Tuesday, March 27, 2012


For today's post, we have a deep metaphor about heritage, identity, and how they intersect with infertility. Wait a minute...

No, that must be a different blog. Today, we have a post about plumbing. You know what I'm talking about.

My house has a front yard large enough for a walk and some flowers, with the makings of a rather nice porch (at the wrong height - it needs to be raised a few feet, so some time when we have spare time there will be Fun With Pressure-Treated Lumber Day here at misfit central), except that it's on a very busy street which is loud all the time, so we sort of pretend that doesn't exist. It has quite a nice-sized back yard, with raised beds I haven't done much with (but I did start vegetable and herb seeds in peat pots this weekend! And I planted a dormant blackberry in the yard! And I have corn seedlings that I bought...um...a month early! And today my DH mowed everything and dealt with all the sticks and dead leaves and stuff, and it looks really nice). We'll get there. The right side of the yard is not bad, it has some grass, I just don't have anything really in mind for it. (My DH wants a hot tub on the paved part in front of the carriage house. We'll see...) And the left side is quite narrow, as the houses there are close together, so the previous owners put in a tall fence and brick pavers. Like so:

Now, if you notice, on the right side of this photo there are some little stairs up to the back sun porch. On the far side of those stairs, you can see a little bitty yew (you know, that evergreen shrub that every office building has a hedge of). It's not even three feet tall. You can't tell in the picture, but at some point the prior owners hung many large rocks from it, presumably to...make its branches grow horizontally? Not that I know why anyone would want a yew to do that.

The yew had its revenge, though.

Yesterday, the plumbers came. First of all, let me say they are the best plumbers in the whole world, ever. They were prompt. They were pleasant. They worked fast and they were competent. They were thorough and considerate. They were honest and fair. When one of the fellows working used a naughty word to my sister (a word to describe, quite accurately, the contents of the pipe they were working on), he got a severe scolding by his boss, because he is not to use words like that around a lady.

They had figured out that the obstruction in the pipe was under the side yard. Because it's bounded fairly narrowly by the side of the house and the tall fence, and there's other obstacles, like the back stairs, and it's rather pricier to re-pour concrete than re-sod (though I decided I would just put all the bricks back, and replace any removed concrete with further bricks, and then they actually put everything back for me), they decided to do a limited drain replacement, rather than bringing a backhoe in and replacing all the drain pipe between the house and the street. So they first determined where the start of the problem was, and it was right near that little yew. So the yew came up, followed by the bricks, and then a lot of dirt, and then the pipe. My sister took this picture (she was standing on the aforementioned steps, but otherwise the perspective is the same as the previous picture):

They found seven-foot-long sections of root in that pipe - four inches thick. Not from the big old tree in the front yard that the county has slowly killed by trimming it around the power lines, which I would happily be rid of. Not from the bigger, older, really lovely tree in the back yard that I want to put a tea table under this summer.

From the little bitty yew.

You see, on the surface, it was scrawny, ratty, asymmetrical, sparse, unlovely, and wholly pointless in its location. But on the underside, where no one could see, it was a demon yew.

Sometimes life is like that.

But what you really need to know is that there is root-be-gone that you can buy at the big orange store, and run through your pipes every six months. So that if little roots get into your pipe, they will die, and then they will flush out with the sewage water. Rather than taking over the pipe like the demon yew. And then, you will not need to spend $3000 (0r more - it could have been a lot more) and have someone dig up your yard.

Also, the little bathroom is going to be redone now. I am not showing you a before picture because it is that horrible right now. And sadly, I do not have a before-before picture. This is too bad, because tomorrow they are ripping up the tile (which I never liked anyway), so the insurance adjuster can see how bad the water damage is. And then (if all goes well), he will give us a reasonable amount to have it fixed, and we can have the subfloor and any affected joists replaced. And then I can have the tiles I like:

And also the paint color I like, which is Valspar's Mackinac Island Grand Hotel Blue. I found out about it from the blogger who used it to paint this table:

Which I found through Susan's Metamorphosis Monday. (I told you it was helpful!)

And then I will find just the right mirror (I have already been looking) and I will replace the ludicrously inappropriate-looking faucets with some that belong in that bathroom and I will tinker with the little shelf that looks a bit odd, and maybe add a decorative thing or two, and the bathroom will be done. Long before I thought it would be. And other things will not be done. But that's OK...one thing at a time.


  1. Never a dull day around the misfit household! I love meeting honest workers!
    Love your tile selection.

    You still make me shudder with how brave you are about your renovations.

    If I only had a sliver of your courage.

    Can't wait to see a picture of that table with the tea!

  2. Love the paint color, and the hotel it is named after too!

  3. I am QUITE jealous over your use of those tiles. They are MY favorite and my husband could NOT be convinced about their use!!! Our bathroom looks nice but not AS nice as it could have been. I can't wait to see how it turns out!! Good luck with everything!

  4. So THAT'S what that bottle of root killer that the previous homeowner left us is for...which we were supposed to have used six months ago...oops.

    LOVE the tiles and the paint color. I can't wait to see the after pics! I'm gonna say this every time...I wish you had your own HGTV show, so that I could watch it. :)

  5. Oh man... that's crazy!!! Demon yew is right. I'm glad the workers got it. And were nice to work with!!

  6. Demon yew. Now that's funny! The results of said demon yew, not so much. I love the side yard. It looks cozy, like I could read a book there on a nice day with a glass of iced tea.

  7. Love your side yard! Esp the before pic, unless its back to looking like that again. I can't believe the Yew went all crazy like that and did so much damage. Ugh. I don't like them anyway, but this solidifies me not planting any. EVER!!!
    Can't wait to see the Bathroom Makeover pics!!!

  8. That totally takes the saying "what lies beneath" to a whole new level!

    Love the tiles!