Oh, the Humanity!

Last week I had the audacity to state here on the blog that, “You’re NEVER really done with a major renovation project.” And God or the devil or Murphy or some evil little band of leprechauns was apparently listening to me, because the next day…

Water started invading our bedroom, via the ceiling.

I learned about this while at happy hour with my coworkers, celebrating my last day of work. Needless to say, it made things far less happy. At least until Randy assured me not to freak out; they’d be back the next morning to find the source of the water.

And come back they did. But let me tell you, in the meantime, it was NOT fun to come home from happy hour to a hole in the bedroom ceiling. Renovation projects extended yet again!

I thankfully had the next day off, and watched wide-eyed (in my pajamas) as Randy tore the ceiling drywall out around the source of the leak…

Randy tearing out our bedroom ceiling.

Randy lets ‘er rip.

He and Kyle then traced the nasty water to its source. And get this — it had nothing to do with the yards and yards of old water lines we’d taken the time to replace. All that was good! This was (coincidentally) something totally different. It was the…

Duh duh DAH!!!

Kitchen sink drain pipe.

Because although we had also taken the time to remove the garbage disposal the very first weekend we were in the house, unfortunately, we couldn’t erase the garbage disposal’s existence over the course of decades before we lived in the house. And the garbage disposal — oh, the garbage disposal! — was responsible for the demise of our drain pipe and the sogging of our bedroom ceiling.

How bad can a garbage disposal eff up your drain pipe, you’re wondering? Looking sidewise at that little switch above your countertop now, are you? Here, let me show you…

Our completely clogged drain pipe.


That is leftover garbage disposal goo. From the people who lived in the house before us, and probably the people before them. The entire drain pipe was FULL OF IT. It’s soft like human feces. And kind of smells like it, too, but don’t worry, it’s not shit — it’s just a mash of all the food and garbage and other disgustingness they forced down their kitchen sink for years because they were too busy to carry it, oh — twenty feet? — into the backyard.

Um, here’s an idea… If you have a garbage disposal, GO DISCONNECT IT RIGHT NOW. Your drain pipe is on it’s way to looking like that. It will get there eventually — maybe not tomorrow, but some day. Some day you, too, will have a drain pipe filled with food sludge, and it will back up and flush food sludge into your ceiling, and you will curse it’s existence, or worse yet — the people you sold your house to will curse your existence. And maybe they’ll be nastier and have more powerful tools than a blog for cursing you. Maybe they will be skilled in the black arts or something. I don’t know. I’m just sayin’…

Get rid of the disposal, and remember: compost. It makes your house happy, it makes the earth happy. Everyone wins. Yay!

The rod used to clean our drain pipe, covered in sludge.

Talk about black arts! That rod went into the drain pipe, and came out covered in something the color and consistency of thick oil.

So, the whole leaking ceiling/sludgey drain pipe episode was actually entertaining in the end. In fact, I participated in the entire thing barefoot, in my pajamas, and spent most of the time laugh-screaming with revulsion at everything that came out of the ceiling/wall. Randy and Kyle didn’t quite scream, but they definitely commiserated:

“I would rather stick my head in your toilet than put my arm up that pipe.” — Randy

By the end of the day, they heroically had the water working again and the ceiling closed up (we’re hoping to be mud/taped and fully repaired by Tuesday).

Our ceiling, patched up.

Bandaid’s on!

We briefly let this get us down, thinking we might be the unluckiest new homeowners ever. After all, we promptly moved into our 100-year-old house, replaced the plumbing, and took out the garbage disposal, and still the house found a way to spit on us?

But a few days later, and we’ve realized that no — we’re just homeowners. And actually, as new ones go, we’re pretty darn good at this.

In fact, today is our one-month anniversary of living in the house, and Bryce is here helping us stain our new deck and paint our new siding. We’re looking back on everything we’ve accomplished in just one short month (and paid for ourselves!), and we’re not daunted at all: we’re proud. We’re also extremely grateful to Randy, his crew, and Trent’s parents for all their hard work as part of what we now consider our “team.”

Team Temple 3675 Roster of Achievements, June 2012:

  • Repaired the cracked foundation
  • Seismically retrofitted the entire house, including installing shear walls, foundation bolts, and a motion-sensitive gas line shutoff
  • Repaired or replaced all the house’s exterior doors and windows
  • Painted the inside of the house, but first re-mud-and-taped all the effed up drywall
  • Completely unpacked
  • Added molding to the office
  • Replaced the majority of the 100-year-old water lines in the house
  • Replaced all the electrical outlets in the house and the majority of the breakers; added GFCIs where needed
  • Transformed our master bedroom closet from a nursery (yep) back into a functioning closet
  • Tore down and rebuilt the deck; stained it this weekend
  • Completely rebuilt the back wall of the house and repainted it
  • Removed the basement laundry room windows; closed over and insulated the wall
  • Completely cleared the yard of the weeds and debris that the previous owners left us
  • Patched one half of the fence
Trent staining our new deck.

New deck looking RAD!

Painting our new siding.

Boys rockin’ the exterior paint job.

All that in just one month, and only $250 over budget at the moment. And plus one great team of contractors who we’ll work with forever and ever, as long as they’ll have us.

So we’ve decided to go a little crazy and have a housewarming pre-party. Wednesday, on the 4th of July, we’ll have a couple people over to sit on our new deck and enjoy our amazeballs view of the bay for fireworks. We think we’ve earned it.

And we’ll eat some of our newly-harvested fruit…


Gems from the backyard: June.

By the way, today is ALSO the three-month anniversary of my quitting Facebook, which was the whole reason for starting this blog in the first place. Who has time for Facebook, anyway?

3675 keeps comin’ along! Check the Flick for all the pics, here.

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7 thoughts on “Oh, the Humanity!

  1. Margaret Wisniewski says:

    Okay, you are the only person I know besides Tim Allen who can make home improvements seem funny! I hate them! Hence, I am now a renter. But gosh, listening/watching you do it sort of makes me want to try it again. Not because it is a PITA, but because the result is so wonderful! I love your home! I love the fact that you have all these great stories to go with it. I love Randy! Without that guy, you would be insane and I would be a nervous wreck. But I have to say, you and Trent have done a darn good job of restoring and maintaining an “antique”. I don’t know too many people who could handle this as well. Probably because you are smart and do your homework. Your “research techniques” would astound a rocket scientist. Information is a good thing.

    And what a treatise on garbage disposals! i want to rip mine out right now, just thinking about what is going on down there. YUCK!! BTW, mine leaked in two of my last three homes. Curse the damn things!

    “Amazeballs”!?!? I love the way you turn a phrase. It makes reading fun, and I want to keep going. Words paint pictures and you create masterpieces!

    I want that fruit picture for a screen saver. Can you send to me?



  2. suki says:

    Completely agree on the garbage disposal. We have one now, and my family always had them, but we hardly ever threw stuff down there. It was kind of a just-in-case something small [bits and pieces of things] fell into the sink and were impossible to pick up.

    Ryan was so used to just throwing stuff into the sink, and I’m going to send him your photo to prove my point, lol. 😉

  3. Carla Daniels says:

    The deck is lookin gooood! Can’t wait to watch some fireworks on it!

  4. […] They never snaked the clean-out hole for their drain pipe which FORCED THE SLUDGE FROM THEIR GARBAGE DISPOSAL THROUGH OUR BEDROOM CEILING […]

  5. […] 2. That time all the shit from the kitchen drain line came through our bedroom ceiling: […]

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