Adventures in home-owning

Every day, a quiet battle rages. Largely unnoticed, but occasionally .. when the timing is all wrong, everything explodes. I'm talking about general homeowner woes. The days of the landlord or super popping by to fiddle with something that's gone awry, those are long gone. We're the landlord, super and HOA all in one. The latest installment of homeowner drama was really shitty. Like, literally. Sewer-shitty.

Our sewer line is the original terra-cotta pipe that was first installed. Since then, an enormous tree has taken over the northeast corner of our yard .. conveniently located right on top of the waste pipe.

That's the culprit, there on the right. (clearly, this is an old photograph: The leaning pine has been gone for years, and we would NEVER have a screen door that hideous)

When the pipe backed up for the .. I don't even know how many times this is now, I've lost track .. anyway. We called our trusty root removal pro, to come in and cut away the plethora of roots blocking our way. (Sidenote: Why does this always happen when we're doing laundry? It's really inconvenient) He set to work, however this time was not business as usual. The capped toilet hole in our powder room-to-be is on the southwest corner of our house. Please recall the tree - northeast corner. Northeast, southwest .. northeast .. southwest .. this couldn't have been more complicated if we'd tried. Basically, before even reaching the tree and it's mess of intrusive roots, Ken had to wind through all the drainage pipes under the house. Bending here and there to get to the open pipe. Please note, from the first visit (nearly seven years ago), this man has been recommending installing a cleanout access cap outside the house, closer to the tree. After his initial visit, we finally took his advice. D dug a trench like it was his job: 3' long x 2' wide  x 2' deep:

The big pipe in the center is the sewer. The small on cutting across the lower, left corner is the sprinkler line. The other is gas. Thankfully THAT didn't become an issue ..

After the trench was dug, Ken came back for another round of work. He broke into the pipe and installed a cleanout access made of pvc and set to work. He called me out a few times to give me updates on his progress and let me know what he noticed in his work. Basically, I found out that in all his previous visits, he was just scraping the surface. This time, he was past the tree, nearly to the street .. what he brought up was amazing.  So much material was blocking the line .. in the seven years that he's been cleaning our pipe, he was never reaching that mass, so it was never really clean. After this, I suspect (hope!) he won't have to make such frequent visits!

TA-DA! The clean-out. Not the prettiest thing we've ever spent $700+ on .. in fact, I think it's the ugliest. Oh well.

I guess I had my blowin' it shoes on the day he came, because I forgot to take photos of his progress and the pile of roots he dredged out of the depths of the abyss. Or maybe that's for the better .. who knows? Maybe next time?