I could clean up a the end-of-season sales on fancy flower pots and all-weather wicker accessories for a new stoopscape. Well, he’s had our $800 deposit since September and there’s no railing. We can’t get him to answer our calls or emails. So, not only did I miss the end-of-season all-weather wicker sales but my whole Xmas light strategy this year was dependent on that railing being  in place. So, you know – potential falls AND War on Christmas. 9 days until Christmas and we can’t come up with an alternate lighting plan. Well, I did have a plan that involved color-changing battery operated tea lights on timers but it didn’t  work out.

Ain’t nobody got time for this. I have packages to wrap, Xmas biscotti to make and two birthdays to celebrate in the next 9 days. Also, a little thing like work. I should probably focus on the work part so I can hang onto my job as we all tumble over the fiscal cliff.

OK This Is What

When last we met, the creek project was finished, the concrete drain pipe was dry, water was bubbling up from the creek bed surface  and our basement sump pump was going off every 15 minutes.

UPDATE:  now it goes off every 5-10 minutes.

The prevailing thought at the time was that the gradient of the creek bed had been reversed and that is what was causing the sudden appearance of water in our basement, but further investigation prompted by my husband revealed that it’s not the gradient issue at all! It’s that the level of the water table has risen. Here’s why:

  • the creek bed has been raised to two feet above the level of our sump pump
  • the concrete pipe which formerly has always had some water coming from it -with a  huge leap in volume and speed during and after rainfall- has been dry as a bone so it’s probably broken and contributiong to the ground water collection.
  • the (newly raised) creek bed is has been filled with sand and clay which was then compacted by a big pounding machine so that there’s no way ground water can filter through it

Isn’t this depressing?

sad corgi contemplates a dry creek bed and a denuded landscape

Troubled Waters

The creek project is almost at an end and I am not going to complain about how it looks.

It won’t be so bad once I stick a few more bushes along the wire dog fence and the dirt over there starts growing its usual weeds, vines and other scrubby vegetation. There sure is a lot of sky sticking out though now that the trees are gone. Also, you can see that Sami has been wrasslin’ with his castoff wheelbarrow collection.

I will, however, tell you that for a week now the sump pump in my basement has suddenly started running and pumping out water every 15 minutes. It washed away the mulch in my new rose garden and it’s going to screw up my lovely new concrete garden path and I guess eventually it will rot the wooden fence posts.

We tried diverting the sump pump pipe under the air conditioner  to be less troublesome but that didn’t work as you can see.

Everyone is mystified! Mystified and  barely interested! Although the creek workers said that they’ve seen air bubbles coming up through the mud of the creek bed for exactly the same period, the township inspector has to think about what could be the source of this new water issue.  The youngest/newest township engineer told Sami he saw water gushing up from the creek bottom. But still, what a mystery this is.

At the opposite end of the water spectrum, although the township swears that they have done nothing to divert the water flow from the big concrete pipe, only the tiniest little trickle is coming out of it. During any rain storm when the drain water would jump out of that pipe, now it’s the same little trickle whether raining or not.

So the mystery deepens. What happened to the water that used to come out of the concrete pipe? Where is the water coming into our basement and out the sump pump coming from?  Could the two issues be related? NO! PROBABLY NOT!  DEFINITELY NOT! BUT WE ARE GOING TO THINK ABOUT IT!

The workers are now raking over the place where the big machines used to sit and laying down mats of grass seed and fertilizer. They’ll be gone by the end of the day. The creek project will be finished.


UPDATE: I forgot to tell you that last week we had another homeowner water disaster. The old house in Pennsylvania was empty so we had the pipes drained and winterized. Last week we asked  the water company to turn the water back on and they did it when we weren’t there. They opened the valve full blast and the force  of the water blasted the radiator caps and washing machine hoses right off. Resulting in a big wet mess. Poor old recuperating Sami had to go and clean up the soaked carpeting, etc  with the help of another old but dependable senior citizen.

So obviously  water is in our horoscopes this month. I’m just happy that we’re not taking a sea cruise right  now.

The Lookyloos Are Going To Flip Their Shit When They See This

Major action on the creek project. Yesterday they knocked down the rest of my trees (my tr e e e e s!), save one scrawny specimen, and laid down an extension to the concrete pipe. The Poodle stood on the muddy slope for an extra 5 minutes pondering it last evening. Wait till he gets a load of this:

standing at the fenceline

Yesterday, after The Poodle continued on his evening rounds, someone new came around. It was woman with 5 toy-sized dogs on leashes. She stood right in the spot where The Poodle stands and looked around in thoughtful contemplation like The Poodle does. then she turned and left. #1. I think the Poodle reported to her and she came to see for herself. #2. thos dogs were completely silent. COMPLETELY. There was a long-haired chihuahua, a pom, a cairn terrier and 2 i dont know whats. I couldn’t tell because they were in a constant swirl of changing places, but silently.

When The Poodle gets over his inspection, I imagine he’s going to summon his posse and there will be non-stop traffic to get a look.