The More the Merrier



Or, Reasons to Rejoice When Your Siblings Are Dating: Free Labor.

You surely followed with great interest the posts containing grotesque images of the entire yard criss-crossed with fox-holes, trenches, earthworks and breastworks which Thaddeus Kosciuszko would envy. No doubt you’re still wondering, “Was there actually a purpose to all that time spent playing with that excavator?” Or,  “Were they trying to get the turbo on the skidsteer to spool up, so they could sit there enraptured with closed eyes, breathing in the exhaust?”

All the fun on those charming digging toys indicated a larger project, one which afforded our neighbors much amusement as they sat on their porches. It gave them something to watch besides the weeds growing taller betwixt the cracks of their sidewalks, fertilized by cigarette butts. (This is West 9th Street and we have standards to maintain, after all.) Said neighbors will testify all these charming homes stand upon a unique marshland which actually consists of a slope. It so happens our house stands at the bottom of the slope. In the 1940s, while creating this neighborhood, They didn’t believe that well-places storm drains were a necessity. Thus we purchased this marvelous home with several inches of standing water in the basement. (On that note, I highly recommend buying a home “as-is”. Saves such a hassle of unnecessary negotiations with the realtors.)

This unique combination of hill structure and street-curb conformation results in an inordinate amount of water flowing through our basement each time it rains. Most residents of this street are content to put their washer and dryer on pallets and turn the other way, but not we dear readers, oh not we. My conscience aches thinking of the shrinking oceans and the water shortages–it’s simply not fair of us to hoard so much ground water for ourselves in our own basement. It was imperative we stop the flow and send it on down to the next yard.

So with our  excavator, we installed drains in the yard, drains from the gutters, and dry-wells at the end of the yard. All that was left to install were drains inside the basement- a simple matter involving a jackhammer, a gas-powered wet saw, picks, shovels, five gallon buckets, and family members. And family members’ girlfriends.

Readers, never be afraid to give your sibling’s significant other a true taste of the family she’s courting. You will know she’s a keeper if she agrees to help her boyfriend dig solid clay out of his sister’s damp basement for a day in return for pizza and beer. And still be refined about it. 


Come to think of it,  we were doing them a favor! There is nothing so romantic as watching your BF hauling clay in five-gallon buckets up the stairs all day. And if your GF can pick-ax a drainage trench with such ease, you know she’ll have no trouble merely running a household. And so with this extra help  we dug drains a foot wide and a foot deep, around the inside perimeter of the foundation, in one day–just like Mike Mulligan and Mary Ann.





A few tons of gravel, many rows of perforated pipe and another strong sibling later, we had some delightful and picturesque DIY french drains in the entire perimeter of the basement.


And for the first time since the 1940s, the basement on this plot stayed dry during all the spring and summer floods. What to do with the free time now that we’re not  constantly brooming water into the very conveniently placed sump-pump?? I must go find some junk behind the shed which with to create some meaningless, up-cycled, and useless decor that will be outdated once BHG determines the next trend.

And we’re inviting the girlfriend back for dinner. And for the kitchen remodel.


How can one maintain one’s blogging credibility if it does not minutely chronicle  one’s efforts , carefully staged in photographs, to make the featured home unrealistically perfect? 




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