Pipe dreams: Slice of Life 6/31 #SOL20

The movers are booked for tomorrow. My husband has been packing for days. The cats are freaked out, the children’s room is somehow magically both packed and a complete mess, and the kitchen is bare. After living in a small apartment during almost nine months of renovations, we are ready to go home.

(Originally, these renovations were supposed to take four months, but then it turned out our kitchen was actually the old stable, and it wasn’t exactly firmly attached to the house and the foundation was, well, somewhat less than stable. The project grew.)

The builders have been putting the finishing touches on the house. For me, finishing touches are things like putting up the light fixtures and putting down the carpet. For them, apparently, finishing touches include things like moving the plumbing in the basement so that the bathrooms drain more effectively – or something like that. And yesterday, as they dug into the basement floor, they discovered – completely by accident – that our 110+ year old house still had pipes made of clay.

Notice the use of the past tense. The pipes disintegrated.

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You can see the clay on the end of this pipe; the hole that was left behind is in the background.

Did I mention that we are supposed to move in tomorrow? Unfortunately, when the inspector came yesterday – right after the whole, “oops, my shovel went right through that pipe” debacle – he declared the house “unfit for occupancy.”

Luckily, our (truly amazing) builder has already fixed the pipe problem. Unluckily, booking a housing inspector requires *at least* 24-hours notice. So… the movers come tomorrow but we can’t actually stay in our house until Monday. Or maybe Tuesday. Also, Andre – who is wildly prepared – had already packed all of the food, most of the kitchen and all but two sets of clothes for him and the boys. I’m the only slacker and, thus, the only one with clothes.

Now, I will admit to feeling a little sick about all of this, but my 12 year old’s over-the-top pre-teen reaction helped me put things in perspective. Upon hearing about the pipes, he heaved a giant sigh and threw himself onto the couch: “I just knew something like this was going to happen. I am literally going to die if we have to stay in this apartment.”

I mean, he might die, but we’ve lasted nine months. It seems like we can make another three days. Right?

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18 thoughts on “Pipe dreams: Slice of Life 6/31 #SOL20

  1. That kid’s reaction expresses perfectly how I’m feeling today. All we need to do is change a little of the ending: “ “I just knew something like this was going to happen. I am literally going to die if we have to stay in this apartment.” (have to live four more years with…).

    I don’t envy what you’re going through, but I so admire your ability to laugh and smile through it all. Can’t wait to see photos of all the renovations completed.

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  2. Love it, Amanda! Pipe Dreams!! Perfect! We’ve been renovating a 3-story 100-yr-old house–plumbing; wiring; gutting kitchen and bathrooms; resurfacing walls and ceilings; ripping out flooring to refinish old wood or lay new flooring. My husband is doing most of the work, hiring help as needed. We found a number of things that were in the original house that had been “covered up” — like an outside entrance still intact and original walls of a balcony that someone made into the laundry room on 2nd floor. But the good news is, I’m living in my own home.

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  3. I was an architect before I became a teacher, and am all too familiar with the many surprises that come up when renovating – especially in an older house like yours. But, I also know that once you are moved in, the boxes unpacked, the food and dishes stored in your new kitchen cabinets, the clothes hung up, etc., you will quickly forget the pain. (At least I hope so…)
    And how great to have your son give the experience a new outlook:))

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  4. I am having a downstairs remodel right now and we are living in the house. It is definitely not as involved as yours but it can be draining for sure. Hang in there! I am sure you will love the final results!

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  5. Oh, how disappointing…to be so close and then BOOM! Looking forward to the slice in which you recount your first night back in your house. The only surprise in renovating is if there is no surprise! Wishing you all patience and a stress free weekend.

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  6. Oh no! This really gave you something authentic to write about and your phrasing : “Unfortunately, when the inspector came yesterday – right after the whole, “oops, my shovel went right through that pipe” debacle – he declared the house “unfit for occupancy.”“
    The repetition of “d” in “debaucle” and “declared” gave the mess and the officiousness of this situation such weight!

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  7. You can’t make this stuff up…and through all of this, you WROTE and captured your family in a moment that (someday) you will probably laugh about. There so many things here that had me scratching my head… the stable?!? I’m with you on the finishing touches… those things will come! Hoping inspection 2 goes off without a hitch!

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  8. Best of luck. We have had chronic issues with root balls in clay pipes over the years. It was the answer to our prayers when our middle son became a plumber. I hope everything else goes smoothly for you…

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  9. Oh no!! Hopefully this is the very last barrier to your return home. It’ll feel so great to finally get there. I’m so glad you can stay in the apartment…but maybe in the only one!

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  10. Really, I know you’ll hate me for this, but what a perfect time to slice! I really mean that. Your piece really conveyed the sense of urgency of returning to normalcy and the chaos of this very last minute snag in the plan. What would you do if you couldn’t write about i? All involved will be grateful (someday!) that you were able to capture this crisis in such vivid detail. I mean, I really hope someday your son will be able to laugh at his oh-so-teenage moment, and I hope that you’re all feeling settled soon.

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  11. “(T)he children’s room is somehow magically both packed and a complete mess” captures perfectly the paradox of preparing for a move. I loved this slice and have empathy for what you’re going through! Also, stable and stable. Thanks for sharing and keep posting! 🙂

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  12. The whole process sounds like it could make someone a little less than stable. You’re almost there, though, and I’m sure Andre will remember to pack hyperbole as that one last thing to make the move.

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